P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Valerie Hickey, 2005

Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy, World Bank

Valerie Hickey is an immigrant from Ireland

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Environmental Studies at Duke University

VALERIE HICKEY is the Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources, and Blue Economy at the WB. Previously, she managed the World Bank's global biodiversity portfolio. She is based in Washington, DC.

Valerie was born in Cork, Ireland, and became a US citizen in early 2009 almost a decade after first setting foot in the US.

Valerie received a BA in history and political science from Trinity College Dublin, with First Class Honors and an MA in international peace studies, summa cum laude, from the University of Notre Dame. She received her PhD from Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. While at Duke, Valerie taught graduate courses in conflict resolution and negotiations at Duke's Sanford Institute of Public Policy.

Eighteen years ago, Valerie joined the World Bank as a specialist in East Asia and the Pacific, working on environment and rural development projects in Cambodia, China and Lao. Valerie has since worked across the Bank’s regions providing design and implementation support to a variety of operations, including in fragile states, where she led the Bank’s environment portfolio in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. After joining the World Bank's global team, Valerie became chair of the blue economy, biodiversity and wildlife crime communities of practice and convened the Bank’s deep technical expertise in pursuit of providing policy advice and implementation support to accelerate the role of natural resource management in getting people out of poverty and into the middle class. Next, Valerie managed the Bank’s natural resources and environment risk management portfolio across Europe and Central Asia. Now she is the Practice Manager for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy in Latin America and the Caribbean where she manages a cross-sectoral team that provides technical assistance and capital to governments, communities and companies on issues related to climate change, sustainable forest management, integrated conservation and development, integrated coastal zone management, fisheries, pollution management and environmental health, environmental economics and environmental risk management.

Before joining the World Bank, Valerie worked for World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society and the US National Park Service where she worked on invasive species programs in Lake Mead, the reservoir to the Hoover Dam. 

  • PhD Environmental Studies | Duke University 2009
  • MA International Peace Studies | University of Notre Dame 2000
Work History
  • World Bank, Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy
  • World Bank Group's Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, Practice Manager
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