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Expertise: Afghanistan, Burma/ Myanmar, Sustainability, Urbanization, Disaster Risk Reduction, management of systemic risk, multi-sectoral partnerships, economic development in emerging markets.
Michelle has fifteen years experience in international affairs and nine in journalism, including working in the UN Office of the Secretary-General under Kofi Annan, and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She has worked in Africa, Asia and most recently Afghanistan supporting development and humanitarian operations in the field, and strategy, policy and communications at UN Headquarters. Her deep understanding of the intersection of politics, policy, communications and humanism enables her to work effectively across sectors, disciplines and cultures.
Michelle founded Four Corners Consulting in 2009, where she works at the interconnection of many of today’s development and security issues. Michelle consults to the US government, the UN, foundations, companies and non-profits on policy analysis and program strategy, risk management, sustainability, and cross-sectoral partnerships. Passionate about civic engagement, she wants to start a nation-wide conversation about our future.
Previously she directed field operations for Arzu, an NGO that provides jobs, healthcare and education to Afghan families; successfully negotiated with the Government of Myanmar to take action on a national HIV/AIDS crisis; and fostered a partnership with Coca-Cola to deliver perishable polio vaccines in remote Africa.
Michelle has lived in five countries, traveled to more than 40 and was a Robert Bosch Fellow in Germany. She has a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, a Bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Hampshire College, and studied media in London and visual communications in Florence, Italy. An avid outdoorswoman, Michelle is a competitive skydiver and a certified yoga instructor.
- Project Leader, WPI (2010-present)
- President, Four Corners Consulting (2009-present)
- Vice President of International Operations, Arzu Inc. (2005-2009)
- Senior Inter-Agency Specialist, UN Population Fund (2005)
- First Officer, UN Fund for International Partnerships (2003-2004)
- Coordination Support Officer, UN Myanmar – Office of the Resident Coordinator (2002-2003)
- Policy Specialist, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations – Office of the Under-Secretary-General (2002)
- Second Officer, Office of the UN Secretary-General (2001)
- Communications Specialist, UN Development Group Office (1998-2000)
Editor/Journalist, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Observer, Reuters, various publications (1989-1997)
Honors and Affiliations:
- Board Director, Himalayan Healthcare, 2012-present
- Board Director, Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association, 2012-present
- Robert Bosch Fellow, Berlin, Germany, 1997-1998
- President and Founder of PUMP (Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project), 1996 – 1997
M.A., University of Pittsburgh
B.A., Hampshire College
“Assets and Liabilities”, World Policy Blog, April 5, 2011.
“Renewal in Afghanistan,” Letter to the Editor, The New York Times, November 1, 2007.
“The Next Page: Unseen Afghanistan,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 19, 2007.
WKQV: Global Press Conference, “Developments in Burma,” November 2012.
World Policy On Air: “Michelle Fanzo on Burma”, September 2012.
Appeared as a guest on WKQV radio to discuss Aung San Suu Kyi’s meeting with President Obama, September 2012.
The Takeaway, WNYC - NPR: “Underreported: Update on Pakistan’s Flood-Stricken Region,” October 2010.
The Takeaway, WNYC – NPR, Will Pakistan's Relief Aid Prevent Destabilization?, August 18, 2010.
Pittsburgh KQV Global Press Conference, Afghanistan and the Challenges for International Development Aid, August 7, 2010.
The Takeaway, WNYC – NPR, For US, Diplomatic Opportunity in Sending Flood Relief, August 5, 2010.
CTV: "Canada vies for Security Council seat," October 2010.
ABC News (AU): "Afghanistan Elections," September 2010.
WKQV: "Afghanistan and the Challenges to International Aid," August 2010.
Speaker, Fordham University on “The Costs of War” as part of its annual International Studies Conference, April 2013.
Moderator, “Afghanistan’s Post-2014 Transition: a practioners roundtable”, World Policy Institute, February 2013.
Speaker, The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh on “Looking Beyond the Lady: The Realities of Reform in Myanmar,” September 2012.
Speaker, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, on human security and applying systems theory to humanitarian and development activities, September 2012.
Speaker, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, on “Why We Can’t Have It All: Women in International Affairs,” September 2012.
Speaker, “Burma’s Democratic Transition”, World Policy Institute. September 2012.
Speaker, the New York Technology Council on "How Telecom Tools Address some of the World's Toughest Challenges: or How My Phone Saved the World," March 2012.
Moderator, Aerotropolis: Political Salon with Greg Lindsay, World Policy Institute. November 2011.
Moderator, A Political Salon with John Prendergast: Lessons from Africa, World Policy Institute. May 2011.
Moderator, Kidnapped: Inside Pakistan's Tribal Areas, World Policy Institute. February 2011.
Speaker, Afghanistan: A Post-Election Assessment, World Policy Institute. October 2010.
Subject Matter Expert, Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. March 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.
Panelist, International Peacekeeping Operations Association Summit, Washington, DC. October 2009, 2010, 2011.