Biography: Ken Isaacs

Vice President, Programs and Government Relations, Samaritan's Purse

As vice president of programs and government relations, Ken Isaacs oversees all international relief projects for Samaritan's Purse. 

Isaacs has more than 34 years of experience working in the relief and development communities, and his work has taken him to 120 countries in response to global emergencies resulting from wars, complex crises, famines and natural disasters. He has testified multiple times before House and Senate committees and subcommittees, including the Foreign Relations Committee. 

Isaacs has served on the ground in response to foreign disasters and aid projects. He has directed major relief operations around the world since 1991, including Samaritan's Purse' work in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Isaacs also coordinated relief efforts in Liberia during the Ebola crisis, following massive earthquakes in China and Haiti, and following the devastating cyclones that hit Myanmar and the Philippines. In addition, he designed and implemented emergency relief programs in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Honduras, El Salvador, Kosovo, Turkey, Afghanistan, Haiti, Japan and the Philippines.

More recently, Isaacs led the response in Nepal after the deadly earthquakes and efforts to assist Syrian refugees fleeing to Greece and throughout Europe. Under his leadership, Samaritan's Purse deployed an emergency field hospital to the outskirts of Mosul as Iraqi Security Forces fought to regain control of the city. For that work, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from Health Outreach to the Middle East.

During his career, Isaacs has also served as director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Under his direction, OFDA served as the lead agency for U.S. government relief responses to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and 2005 Pakistan earthquake. He also oversaw U.S. humanitarian relief efforts in Darfur and South Sudan, and emergency responses in Ethiopia and Niger. 

Isaacs often speaks at universities, as well as national and international conferences, about complex humanitarian crises with a focus on emergency assistance and disaster relief. He has two sons with his late wife, Carolyn, one serving as a Marine officer and the other a humanitarian worker. 

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