Noorain Khan '06

In 2017 CSWGS was pleased to honor Noorain Khan '06 with our Distinguished Alumna Award. Noorain graduated from Rice with three majors: Political Science, Religious Studies, and the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. For the latter she wrote an honors thesis titled "Public Image, Private Identities: Veiling American Muslim Women." After graduation, Noorain held a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. She earned an MPhil in Migration Studies at Oxford, then attended Yale Law School and earned a J.D. in 2011. She appeared on Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and received the Legal Aid Society's Pro Bono Publico Award for her commitment to volunteer legal services for the poor and disadvantaged. In 2015 she joined the Ford Foundation. Her current role there is director of the Ford Foundation’s Office of the President. In that capacity, she oversees the foundation’s global discretionary grantmaking and cross-foundation strategic initiatives. She helped realize the foundation’s historic $1 billion social bond offering in 2020 that drove major investments in organizations to combat the crises of COVID-19 and systemic racism. She launched and oversaw the Ford Foundation’s work in disability rights, helping it become the largest private funder of disability rights work in the world. That work is the subject of a Harvard case study on social sector leadership. In 2023, she was elected to a three-year term as National Board President for the Girl Scouts of the USA, making Khan the highest-ranking volunteer member in Girl Scouting.