Jenna Luché-Thayer served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in North Africa and advanced to a Senior Advisory post to the US Government. She became the first woman to be named a Senior Technical Advisor to the United Nations Capital Development Fund. This UN agency was established to serve the most marginalized populations in the poorest countries of the world.
Jenna has over 30 years of policy and grassroots experience in 42 countries representing all regions throughout the world. She is recognized as a uniquely qualified expert on the vital issues of transparency and accountability, human rights and the political representation of marginalized groups.
While a Senior Advisor to the US government, Jenna was instrumental in framing and defining domestic violence as a human rights abuse. This led to global human rights reporting on domestic violence, human trafficking and gender-based violence.
Jenna has worked both domestically and globally to improve conditions for persons with physical and mental disabilities. Her efforts have helped to overcome obstacles to education, housing, health care, and food and water security for groups traditionally marginalized by cultural beliefs and/or economic practices.
In 2016, Jenna initiated an international effort for persons suffering from Lyme and relapsing fever borreliosis and their human rights defenders. This resulted in meetings with UN Special Rapporteurs and the human rights violations against such persons were entered into UN record. Jenna's leadership contributed to changing the World Health Organization's international diagnostic codes (ICD11) to include an additional number of potentially fatal complications from these infections.
Jenna has worked extensively with numerous governments, multiple UN agencies, nonprofits, and the corporate world, and has spearheaded many international and multidisciplinary teams. Additionally, Jenna has authored over 75 publications on her areas of expertise.
Her awards include: International Woman’s Day Award for Exemplary Dedication and Contributions to Improving the Political and Legal Status of Women (US government), Highest Ranking Technical Area in Accomplishment, Innovation and Comparative Advantage for United Nations Capital Development Fund and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society Power of Lyme Award 2018.
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Jenna is an American citizen born in Vietnam to American parents. She grew up in Vietnam, Thailand, USA, Burkina Faso and Tanzania and attended school in Europe. Her upbringing and exposure to poverty made her very aware of her privileges and responsibilities towards others.
After securing a double major in both fine arts and science, Jenna joined the Peace Corps as an agricultural extension agent in the Atlas Mountains of Tunisia near the border of Algeria (see picture to the left). Jenna provided technical guidance to improve beekeeping practices, honey production and crop production.
While serving as a Peace Corps volunteer (1985-1987), Jenna noted her technology transfer improved food production but did not adequately address laws and cultural practices interfering with food security. She witnessed significant gender-based discrimination— girls were kept from attending school and grown women were denied control of their own earnings. These experiences led Jenna to adopt a human rights-based approach to her work and she went on to study the interplay between political systems, legal frameworks, cultural practices and human rights violations.
The 1990 People’s Movement, a political movement that brought an end to absolute monarchy and the beginning of constitutional democracy, occurred while Jenna was working with local nonprofits in Nepal concerned with issues of forced resettlement, slum conditions and the political representation of civil society . The new Nepali political leaders recommended to the US government that Jenna advise on civil society development under the emerging democracy.
Following her assignment in Nepal, Jenna was recruited to advise the United States Agency for International Development and became the first person to hold the newly created ‘women’s political empowerment post’ created by that federal agency.
Jenna’s career has many firsts and she brings a wealth of experience to bear from her work in the complex environments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, China, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea Conakry, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Laos, Lesotho, Liberia, Kosovo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, the Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, United States of America and Vietnam.
Experience provides understanding that each audience is made up of individuals with unique expectations, subject matter knowledge and responsibilities. Our instructional presentations are developed for each unique audience to ensure the content has practical applications for achievable results.
(above) International medical conference in Boston, MA 2017.
Jenna was presenting — Embedded Obstacles To Diagnosis and Treatment
(to the right) Burkina Faso, 1999.
Jenna was Senior Advisor and Team Leader for stakeholder engagement —coordinating across five languages and over 600 leaders representing farmers, nomads, government, youth and women's groups — to determine infrastructure delivery and maintenance, and livelihood support across Soum Province. United Nations Capital Development Fund.
Our international participatory team-based approach begins with the first contact —integrating feedback, updating knowledge, building relationships— and continuing with global networking.
(to the left) Warsaw, Poland 2018.
Jenna's subject—Human rights defenders, such as doctors who provide medical care to those suffering from persistent Lyme borreliosis.
Expertise with proven track records helped to strengthen groups who go on to be powerful agents for change and human dignity.
(to the left) Jenna was Senior Advisor and Team Leader in Mayahi, Niger. This project reduced the labor and time women needed for firewood collection and supported sustainable livelihoods for women and men in rural communities. United Nations Capital Development Fund.
Our efforts are based on respect for human dignity, speak to dreams for the future and inspire hope.
(to the right) Boston 2017, following Jenna's presentation to international medical professionals.
Everyone has a right to life, dignity, food, water, health, education, medical care, association, expression, beliefs and love.
(to the left) Jenna was working with Hmong in Laos 1989 on organizing traditional medicine for Asian and international markets and infrastructure delivery — on assignment for the United Nations Fund for Drug Abuse and Control.
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