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Matt Michels

Passion.  Reliability.  Experience.

Seasoned strategy specialist and program manager for education, youth, and peacebuilding initiatives at both local and global levels

About Me

Education: American ‘08 & Columbia ‘11

Languages: English & French

​Technical Areas: Education, Youth, & Peacebuilding

Skills: Strategy, Programs, MEL, & Partnership

I'm a service-minded individual, who believes in peace and progress. These values animate me and led me to pursue a career in international peace and development. As a seasoned strategy specialist and program manager with over 13 years’ experience in education, youth, and peace initiatives, I work along the full aid, peace, and development spectrum, specializing in strategy, program design and management, MEL, and partnership. This broad experience gives me a 360-degree perspective of the international space, how it works, and what it takes to achieve real and sustainable results.

Currently, I lead the development and implementation of three new internal systems for the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE): Partnerships, MEL, and Grants Management. Since formulating an evidence-based partnership strategy, I operationalized it through message-based engagement, deliberate targeting and prioritization, and nurturing holistic relationships with new and existing public and private partners for increased framework funding over project-based grants. This work helped secure US$9,725,000 from 11 partners. In this role, I also apply my aptitude for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL). In my first year, I successfully advocated to more completely embed results-based planning across the INEE Secretariat and elevated to importance of outcomes and impact in initiative planning. Now, I lead the work to flesh out a more complete MEL system to strengthen programs in the near and long-term and to better articulate the importance and impact of INEE to the education in emergencies sector. Additionally, as INEE grew rapidly in the last five years, so has its capacity and budget. The grants system I designed and rolled out across the INEE Secretariat allows for efficient and effective funds management and reporting, strategic funding decisions by senior leadership, and continuous compliance with grant terms and other rules and policies. Together, these three systems provide INEE with a foundation for long-term sustainability.


Prior to my tenure at INEE, my career spanned from the global to local level. Globally, I worked with UNICEF for over seven years on education in emergencies, child protection, and partnerships. While there, I provided support to field colleagues, strengthened core skill sets, gained technical expertise in adolescent programs, peacebuilding, and resilience, and informed to policy discussions with international partners. Complementing this global-level experience is my work with community groups in Kenya, Togo, Tanzania, and Uganda on projects in education, youth development, health advocacy, and gender. My portfolio further includes evaluation efforts in Pakistan, Asia-Pacific region, and Lesotho. I also co-founded a nonprofit to support community-driven youth peace education efforts and led their program development and M&E for seven years.


This diverse experience allowed me to have broad impact in diverse contexts and to achieve results. It also afforded me a full suite of skills and the versatility to fill diverse roles on any team. Equipped with these experiences and skills, I achieve success in my work by joining my passion for service with innovative pragmatism, broad capacity, and forward thinking.

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