Peter Laugharn

President and CEO

Image of Peter Laugharn

Peter Laugharn (pronounced LAW-harn) serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Laugharn is a passionate leader with 25 years of foundation and nonprofit experience internationally, with a focus on improving the well-being of vulnerable children.

He was executive director of the Firelight Foundation from 2008 to 2014. Firelight identifies, funds, and supports promising African nonprofits serving vulnerable children and families in the areas of education, resilience, and health.

Prior to Firelight, Laugharn served for six years as executive director of the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation, a private foundation that works to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. He was director of programs at the Foundation for three years before becoming executive director.

Laugharn began his career at Save the Children, where he worked for 11 years in a variety of roles. Eight of those years, he was based in Bamako, Mali. Laugharn helped develop the Village Schools model, which promoted access to basic education, girls’ schooling, and community participation. The model helped 45,000 children go to school and raised the number of primary schools in the country by 40 percent. Laugharn was later Save the Children’s Mali Field Office director, West Africa Area director and then education advisor for Africa, providing technical assistance for programs in 10 countries.

A graduate of Stanford and Georgetown Universities, Laugharn holds a Ph.D. in education from the University of London. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco from 1982 to 1984. Laugharn was a co-founder of the International Education Funders Group and the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS, and he is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University.

Posts by Peter Laugharn

  1. Our News

    Message from Peter Laugharn: Compassion and Collaboration

    Disaster Relief & Recovery April 6, 2017 By Peter Laugharn

    Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, discusses the role of compassion and collaboration in recent grantmaking.

  2. Our News

    Now is the Time for Compassionate Leadership

    Disaster Relief & Recovery April 5, 2017 By Peter Laugharn

    All around the world, people are struggling with forces beyond their control that are bringing about dramatic changes to their lives. More than ever, I believe that philanthropy can provide a practical, can-do, compassionate optimism to help tackle some of these global challenges.

  3. Our News

    All Children Deserve a Head Start

    Children Affected by HIV and AIDS March 6, 2017 By Peter Laugharn

    A coin flip. If you live in sub-Saharan Africa, those are your chances of growing up in a family where members live on less than $1.90 per day, according to a new report on childhood poverty from Unicef and the World Bank.

  4. Our News

    Message from Peter Laugharn: Reflections, Values and Looking Ahead

    December 15, 2016 By Peter Laugharn

    Peter Laugharn, president and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, reflects on his first year.