Sara Aviel

Senior Adviser (Non-resident), Project on Prosperity and Development

Sara Aviel served in the Obama administration as executive associate director and chief of staff at the Office of Management and Budget. She led a number of cross-cutting policy areas, with a particular focus on international economic and development issues and served as the agency’s chief operations officer. Previously, Ms. Aviel was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to represent the United States on the executive boards of the World Bank Group institutions. As part of the board, she provided fiduciary and strategic oversight on all investments and major programmatic and organizational policies. She served on the audit, development effectiveness, governance, and human resources committees and led efforts to promote greater accountability, inclusion, and sustainability. Earlier, she was director of international economic affairs for both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council at the White House. In this role, she led interagency policy processes related to economic issues in countries undergoing transition, such as Afghanistan, Burma, and South Sudan. She also served as a senior adviser to the secretary of the treasury and worked on a range of issues including development policy, international summits, financial reform, and formulating a response to the global financial crisis.


Prior to joining the Obama administration, Ms. Aviel was on the leadership team for Root Capital, a social investment fund that provides financing to small and medium-size enterprises in developing countries. She also worked for two international development organizations, CARE and Mercy Corps, in Afghanistan, Kosovo, and throughout Africa and the Middle East. In addition, she was a lecturer on international development and humanitarian relief at Yale University. Ms. Aviel received an M.B.A, as well as M.A. and B.A. degrees in political science, from Yale University. She serves on the board of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and the advisory council of the African Wildlife Foundation. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bretton Woods Committee, and the Aspen Global Leadership Network, and is a fellow in the Aspen Institute’s inaugural Finance Leaders Fellowship.