Holly Wise

Holly Wise
Associate Professor in the Practice

Associate Professor in the Practice

Global Human Development

Professor Wise leads the GHD/SFS Global Social Enterprise and Development Fellows Program with the McDonough School of Business.  Her teaching areas include social enterprise, innovation and enterprise development.  Current research and advisory activities focus on corporate social responsibility, public-private partnerships, leadership development, social enterprise case studies, and monitoring and evaluation of multi-stakeholder alliances. 

In addition to her teaching and mentoring at Georgetown University, she serves as a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and a Senior Fellow with the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability.  She sits on the boards of FHI360, Grassroots Business Partners, Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), LivingGoods, and GlobalGiving, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prior to Georgetown, Professor Wise spent a career in the foreign service with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), achieving the diplomatic rank of Minister Counselor. Her assignments covered the areas of health, education, private enterprise development, and creation and management of a new business model for foreign assistance based on partnership with the private sector. She is the founder and first Secretariat Director of the Global Development Alliance, USAID’s business model that forges strategic alliances between public and private partners in addressing international development issues. Under her leadership 300 alliances were formed with $1.1 billion in USAID funding leveraging $3.8 billion in private resources for the world’s poor. In addition to overseas tours in Uganda, Kenya, Barbados, the Philippines and China, Ms. Wise served as USAID chair at the National Defense University where she taught political science, environmental courses, and published research on China.

Professor Wise is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Connecticut College and holds advanced degrees from Yale University and the National Defense University.

Areas of Expertise: International development, social enterprise, innovation, public-private partnerships, sustainability, corporate social responsibility, impact investing.


U.S. Government Engagement with the Private Sector on International Development. Center for Strategic and International Studies.  February 2012.

Seizing the Opportunity in Public-Private Partnerships. Strengthening Capacity at the State Department, USAID and MCC. Center for Strategic and International Studies. October, 2011.

Water for All: Bringing Water to the Poor in Africa.  Program Evaluation, USAID, April 2011.

Faiths United for Health Campaign: Evaluation Report.  Center for Interfaith Action (CIFA).  March 2011.

Poland’s Clean Business Partnership Promotes the Economic Value of Mitigation. Hotel Partnership Members Share Ideas for Adapting to Climate Change. Eco-Schools Generate Innovative Local Climate-Change Solutions. Climate Change Partnerships Online Journal. Volume 15/ Number 4.

The Role of the Extractive Sector in Expanding Economic Opportunity (CSRI Report No. 18), Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government (October 2007).

China, the Environmental Dragon: The Environmental Security Implications of China’s Rise to Great-Power Status.  U.S. Army Environmental Policy Institute (Sept 2000).

“Sustainable Security: Transnational Environmental Threats and Foreign Policy” Harvard International Review (Fall 1999).

Distinguished Lecturer on Environment and National Security Strategy.  Lecture tour to Spain and Germany supported by the US Information Service (1999).