Maxim Anmeghichean, Open Society Foundations

TITLE: Program Officer

FUNDING AREAS: LGBTI Rights

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

IP TAKE: While Anmeghichean now works on LGBTI rights all over the developing world, he cut his teeth as an activist in Eastern Europe., so he's likely to take a particular interest in any proposals related to the struggle for equality in that part of the world.

PROFILE: Maxim Anmeghichean has been a program officer of the LGBTI Rights Initiative at the Open Society Foundations since 2012. A native of Moldova, he has spent his life involved in the LGBTI movement, most prominently in a leadership position at the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), Europe's most prominent LGBTI rights organization. Anmeghichean has degrees in journalism and communication sciences from Moldovan State University and a master of cultures and development studies from the Catholic University of Leuven. He has worked in the United States and across Europe and is fluent in English, Russian, French, and Romanian.

Anmeghichean is a pioneer of the LGBTI movement in his home country of Moldova, having founded an organization called GenderDoc-M that has continued to grow and expand its influence, both nationally and on a broader, regional level. As a board member at ILGA, where he worked from 2005 to 2012, Anmeghichean headed the organization's program to advance LGBTI rights in Europe, with a particular focus on Eastern Europe. Based in Brussels, he developed and implemented the program's efforts to advance LGBTI rights in Eastern European societies, lobbying before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, and the European Union.

Anmeghichean's work on behalf of LGBTI rights is not limited to Europe, though. He co-authored, along with Jill Wood and Sue Simon, a September 2007 report for the Open Society Foundations titled "LGBT Health and Rights in East Africa: A Snapshot of Successes and Challenges for the Advocacy Community." It's a lucid and informative summation of the challenges facing the LGBTI movement in countries like Kenya and Uganda. The report stresses the importance of increased cooperation and coordination between funders, fundraisers, and advocacy groups. This suggests that Anmeghichean may be particularly impressed with proposals that involve a strategic and collaborative approach.

Unfortunately, though, if you're seeking a U.S.-based program, Anmeghichean is not your man. His primary mandate at the Open Society Foundations is to focus on "supporting LGBTI rights groups in the developing world." Some of the organization's most recent work and funding have occurred in countries like Uganda, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Romania. Eastern Europe seems to have been given particular attention since Anmeghichean took over the program, which is no surprise given his background and familiarity with the dire LGBTI landscape in that part of the world.

Anmeghichean’s LGBTI Rights Initiative is actually a subprogram within the Open Society Foundations' Human Rights Initiative and is, officially, only one "topic" on which the broader human rights program works. The Human Rights Initiative, which encompasses nine different subprograms, specifically lists the following regions in which it works: Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East. For whatever reason, Open Society is unusually coy about the specifics of its many grants. From 2009 to 2011, the Human Rights Initiative provided 72 grants, all having to do with either "justice" or "right to information," but it's anyone's guess which subprograms or which individuals were directly involved.

Far from the bureaucratic type, Anmeghichean clearly is an activist at heart and someone who is in this movement for the long haul. On March 6, 2009, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on her first trip to Europe, she participated in a Q&A session with a young audience that was hosted by the European Parliament. Anmeghichean, sitting in the front row and wearing an "I Love Hillary" T-shirt, got the chance to ask Secretary Clinton a question about how U.S. foreign policy will take into account gay rights. He went right to the point, identifying himself as a gay rights activist, pointing out that homosexuals are being sentenced to death in seven countries, and criticizing Bush administration policies that did not allow funding to programs working on HIV/AIDS prevention for sexually active gay men. The exchange was described by the Financial Times' Brussels Blog as the "best moment" of the entire Q&A.

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