Sherrie Rollins Westin

Sherrie Rollins Westin

ECPC: 
Advisory Board Member
Title: 
President, Social Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop
Sherrie Rollins Westin

President, Global Impact and Philanthropy

Sesame Workshop

Sherrie Westin is President of Global Impact and Philanthropy for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street.  She leads the Workshop’s efforts to serve vulnerable children through mass media and targeted initiatives in the United States and around the world.  Westin serves as Sesame Workshop’s chief mission ambassador, raising awareness, developing strategic partnerships, and cultivating philanthropic support to further the Workshop’s mission to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

Westin spearheaded a partnership to create the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response, bringing critical education and nurturing care to refugee children in the Syrian response region.  Working with the International Rescue Committee, she led Sesame Workshop’s efforts to compete for and win a historic $100 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation to fund this work.  She also championed the development of Julia, the first autistic Sesame Street Muppet and oversaw the launch of Sesame Street in Communities, Sesame’s comprehensive initiative designed to give children the tools they need to overcome traumatic experiences.

Westin was named a “Leading Global Thinker” by Foreign Policy Magazine and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and was recognized with the Smithsonian’s “American Ingenuity Award”.  A staunch advocate for addressing children’s needs, she regularly appears on major media outlets with Sesame Street’s iconic Muppets promoting Sesame’s social impact initiatives around the world.

Westin has held leadership positions in media, nonprofit, and public service.  She was Assistant to the President for Public Liaison and Intergovernmental Affairs for President George H.W. Bush, Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and held senior positions at the ABC Television Network and U.S. News & World Report.

Westin serves on the board of directors of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and Communities in Schools.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the U.S. Afghan Women’s Council, and the Early Childhood Peace Consortium (ECPC) Advisory Board.

Westin is a graduate of the University of Virginia and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia College in New York.  She lives in Bronxville, New York with her husband David and her children, Lily and David.

 

Publications

  1. Medium – Helping refugee children get back to learning. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@srwestin/helping-refugee-children-get-back-to-learning-7f41e2061dca 

  2. Medium – For young refugees, no education means no future. So Elmo is going overseas to help. Retrieved from https://medium.com/@srwestin/for-young-refugees-no-education-means-no-future-so-elmo-is-going-overseas-to-help-41c605788124

​Media Appearances

  1. ABC News Nightline – Sesame Street visits children at Jordan refugee camp. Terry Moran travels to Lebanon to cover how Sesame Workshop and the IRC are working to bring hope and education to children in war-torn countries. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Ybq9lDBnhT8

  2. MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change Competition: The Finalists Live Presentation. Sherrie Westin and David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC, present our proposal to bring early childhood education to Syrian refugees for the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition to fund a single proposal that promises measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/tzVhAAWeOi0 

  3. Business of Giving Podcast. Cecilia Conrad of the MacArthur Foundation, Beverly Postma of HarvestPlus and Sherrie Westin join host Denver Frederick to discuss/recap the MacArthur Foundation’s 100&Change competition including our proposal to bring early education to Syrian refugee children and how winning will allow Sesame and the IRC to create the largest childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response. Retrieved from https://www.denver-frederick.com/2018/02/14/macarthurs-100-change-competition-interview-cecilia-conrad-bev-postma-sherrie-westin/

  4. Foreign Policy Magazine – Elmo Joins the Forever War. “Sesame Street” is heading to Syrian refugee camps, a blessing for kids with little hope. Better yet, experts say, Elmo and friends can help fight extremism. Retrieved from http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/04/21/elmo-goes-to-war-syria-refugee-camps-countering-violent-extremism-counter-terror/ 

  5. NPR All Things Considered – With $100 Million Grant, Sesame Workshop Reaches Out To Refugee Kids. In January, Sesame Workshop and the IRC will start work on the largest early childhood intervention in the history of humanitarian response. Here’s how they’ll do it. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/12/29/574532231/with-100-million-grant-sesame-workshop-reaches-out-to-refugee-kids

  6. The New York Times – MacArthur Grant Will Create ‘Sesame Street’ for Syrian Refugees. The Muppets are taking the Middle East. The MacArthur Foundation announced that it was awarding $100 million to Sesame Workshop and the IRC to create early childhood development programs for Syrian refugees. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/world/middleeast/macarthur-sesame-street-refugees.html

  7. Smithsonian Magazine – Why the Team Behind Sesame Street Created a Character With Autism. The bravest new face on television is a Muppet that doesn’t say much. But she speaks volumes about life on the spectrum. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/team-sesame-street-created-character-autism-180967218/ 

  8. Global Citizen Movement Makers Summit – The Power of Puppets: P&G and Sesame Workshop Explain Gender Equality in India. Sherrie Westin and P&G’s Tara Hogan-Charles discuss how to move the dial on girls education, with a special appearance by Chamki, a girl Muppet from India’s version of Sesame Street. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/kCFL6KAa4wI 

  9. Sesame Workshop Accepts Asia Society Asia Game Changer Award. Sherrie Westin accepts the Asia Society’s Game Changer Award for proving that learning can be fun – and have a profound impact – anywhere in the world. Retrieved from https://asiasociety.org/video/sesame-workshop-accepts-asia-society-asia-game-changer-award

  10. The Washington Post – Sesame Street launches tools to help children who experience trauma, from hurricanes to violence at home. Sesame Workshop is releasing new content to teach children strategies to cope with traumatic experiences, whether they are unexpected, like a hurricane or flood, or ongoing. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/10/07/sesame-street-launches-tools-to-teach-coping-skills-to-children-who-experience-trauma-of-all-kinds-from-natural-disasters-to-violence-at-home/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.8d3b436dfe12 

  11. Glamour | The Girl Project – The Smart Way ‘Sesame Street’ Is Tackling the Refugee Crisis. More than 65 million people are displaced by violence, half of them children. Three million kids with no school to go to. An entire generation traumatized by war, their country destroyed in the fighting. Time to send in Elmo.  Retrieved from https://www.glamour.com/story/sesame-street-refugee-crisis

  12. Sesame Street and the IRC Team Up for Refugee Children – Sherrie Westin and David Miliband discuss our partnership to bring invaluable early learning, laughter, and hope to millions of children who need it most. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/yy7z8PUxNDY 

  13. Fast Company – Most Creative People 2017 – Sherrie Westin is named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People for reaching children everywhere. Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/person/sherrie-westin

  14. NPR All Things Considered – When Elmo And Big Bird Talk To Refugees. How Sesame Workshop is doing its homework as it launches a new program to bring early childhood education to refugee children. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/05/05/526775562/when-elmo-and-big-bird-talk-to-refugees 

  15. Foreign Policy – FP Global Thinkers 2016. Sherrie Westin and Sarah Smith of IRC are named FP Global Thinkers for promoting equality with puppets. Retrieved from https://gt.foreignpolicy.com/2016/profile/sarah-smith-and-sherrie-westin?c0244ec121=

  16. The Guardian – Sherrie Westin: the Sesame Street exec helping kids of all cultures. A Sesame Street leader going beyond her duties. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/personal-investments/ng-interactive/2016/sep/20/sherrie-westin-sesame-street-muppets-culture-world 

  17. Womenthology – Using early education as the solution to many of the world’s most challenging issues – Q&A with Sherrie Westin. Retrieved from http://www.womanthology.co.uk/using-early-education-solution-many-worlds-challenging-issues-sherrie-westin-executive-vice-president-global-impact-philanthropy-sesame-workshop/

  18. Reuters – Afghan ‘Sesame Street’ adds girl power with first homegrown Muppet. For a small girl, Zari has a big mission: to promote female empowerment in a nation where women and children were almost completely excluded from educational opportunities some 15 years ago. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-television-sesamestreet-afghan/afghan-sesame-street-adds-girl-power-with-first-homegrown-muppet-idUSKCN0X40FN

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