Our Team

Judith A. Hermanson, PhD

Director, ICRG

Dr. Judith Hermanson is the Director of OCDC’s International Cooperative Research Group. (OCDC is an association of cooperative development organizations working internationally, where she previously served on the Board and twice as its Chair). 

She is an expert not only in cooperative development but also the broader elements of international development to which it contributes.  These include illustratively microfinance, community based, participatory development (both urban and rural), women’s economic advancement, research for development, and the enabling environment. She has worked in 50+ countries and is the author of 150+ professional papers, research studies and peer-reviewed articles.  As an advisor to governments and donor organizations, as well as a hands-on practitioner and program designer, she integrates her academic training with her deep experience in management and implementation of development activities.

The ICRG: Advancing Inclusive Growth and Greater Equity.

In her current position as ICRG Director, Dr. Hermanson has led the creation of a cutting-edge research and learning center that prides itself in excellence, partnership and practical outcomes.  The ICRG’s mission is to increase the impact of international cooperative development through evidence.   With a distinctive methodology to integrate engagement and local knowledge with academic rigor, the ICRG bridges the gap between theory and practice.  It uses academically rigorous research to address locally identified challenges, working in partnership with local researchers and stakeholders, to increase the uptake and deepened impacts of cooperative development recognizing that cooperatives are part of an ecosystem within each country and each value chain in which they are active.  The ICRG uses a co-creation model in all aspects of its work, intentionally focused on facilitating the translation of evidence to application.  The ICRG proudly participates in and serves as the R&D arm for USAID’s cooperative development program and works with a range of clients and constituencies, using data and evidence as a platform for dialogue and discussion, leading to meaningful change.  

Prior Experience

Prior to taking the reins at the ICRG, Dr. Hermanson led several international non-profits, leading their strategy, growth trajectory and impact outcomes. These included Global Communities (Cooperative Housing Foundation), International Housing Coalition (IHC Global) and Pan-American Development Foundation (PADF).  In these roles and independently, she has consulted for and designed programs and research studies for USAID, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ford Foundation among others. As a tenured professor of public administration at Northern Illinois University, she taught both graduate and undergraduate students, conducted research in engaged learning, and established an innovative degree-granting program in nonprofit studies, community leadership and civic engagement.

Education, Honors and Service

Dr. Hermanson’s undergraduate degree was conferred by Smith College with high honors (magna cum laude) She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received a PhD (with distinction) from The George Washington University. 

For her services to international development, she has received numerous awards, including the NAHRO John Lange International Award. She is a Trustee Emerita and Past Board Chair of the American University of Paris, from which she also received an honorary doctorate for services to education.  She currently serves on several international and US nonprofit Boards.