Cynthia Buiza is the Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC) where she provides the vision for the mission of California’s premiere immigrant rights organization. CIPC is thriving under her leadership, with a marked expansion in its issue area expertise and a broadening of its coalition networks working to build power for immigrants in this country. Cynthia came to this role after successfully managing a statewide capacity building project, involving nine regional coalitions in California, which strengthened their viability through a combination of highly customized training, grant-making and leadership coaching.
Cynthia brings over two decades of experience in nonprofit management and human rights advocacy to CIPC. She worked on international refugee, migration, human rights and civil rights issues in Southeast Asia before working with ACLU as Policy Director for its San Diego regional affiliate. She was also Policy and Advocacy Director at CHIRLA in Los Angeles from 2007-2010. More recently, she worked as a consultant with various immigrant rights and civil rights institutions and social justice organizations in California and the U.S., helping shape their strategic direction and plans for sustainability.
Before moving to the United States, she worked in senior positions with various international organizations, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Open Society Institute-Burma Education Project in Thailand, and the Jesuit Refugee Service. In June, 2003, she co-authored the book Anywhere But War, about the armed conflict and internal displacement in the Indonesian Province of Aceh.
Cynthia earned a Masters in International Affairs from the Fletcher School at Tufts University, with a concentration on human security studies. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from the Philippines, and a Certificate in Refugee and Migration Studies from the Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre in England. She also holds certificates from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Cynthia currently serves as a State Commissioner with the Milton Marks Little Hoover Commission for State Government Organization and the Economy. She is a member of the California Community Foundation’s Immigration Advisory Council and the Committee for Greater Los Angeles. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Pilipino Worker’s Center and Health Access California.
In her spare time Cynthia enjoys movies, visits to art museums, poetry, and decadent meals.