New York, NY — The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced today that Stefan Oscar, a veteran JDC senior program professional with two-plus decades of global accomplishment, will serve as the organization’s next Executive Director for its Former Soviet Union operation. Oscar, who will begin the role on October 1, will oversee JDC’s flagship portfolio of Hesed social service centers and Jewish cultural and community development programs – including Jewish community centers, volunteering efforts, and Jewish identity-building initiatives – across 1,000 locations in 12 countries, including Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Georgia, and Uzbekistan. Oscar is currently JDC’s Managing Director of Programs in Europe, Africa & Asia.
“I’m thrilled to appoint Stefan to this critically important position and take pride in the fact that we’ve drawn from JDC’s peerless senior professional ranks to do so. I know our Former Soviet Union operation will benefit from his keen ability to carry out our mission in complex operating environments and his intimate personal and professional experience building our care work, Jewish community development initiatives, and efforts to foster self-sustaining Jewish communities throughout the world,” said JDC CEO Ariel Zwang.
During his tenure at JDC, Oscar was one of the architects of the network of JDC-supported social service centers in the Baltics and led the development of the formative Jewish institutions – Jewish community centers, Jewish Family Services, professional networks, and summer camps – comprising the heart of this region’s Jewish communities. Under his leadership, JDC developed flagship Jewish community centers in Warsaw and Krakow; galvanized grassroots Jewish entrepreneurs in Poland, the Baltics, and Balkans addressing Jewish and wider humanitarian needs; and built regional initiatives linking and strengthening Jewish professionals and leaders across the continent. </p>
In recent years, Oscar oversaw the successful merger of JDC’s Europe, Africa & Asia operations, maximizing professional management and program impact. Oscar’s success has been bolstered by the trust and respect he’s built with historic JDC philanthropic and Jewish community partners, including the Claims Conference. He’s also represented JDC in Jewish property restitution matters, working directly with Jewish community leaders, government officials, and international bodies.
“I’m humbled by this opportunity and excited to lead our operations in the Former Soviet Union—work at the heart of our mission of saving Jewish lives and building Jewish life,” said Oscar. “I’m committed to ensuring the continuity of our three decades of work there and draw from my experience to help JDC empower the vibrant Jewish communities of the region to continue to forge their path towards greater sustainability.”
Oscar has had a close association with JDC dating back to the early 1990’s. Raised in communist Bulgaria, he served as a young Jewish leader, noted JCC Director, and Jewish communal professional in Sofia. Oscar was encouraged in his Jewish journey and professional trajectory by JDC’s investments to rebuild Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism.