In 2008, Robert Macpherson created Cosantóir Group to address an unmet need among international organizations: for professional guidance in successfully navigating increasingly insecure, complex global environments in which the actors include governments, private companies, non-profit organizations, and national and/or international military and paramilitary groups. Before founding Cosantόir, Mr. Macpherson enjoyed two successful careers: first as a combat infantry officer in the US Marine Corps, from which he retired at the rank of Colonel in 1996; and later as a senior advisor to the international humanitarian organization CARE. While at CARE, he spent more than a decade leading emergency response and landmine programs, and, following the events of September 11, 2001 and a rapidly evolving geopolitical situation, he designed, launched and led CARE’s global safety and security structure. This included corporate policies, staff education and training, financial support and integration of CARE security with the UN, ICRC and the international humanitarian community.
As a leader of CARE’s Emergency Group, Mr. Macpherson directed numerous emergency response deployments, including those to Bosnia, Rwanda, Burundi, Darfur, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, East Timor, Kosovo, Albania, Haiti, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. He provided coordination throughout the humanitarian community, among a variety of UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and among various civilian and military governmental representatives. As the Director of CARE’s Safety and Security Unit, Mr. MacPherson spearheaded the development, coordination, monitoring and integration of its global program strategy for safety and security, which covered 15,000 staff in 72 locations around the world. He also managed negotiations and coordination with evolving non-traditional powers such as commercial security companies, paramilitary forces and an assortment of armed local groups and militias controlling territory in which CARE operated. These efforts included responding to the kidnapping and illegal detention of CARE staff in Zimbabwe, southern Sudan, Somalia, Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq. His experience also includes having been personally illegally detained in Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Mr. Macpherson has testified before the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and served as an advisor to the National Security Council and has published a number of Op-Eds in the Washington Post. He is a member of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and since 2009, has served on the Board of Directors of the international human rights organization Global Rights, which promotes women’s human rights and combats discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Mr. MacPherson earned his undergraduate degree from the Virginia Military Institute and an advanced degree in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Australian Defense University. He is the recipient of four awards for valor from the United States government, for service in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia and Iraq, and was honored in 2008 with the InterAction Distinguished Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service.