World Animal Net (WAN) is proud to announce that Jessica Bridgers, MS has agreed to take the position of Executive Director of the organization. She will replace Wim Dekok, who has fulfilled that role on an honorary basis since WAN’s inception in 1997.
With a B.S. in biology and minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of New Mexico, Jessica combines a scientific background with a passion for animal protection. She completed her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and internships with Humane Society International, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before arriving at World Animal Net in 2013 where she served as the Communications Coordinator.
With a small staff and a working Board, WAN is one of the few NGOs solely focused on international animal welfare policy. Over the last three years Jessica has helped shape significant programs of World Animal Net.
WAN’s programs aim to empower animal protection organizations around the world to use policy to enhance their work. These programs currently include the development of a comprehensive Model Animal Welfare Act in collaboration with animal law and policy experts, an online strategic advocacy course, resources on international policy and policy making bodies and, the first of its kind, Constitution Project, which outlines animal welfare provisions in constitutions around the world.
With special consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and representation in various international organizations, WAN also works to improve the communication and coordination among the world’s animal protection organizations by providing the world’s largest online directory of animal protection organizations and supporting global initiatives like World Animal Day and the Universal Declaration for Animal Welfare.
Wim Dekok, who will stay on as WAN President, says, “I am confident that Jessica’s appointment means a boost for WAN and consequently a boost for animal welfare. Jessica has been a great colleague and the board is delighted that she has taken on this important role.”
Jessica Bridgers says “I am beyond thrilled to have been able to work with WAN’s team and contribute to WAN’s important work over the past three years. As Executive Director I look forward to the opportunity to further WAN’s mission in supporting the work of animal protection organizations around the world, promoting the creation and use of animal-friendly policies, and mainstreaming consideration for animals at the local, national, and international level.
Photo credit: Janice Cox and Wim DeKok, WAN co-founders, and Jessica Bridgers, at a recent meeting at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., USA.