Veronica M. Olazabal, Monitoring & Evaluation Director at Nuru International, an organization seeking to end extreme poverty in remote, rural areas, is an evaluation professional with more than 15 years of program and research management experience. She is strategic and results-driven, but also practical and realistic, striving to balance her experience using both quantitative and qualitative data with the constraints and complexities of the world. Her professional portfolio spans four continents and includes working with the MasterCard and Rockefeller Foundations’ international programs on topics ranging from youth learning and financial inclusion to climate change and global health. She has also led the evaluation and research efforts of humanitarian relief and non-profit organizations such as UMCOR (the United Methodists Committee on Relief) and the Food Bank for New York City. A strong believer in the systematic role evaluation can play in addressing global poverty, she has co-chaired the Working Group for Evaluation and Program Effectiveness for InterAction – the largest U.S. network of international NGOs – and has represented civil society as the North American Representative for the ACT Alliance at the United Nations Fourth High Level Forum on Development Effectiveness.

With graduate study on both sides of the mixed methods world, she holds a master’s in urban policy and planning, with an applied economics focus, from Rutgers University; is acquiring her M.A. in anthropology from Columbia University; and holds a B.A. in communications, with a focus on international agricultural and environmental studies. Olazabal says she is excited and humbled to receive the 2014 Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award.

“Being recognized for my beliefs that evaluation can be a force for pro-poor systematic change is very exciting,” said Olazabal. “Yet, more than excited, I am overwhelmingly humbled knowing that my efforts as an evaluation practitioner have been shaped by the teachings of all my colleagues and mentors throughout the developed and developing world. This award not only speaks to me, but also speaks to the result of their hard work and efforts – for that, I am very grateful.”

The Alva and Gunnar Myrdal Evaluation Practice Award is presented annually to an evaluator who exemplifies outstanding evaluation practice and who has made substantial cumulative contributions to the field of evaluation through the practice of evaluation and whose work is consistent with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators. A full list of past award recipients is available on the American Evaluation Association website (