Michael O’Neill has held the position of Senior Director for Global Safety and Security at Save the Children since September 2002. Prior to taking up this position, he served as the Coordinator of Volunteer Safety and Overseas Security at the Peace Corps (1995-2002). In both positions Michael has been a leader in establishing and institutionalizing effective safety and security management systems by formulating policies and procedures in risk management, safety and security, and crisis management; conducting field security assessments; developing and delivering a variety of safety and security-related training courses; and coordinating agency support of staff in their efforts to reduce safety and security risks and mitigate crises. He has presented lectures at leading US universities and has contributed to many articles and studies focusing on NGO safety and security management. Michael is the 2009 recipient of the InterAction Security Advisory Group Distinguished Achievement Award.
Michael served as a community health volunteer with Peace Corps in Sierra Leone from 1978-82. While working for GTZ in Sierra Leone (82-88), he supported hundreds of community development initiatives in Bo and Pujehun Districts. As Regional Relief Administrator with the Sierra Leone Red Cross (91-92), he frequently traveled throughout the Eastern Province of the country to assess the level of security and make recommendations for the safe delivery of relief supplies. In a later assignment with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in 1993, he was posted on the Ethiopia/Somalia border, where he negotiated with Somali clan leaders on a daily basis to secure access for and cooperation with Red Cross personnel and programs.
Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from St. Louis University (1976) and a Master of Science in International Rural Development Planning from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada (1991).
Michael and his wife, Millicent, met and married in Sierra Leone twenty-eight years ago. They have two children, Owen, 26, and Sheila, 21.