As executive director of OEI, Basil Safi is primarily focused on providing leadership, planning and the implementation of strategies that support Cornell’s community-engaged learning initiative. He manages operations of the Office of Engagement Initiatives, its core programs, and works with key campus partners to advance the university’s priorities in these areas.
Basil earned his B.S. in civil/environmental engineering from Virginia Tech and his M.P.H. in global environmental health from Emory University. Prior to coming to Cornell, Basil spent ten years working with the Center for Communication Programs (CCP) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health on a range of international health programs. Basil is a registered professional engineer, certified health education specialist and former Environmental Public Health Leadership Fellow at the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. He has experience working domestically and internationally in Azerbaijan, Barbados, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Panama, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Basil currently serves on the Executive Committee for the Commission on Economic and Community Engagement (CECE). The CECE was established to lead and coordinate Associate of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU),-mission pillar of “expanding engagement.” The commission convenes chief economic and community engagement officers, presidents and chancellors, provosts, senior research officers, communications and government affairs administrators, and others across APLU member universities and university systems who maintain responsibility for planning, executing, or communicating their institution’s work in economic development and public engagement. Basil also serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Tompkins County.
As a graduate student and through his role at CCP, Basil helped establish five community-based organizations in Bolivia, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Pakistan that continue to work with U.S.-based universities to serve the needs of local communities across a range of social and public health needs. In addition, Basil volunteered for six years with Thread, a Baltimore-based group that works with underperforming high school students to foster academic advancement and personal growth.
Basil has coauthored publications across the fields of health communication, public health preparedness, social science and mobile health.