Tabatha Pilgrim Thompson

Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives

Tabatha has a background in community organizing, leadership development, political campaigns and facilitating dialogues to bridge domestic divides. Growing up in Appling, GA with a military and public-service-oriented family, she learned about the value of community and service at an early age and committed to making public service a central part of her life. As the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Initiatives at The Horizons Project, Tabatha cultivates and strengthens meaningful relationships and connections among activists, peacebuilders, democracy advocates, organizers, donors, academics, and policymakers working to advance a just, pluralistic, and peaceful democracy.

She most recently served as the acting director and senior program officer for the Program on Nonviolent Action at the United States Institute of Peace. There, Tabatha worked with grassroots activists and peacebuilders to develop greater knowledge and practical skills for how nonviolent action and peacebuilding approaches can be used together to mobilize communities, build power, and address the grievances and injustices that can drive violent conflict. She also helped donor organizations, including the U.S. government, UN agencies and foundations, better understand how they can effectively support social movements by amplifying lessons learned from the field and exploring the power dynamics of external support. Her field experience includes capacity building and research work in West and East Africa, Latin America, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

Prior to USIP, Tabatha served as a field researcher with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, focusing on community engagement and inclusivity in the peacekeeping process. She also managed leadership development programs at the Partnership for Public Service and led DC’s largest all-volunteer anti-human trafficking nonprofit, DC Stop Modern Slavery, where she worked to raise awareness and promote community action to combat trafficking in the greater Washington area.

Tabatha holds a master’s degree in human rights, humanitarian policy, and conflict resolution from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and modern languages from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Go Jackets!). She is a member of Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS), where she co-chairs a Redefining National Security sub-group focused on bridging the civil society-military community divide, and Foreign Policy for America’s NextGen Initiative, where she co-chairs the Democracy and Human Rights working group. Tabatha is a 2021 Truman National Security Fellow, and she co-founded policy::dialogue, a policy student organization that seeks to organize public policy students across the U.S. to take action around social and economic justice issues and facilitate grassroots dialogue to better understand different perspectives and move forward together. She enjoys backpacking, reading, watching movies and wine-tasting (having worked in the tasting room at one of VA’s many great vineyards!).