Vijay Krishnarayan, heralding from Trinidad and Tobago and current Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, has been appointed Director of the intergovernmental organisation.
Mr Krishnarayan has supported civil society organisations in the United Kingdom, Caribbean and the wider Commonwealth over the last 25 years. A land-use planner by training, he has a special interest in the relationship between development and the environment. Before joining the Commonwealth Foundation in 2006, he spent over a decade in the Caribbean, most notably as Managing Partner for the Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI), one of the region's sustainable development think tanks.
As the Commonwealth Foundation’s Deputy Director, Mr. Krishnarayan had oversight of the Foundation’s grants and programmes and helped build the organisation’s communications capacity. He led the Foundation’s coordination of civil society inputs to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings in 2007 (Kampala), 2009 (Port of Spain) and 2011 (Perth). He was also at the forefront of Commonwealth organisations’ work to re-engage with their counterparts in Zimbabwean civil society.
On announcing the appointment, Commonwealth Foundation Chair Madam Simone de Comarmond said: “I am very pleased that the Foundation now has Mr Krishnarayan at the helm. In him, we have a tried and tested leader, who understands the potential that this unique organisation has to offer in pursuit of the Commonwealth’s goals of development and democracy. I offer my full support to him and the staff of the Foundation as they take the organisation forward and into a new phase.”
The Commonwealth Foundation is an intergovernmental organisation guided by Commonwealth values that encourages citizens to act together, learn from each other and dialogue with government. Formed in 1965, it aims to strengthen civil society in the achievement of Commonwealth priorities including democracy, good governance, sustainable development and cultural diversity. Former Directors include Inoke Fotu Faletau (Tonga) and Humayun Khan (Pakistan).
Mr Krishnarayan said: "I am delighted to have been appointed to lead the Commonwealth Foundation. I believe that the irrepressible dynamism of civil society is central to the very future of the Commonwealth. The Foundation is uniquely placed to enable peoples’ organisations as they act together, learn from each other and express themselves in support of the Commonwealth’s goals."
He continued: "I am especially proud to be the first Trinidad and Tobago national to have been appointed to the office of Director of the Commonwealth Foundation. I was raised under the motto “Together we aspire, together we achieve.” I can think of no better strapline for the project we are about to embark on."
For enquiries, please contact Claire Turner, Communications Manager at the Commonwealth Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0) 20 7747 6522