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Maureen O’Neil Appointed Chair of the UNRISD Board

16 Nov 2011

Maureen O’Neil Appointed Chair of the UNRISD Board
UNRISD is delighted to announce that the Secretary-General of the United Nations has appointed Maureen O’Neil of Canada as Chair of the UNRISD Board. Ms O’Neil takes up the position immediately for a term of four years.

Ms. O’Neil is President of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (since September 2008). Previous positions include President of the International Development Research Centre, Interim President of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, President of the North-South Institute, and Deputy Minister of Citizenship for the Government of Ontario. In June 2011, Ms. O’Neil was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for public service, recognizing her contributions to international development, gender equality and human rights.

She has represented Canada on the UN Commission on the Status of Women and on OECD committees, and has been a member of the UN Committee for Development Policy. Ms. O’Neil has also been a member and/or Chair of numerous Boards, including the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Environment and Development, the Board of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, the Board of Directors of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Policy Advisory Group of the UK Department for International Development, and the Institute for Women, Law and Development.

In addition to her vast experience in these Canadian and international bodies, Ms. O’Neil brings earlier knowledge of working with UNRISD, having served on the Institute’s Board from 1989 to 1994, a time she has described as “an intellectually stimulating pleasure”.

Ms. O’Neil takes up the position of Chair at a significant moment for UNRISD. Her leadership of the Board will guide the Institute as it prepares to celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2013, and as it takes forward its agenda of research on Social Development in an Uncertain World. Her rich experience within government and policy making bodies will assist UNRISD in ensuring that its research on contemporary development challenges – whether arising from global crises, rising inequalities or a changing climate – is effectively translated into policies and practices that generate more equitable and inclusive development outcomes.

Ms. O’Neil will Chair an UNRISD Board comprising 10 eminent individuals: Bina Agarwal, Yesim Arat, Evelina Dagnino, Peter Brandt Evans, Rosalind Eyben, Huang Ping, Patricia Schulz, Annika Sundén, Julia Szalai and Zenebeworke Tadesse.

On learning of her appointment, Ms. O’Neil said “I am honoured to have been appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Chair the UNRISD Board. UNRISD has always put people at the centre of global policy research. Fifty years of excellent work by researchers from every corner of the world is a wonderful beginning for the next fifty. The struggle for human dignity and fairer societies needs ideas based on UNRISD’s solid evidence.”