Kavita Ramdas

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"Kavita N. Ramdas is director of the Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program and is a globally recognized advocate for gender equity and justice. Ramdas previously served as strategy advisor for MADRE, an international women’s rights organization. From 1996 to 2010, Ramdas served as the second president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women where she transformed it into the largest public foundation for women’s rights in the world. From 2012 to 2015, she led the Ford Foundation’s operations in South Asia and then was senior advisor to President Darren Walker on issues related to the foundation’s global strategy. Ramdas also founded a program on social entrepreneurship housed at Stanford University.

"She is a member of the Aspen Institute’s Henry Crown Fellows Program. Ramdas has served on numerous boards including those of Princeton University, Mount Holyoke College, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Ramdas currently serves on the Investment Committee of the C&A Foundation, and is a member of the governing boards for the Ploughshares Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She has appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers, PBS NewsHour, Democracy Now!, and CNN." [1]

Kavita N. Ramdas "has won numerous awards for her vision and advancement of an inclusive philanthropy in which donors and grantees are treated as equal partners. In 2005, Kavita received the Juliette Gordon Low Award for her significant contributions to advancing women’s human rights and for being exemplary role model for girls and women. In 2004, Financial Women's Association named Kavita Woman of the Year for the Public Sector; and Women and Philanthropy gave her the LEAD (Leadership for Equity and Diversity) Award for her championship and commitment to funding the global human rights of women and girls. KQED public television recognized her as a 2004 Bay Area Local Hero.

"She serves on the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, and the Board of Directors of the Rural Development Institute, Washington state. She is a member of the Advisory Council to the Ethical Globalization Initiative, a venture of Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She also serves on the Council of Advisors on Gender Equity to the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and the Women's Rights Prize of the Gruber Foundation.

"Before joining the Global Fund for Women, Kavita supported both domestic and international initiatives in economic development and population as a program officer at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a master's degree in international development and public policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a BA at Mount Holyoke College. Kavita was born and raised in India, and speaks Urdu, Hindi, English, German, French and Spanish.“ [1]

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  1. Leadership, Open Society Institute, accessed January 20, 2021.
  2. Advisors, African Women's Development Fund, accessed August 27, 2008.
  3. Program Advisory Panels Announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, accessed December 9, 2007.
  4. Room to Read Advisory Board, organizational web page, accessed June 6, 2013.
  5. American India Foundation India Trustee Board, organizational web page, accessed April 12, 2020.

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