IDRC welcomes new Chairperson, new and reappointed governors
Dr. Nyambi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a non-profit organization with a mission to create business solutions to poverty around the world. With a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, she has undertaken extensive research on capacity building, advancing gender equality in developing countries and innovation economies around the world. Prior to joining MEDA, she was Executive Vice President of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Dr. Nyambi’s professional experience includes strengthening business processes and mobilizing funding in support of grassroots movements, community impact and diversity in Africa, North America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East.
“We welcome the appointment of Dr. Dorothy Nyambi as Chairperson of IDRC’s Board of Governors and look forward to benefitting from her knowledge, leadership and experience. We equally welcome the reappointment of Gilles Rivard, Purnima Mane and Akwasi Aidoo as governors,” says IDRC Acting President Geneviève Leguerrier. “We wish to thank outgoing Chairperson Margaret Biggs, whose vision and dedication inspired IDRC’s global network of employees, partners and grantees.”
IDRC’s Board of Governors provides strategic direction, stewardship and oversight for IDRC. Appointments to the Board are made through the Government of Canada’s open, transparent and merit-based appointment process.
Biographical notes of Board appointees
Dr. Dorothy Nyambi
Dr. Dorothy Nyambi is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a non-profit organization with a mission to create business solutions to poverty around the world. Dorothy is a thought leader in international development, devoted to creating dynamic organizations that respect diversity, equity and inclusion and succeed in times of challenge and change. Dorothy has experience providing knowledge-based, strategic leadership for effective implementation of an organization’s mission and goals. With a 25-plus year career in the sector and applied governance experience, Dorothy’s work is founded on and informed by unique life experience and a commitment to authentic leadership.
With a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon, Dorothy has undertaken extensive research on capacity building, advancing gender equality in developing countries and innovation economies around the world. Prior to joining MEDA, she was Executive Vice President of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Dorothy's professional experience includes strengthening business processes and mobilizing funding in support of grassroots movements, community impact and diversity in Africa, North America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Passionate about gender equality and inclusion, Dorothy has been a leader and founding member of Gender Summit Africa (Cape Town 2015 and Kigali 2018); member of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) for the past 15 years; board director, Kigali Collaborative Research Centre (KCRC) - Carnegie Mellon University; and member of the Board Room Africa focused on mentoring and getting young African women into governance roles across the continent through selection, training and mentoring. She consistently demonstrates an ability to step forward and challenge the status quo, re-imagine and strengthen business processes, challenging old paradigms and programs in support of respectful human-centered design thinking.
Nurjehan has held senior leadership positions in legal and regulatory institutions and has a distinguished record of service as a leader, diplomat and volunteer.
Building on her legal career in the United Kingdom and Canada, Nurjehan served as Chair and CEO of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and then as Commissioner of the Public Service Commission of Canada. She also served as Advisor on Diversity to the Canada School of Public Service.
Between 2005 and 2019, Nurjehan served as Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) first to the Kyrgyz Republic and subsequently to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. As AKDN ambassador, Nurjehan worked in close collaboration with governments, international partners and civil society institutions.
Recognition for Nurjehan’s contributions to the public service and the advancement of women include receiving the Order of Canada and the Public Service of Canada Outstanding Achievement Award. In 2007, she received the UNIFEM Canada Award for “an innovative ability to bridge law and policy and for far-reaching effects of the guidelines impacting the lives of thousands of refugee women and girls.”
Gilles is a consultant and media analyst on international relations. He served in many senior positions in the Government of Canada. He was formerly Canada’s ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations and former ambassador of Canada to Haiti. He also served as senior advisor to Global Affairs Canada on UN peacekeeping operations. Gilles is an associate expert of the Canadian Research Institute on Humanitarian Crisis and Aid and he has sat on several boards, including the board of Oxfam Québec. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2014 he received the Operational Service Medal – Humanitas in recognition of his work as ambassador during and following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
Purnima is visiting professorial fellow at the Centre for Social Research in Health at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She is the former president and CEO of Pathfinder International, a global non-profit organization based in Boston that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights. She has served in a variety of senior leadership positions in United Nations organizations in New York and Geneva, including the United Nations Population Fund, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, the World Health Organization, and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Purnima also serves on several boards as director, including the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the MTV Staying Alive Foundation; she is one of the founding editors of the journal Culture, Health & Sexuality; and she serves on editorial advisory committees of journals such as the International Journal of Sexual Health, among others.
Purnima was a post-doctoral Fulbright fellow, a policy fellow with the Bellagio Center Residency Program of the Rockefeller Foundation, and a recipient of the International Institute of Education and Fulbright Foundation’s Global Changemaker Award. She holds a PhD, M Phil and MA in social work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, in Mumbai, India, and a BA in psychology from St. Xavier’s College, in Mumbai.
Akwasi is a senior fellow at the US-based Humanity United and he sits on the boards of Human Rights Watch and the Fund for Global Human Rights. He held several leadership positions at the Ford Foundation in New York and in West Africa, and he was the executive director of African grant-making foundation TrustAfrica. He is the former chair of the board of the Fund for Global Human Rights, the Resource Alliance, and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. He served on the boards of the Society for International Development and Oxfam America, among others. In 2015, he received the Africa Philanthropy Award in Tanzania.
Akwasi holds a PhD in medical sociology from the University of Connecticut and a BA Honours in sociology from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana.