The Ford Foundation has announced the appointment of Elizabeth D. Knup as head of its office in China, based in Beijing.
Knup has led a distinguished career developing stronger ties between China and the rest of the world in the education, not-for-profit and business sectors. The early part of her career focused on strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations and working on expanding educational opportunities in China. Most recently, she served as chief representative of Pearson PLC, one of the world’s foremost education and publishing companies. Her work at Pearson expands on her experiences with Kamsky Associates, the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies and the National Committee on United States-China relations.
Knup has lived in China continuously for 15 years and is a member of the board of numerous nonprofits seeking to build the capacity of civil society in China and around the world. These include the Institute for Sustainable Communities, with programs in over 20 countries, including China; and the Capacity Building and Assessment Center (CBAC), in addition to an indigenous Chinese non-governmental organization with the aim of strengthening a network of NGOs. She formerly served on the Board of Trustees of the Lingnan Foundation, a supporter of education initiatives in southern China.
“Elizabeth is the ideal person to continue the Ford Foundation’s long legacy of working to build a robust, inclusive and equitable society,” said Darren Walker, Vice President for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the foundation. “We are thrilled that she will be joining us at this moment of transformation in China, when we see many new opportunities for advancing social change — to ensure all members of society can reach their full potential, contribute to society and have voice in the decisions that affect them.”
Knup has worked with organizations and individuals to ensure that all segments of Chinese society gain access to community resources and government services. Through her leadership experience, Knup has emphasized enhanced educational opportunities as a way to build and strengthen civil society.
“I am deeply honored to lead the Ford Foundation’s work in China and continue the strong legacy of advocating for social justice,” said Knup. “I am committed to working alongside the foundation’s grantees to build common understanding, enhance excellence and enable individuals to improve their lives.”
For more than 30 years, the Ford Foundation’s work in China has focused on helping Chinese society adapt to the challenges of balancing economic expansion and equity. As China experiences unprecedented growth, the country also confronts many new social challenges. The foundation is working with institutions and individuals who are on the frontlines of building a society that is not only more robust, but also more inclusive and equitable.
“Elizabeth’s appointment to lead our work in China continues the long-standing Ford Foundation tradition of attracting the finest people across the sector and around the world,” said Luis Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation.
Knup will begin her new position August 1, 2013. She was selected after a broad international search.