The Ford Foundation has announced the appointment of Kavita N. Ramdas as Representative in its New Delhi office, serving India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Ramdas will assume the leadership from Steven Solnick, Representative since 2008, who was recently named the President of Warren Wilson College. Founded in 1952, the New Delhi office has the distinction of being the foundation’s first office outside of the United States and has cultivated a rich history of empowering the citizens of India and the region.
“Kavita has proven to be a respected leader in the fields of women’s human rights, social justice philanthropy and international development,” said Pablo J. Farías, the foundation’s Vice President of Economic Opportunity and Assets. “Her deep knowledge and understanding of the critical challenges in the region will be essential in continuing the groundbreaking work of the Ford Foundation over the last sixty years.”
Ramdas previously served as the Executive Director of Ripples to Waves, a program at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University focusing on social entrepreneurship and development. Prior to that, she was a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law and at the Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society. During her tenure at the Global Fund for Women, where she served as President and CEO from 1996 to 2010, the assets of the fund increased from $3 million to $20 million while the number of countries that received grants tripled.
“I am honored by this opportunity to advance social justice and democracy in South Asia,” said Ramdas. “The challenges facing India and its neighboring countries at this time of rapid transformation offer a unique opportunity to build on the Ford Foundation’s long history of partnership with civil society, government and the private sector. I look forward to working together with my colleagues in the region and around the world to achieve the foundation’s vision of a more just and sustainable world.”
Currently, Ramdas serves as a Trustee of Princeton University, Mount Holyoke College and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and serves on the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the African Women’s Development Fund USA. She also chairs the Women in Public Service Initiative, a joint effort by the U.S. State Department and an alliance of women’s colleges. Ramdas is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and chairs the expert working group of the Council of Global Leaders for Reproductive Health.
Ramdas received academic training at Delhi University. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs with a focus on International Development from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a B.A. in Politics and International Relations from Mount Holyoke College.