Shridath Ramphal

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Sir Shridath Surendranath "Sonny" Ramphal GCMG AC ONZ OE OM OCC QC (born 3 October 1928) served as the second Commonwealth Secretary-General from 1975 to 1990. He previously served as the Foreign Minister of Guyana, from 1972 to 1975 and Assistant Attorney General of the West Indies Federation from 1958 to 1962.


Ramphal was born in New Amsterdam, British Guiana, to an Indo-Guyanese family. He was educated at King's College London and at Harvard Law School.

He worked as the Chancellor of the University of Warwick from 1989 to 2002, at the University of the West Indies until 2003, and also served as Chancellor of the University of Guyana.

During Ramphal's time as Commonwealth Secretary-General, the United Kingdom represented by Margaret Thatcher was found to be in a minority of one on the issue of economic sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

With Ingvar Carlsson, he was in 1995 one of the co-chairs of the Commission on Global Governance, which reported on issues of international development, international security, globalization and global governance.

Family life[edit]

Ramphal has two daughters, Susan and Amanda, and two sons, Ian and Mark.

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Inseparable Humanity: An Anthology of Reflections (Hansib, 1988)
  • Triumph for UNCLOS: The Guyana-suriname Maritime Arbitration (Hansib, 2008)
  • Caribbean Challenges: Sir Shridath Ramphal's Collected Counsel (Hansib, 2012)

Honours and awards[edit]

Sir Shridath was appointed a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG) in the 1966 Birthday Honours list (dated to 25 May of that year).[1] He was knighted in the 1970 New Year Honours list, and invested with his knighthood by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 3 February.[2][3] He was appointed a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) in 1990.[4]

On 26 February 1982, Sir Shridath was appointed an honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).[5]On 6 February 1990, Ramphal was the nineteenth appointee to The Order of New Zealand,[6] New Zealand's highest civil honour. He was decorated as a Member of the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC) in the first conferment in 1992.[7] In May 2006 Ramphal was appointed an Honorary Fellow of Royal Society of Arts. He is a Vice-President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. The Ramphal Building at the University of Warwick was named in his honour.

Further reading[edit]

  • Richard Bourne, Shridath Ramphal: The Commonwealth and the World (Hansib, 2009)


  1. ^ "London Gazette, 3 June 1966". 1966-06-03. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  2. ^ "London Gazette, 30 December 1969". 1969-12-30. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  3. ^ "London Gazette, 6 February 1970". 1970-02-06. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  4. ^ "The Barbados Advocate". Barbados Advocate. 2011-10-22. Retrieved 2014-07-19. 
  5. ^ Australia: It's an Honour
  6. ^ "Honours and Awards" (15 February 1990) 23 New Zealand Gazette 445 at 446.
  7. ^ Biographical sketch

External links[edit]

  • The Ramphal Institute - Official website for the continuation of the work of Sir Shridath Ramphal: promoting good governance, economic development and social justice around the world.
Political offices
Preceded by
Arnold Smith
Secretary-General for the Commonwealth
Succeeded by
Chief Emeka Anyaoku
Academic offices
Preceded by
Baron Scarman
Chancellor of the University of Warwick
Succeeded by
Nick Scheele