Kavita Ramdas

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Kavita Nandini Ramdas
Kavita N. Ramdas World Economic Forum 2013.jpg
Ramdas at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in 2013
BornSeptember 22
NationalityIndian American
Alma materPrinceton University (MPA '88);
Mount Holyoke College (BA '85)
Occupationformer President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women

Kavita Nandini Ramdas (born 1963)[1] is a globally recognized advocate for gender equity and justice.

Previously, she was the director of the Open Society Foundations’ Women's Rights Program and the senior advisor to the Ford Foundation's president, Darren Walker.[2] She assumed the position in 2015 after serving for 3 years as Ford's India country representative, representing the office in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.[3] Prior to that, she was executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.[4] Kavita is best known for her contribution to feminist philanthropy as former president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women.[5]

Background and affiliations[edit]

Kavita Ramdas is the daughter of Lalita Ramdas and Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, former Head of the Indian Navy.[6][7]

Kavita Ramdas was born in Delhi, India and grew up in Mumbai, Delhi, London, Rangoon, and Bonn.[8] She attended high school at the Nikolaus Cusanus Gymnasium in Bad Godesberg, Bonn, Germany; the Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, and graduated from Springdales School, New Delhi, in 1980. She studied Political Science at Hindu College, University of Delhi for two years until 1982. In 1983, she was awarded a scholarship to Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, where she received her B.A. in international relations in 1985 and her M.P.A. in international development and public policy studies from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1988.[9]

In 1990 Ramdas married Zulfiqar Ahmad, a peace advocate, whom she had met in college. Zulfiqar is the nephew of the Pakistani academic and anti-war activist, Eqbal Ahmed, one of the Harrisburg Seven. Given her father's stature as a senior naval officer, there was speculation that their relationship could compromise India's national security.[6]

Ramdas is a former member of the Global Development Program Advisory Panel to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and serves on the Board of Trustees at Princeton University, on the Council of Advisors on Gender Equity to the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and on the Advisory Council to the Asian University for Women and the African Women Millennium Initiative on Poverty and Human Rights.[10] She is a member of the Henry Crown Fellow's Program of the Aspen Institute and previously served as a board member for the Women's Funding Network.

Work at the Global Fund for Women[edit]

Kavita Ramdas was the President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women from 1996 until 2010. During Ramdas’ tenure, the Global Fund for Women assets grew from $6 million to $21 million.[11] Grantmaking increased to $8 million per year, and the number of countries in which the Global Fund for Women made grants nearly tripled to over 160 countries.[11] Ramdas also oversaw the Global Fund for Women's first endowment campaign and the creation of the Now or Never Fund to ensure women's participation on critical international issues.[11]

Ramdas also served in advisory and/or management roles at MADRE,[12][13] the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Stanford University Program on Social Entrepreneurship.[14]

In 2018 Ramdas was named director of Women's Rights Programs for the Open Society Foundations.

Honors and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Soul sisters". India Today. 8 April 2011.
  2. ^ "Kavita N. Ramdas; Senior Advisor, Global Strategy". Ford Foundation. Ford Foundation. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Ford Foundation Appoints Kavita N. Ramdas as Representative in New Delhi". Archived from the original on 24 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Kavita Ramdas - FSI Stanford". Kavita Ramdas, FSI.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 June 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)Global Fund for Women Web site
  6. ^ a b Curiel, Jonathan (10 November 2002). "A Woman's Work ... / India native Kavita Ramdas spins her privileged background into gold for underprivileged women at S.F.'s Global Fund for Women". SFGate. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  7. ^ BJP. "Press : Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi on Aam Aadmi Party". www.bjp.org. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  8. ^ [1]SF Gate news article
  9. ^ "Thinking Big--and Small: Kavita Ramdas". Forbes. 14 November 2008.
  10. ^ Kavita N. Ramdas Senior Advisor, Former President and Chief Executive Officer Archived 2009-06-14 at the Wayback Machine © 2010 Global Fund for Women
  11. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)Global Fund for Women Web site
  12. ^ "MADRE - Global women's rights". MADRE. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  13. ^ "MADRE Announces New Strategy Advisor". MADRE. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Standford Social Entrepreneurship". Stanford University Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Retrieved 8 July 2021.
  15. ^ "Welcome to IndiaWest.com". 13 July 2011. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  16. ^ Tonya Garcia; Polya Lesova; Josie Swindler; Kathryn Tuggle (1 December 2006). "Class of '07: The Fast Company/Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award Winners". Fast Company. Retrieved 21 November 2011.

External links[edit]