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August 23, 2019

ActionAid USA is pleased to welcome Niranjali Amerasinghe as our new Executive Director. 

Niranjali joins ActionAid USA from the World Resources Institute, where she served as Senior Associate in the Sustainable Finance Center, leading the Center’s policy work on international climate finance and the Green Climate Fund. She also worked to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to use climate finance effectively and ensure good outcomes for people and the environment.

“At a moment where ActionAid USA’s work is urgently needed to confront growing poverty and exclusion worldwide, we are grateful to welcome Niranjali’s leadership. She brings a depth of knowledge, familiarity with social movements and policy spaces that are vital to our work, and a vision to propel the organization forward. We look forward to the positive impacts she will generate and to working together through ActionAid USA to achieve rights and justice,” said Diana Duarte, ActionAid USA Board Chair.

Prior to joining WRI, Niranjali directed the Climate & Energy Program at the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL). She has worked at the intersection of climate change and human rights, and has extensive experience with international climate negotiations, forest governance, and accountability. Niranjali also helped drive the development of legal strategies to shift finance away from fossil fuel investments.

Niranjali has an LL.M in International and Comparative Law from the George Washington University Law School, and an LL.B from the University of Bristol. She has been quoted in The Economist, Reuters, The Guardian, Scientific American and has also appeared on the BBC’s The Conversation. She was born and raised in Sri Lanka, where her parents’ work on water, health, and environment inspired her own career. She is also trained in classical music and is an avid gardener. 

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the incredible team at ActionAid USA in the fight to end poverty and injustice. Growing up in Sri Lanka, I saw the power of community in bringing about positive change and the strength of local people working together to solve existential challenges. This has always inspired me to stay in this work. Now more than ever, we must protect the rights of marginalized people living in poverty to determine their own destinies,” Niranjali shared.    

Niranjali joins ActionAid USA at a critical time when it is clearer than ever that the challenges of international economic injustice, human rights, and climate change cannot be separated. It is also clear that the role of the United States in the world is changing rapidly. Niranjali brings an important global perspective and strategic vision for ActionAid USA that will be essential for us to navigate quickly evolving geopolitical realities and achieve the impacts we seek.

Niranjali will begin in the position on September 16, 2019.