Penny Abeywardena

penny Abeywardena_4

Penny Abeywardena is the Director of Girls & Women Integration at the Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan organization that convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. Penny joined CGI in 2009 to develop strategy highlighting and integrating the gender lens throughout the organization’s various platforms. She has since led the program’s evolution into one of CGI’s most successful efforts. Penny is responsible for the portfolio of CGI commitments focused on empowering girls & women worldwide, developing year-round programming, and integrating the gender lens throughout the CGI platform. She has notably led the growth of girls & women related commitments; advised multinational corporations, philanthropists, NGOs, and multilateral institutions to increase investments in gender-focused development initiatives; and increased the community of CGI members who are incorporating the gender lens in their work. Penny is a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Council on Gender and Development, a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a contributing author in the book “Women in the Global Economy: Leading Social Change.” In 2012 Penny was recognized by a newly launched UN summit, the Decide Now Act (DNA) Summit, as one of 101 Global Innovators for her work to put women’s rights on the global political agenda as well. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs