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Ms de Comarmond to head Commonwealth Foundation

30.09.2008

Former government minister, Simone de Comarmomd will as from next year ser ve as the chairperson of the Commonwealth Foundation, an intergovernmental body of the Commonwealth mandated to work with civil society organizations.

Ms de Commarmond who will succeed Professor Guido de Marco of Malta, will takeover the helm of the organization on January 1st next year.

She was chosen by the Foundation's Board of Directors by consensus at a specially convened meeting in Malborough House, London, yesterday.

Commonwealth secretary-general Kamalesh Sharma commended Ms de Comarmond on her selection by saying that she has " a wealth of experience in public life" both in Seychelles and internationally and that he was "pleased that she will be able to bring this to bear in furthering the important work of the Foundation in advancing Commonwealth civil society, and its own role in promoting democracy, sustainable development and inter-cultural understanding across the Commonwealth.

" For his part, the Director of the Commonwealth Foundation, Dr Mark Collins said that they "look forward to working with Ms de Commarmond whose international experience will greatly add to our work and impact."

When informed of her election, Ms de Comarmond said: "I very much look forward to being of service to the Foundation, which is a uniquely valuable organization striving on behalf of Commonwealth governments to strengthen civil society and professional organizations in all walks of life.

There has never been a more important time for citizens to engage closely with their governments in addressing social, economic and environmental challenges."

Ms de Comarmond is not new to the Commonwealth as back in 1994 she was part of the working team which set up the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) which she served from 1995 to 1998 as a founding member of its Board of directors.

She was also the local focal point of the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation in her capacity as head of the public service.

Also on the international scene she was instrumental in getting Seychelles elected on the Executive Board of UNESCO as well as the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organization.

She was herself elected chairperson of the IOTO (Indian Ocean Tourism Organisation) from 2000 for three years.

As for her civil society experience, Ms de Comarmond is since 2005 chairperson of FAWE (Forum of the African Women Educationlists) which is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

As a founding member of this organisation, whose mission is to promote girls' education in Africa, she played a leading role in setting up its national chapter, SAWOP (Seychelles Association of Women Professionals).

A well-travelled person Ms de Comarmond, 54, has served the government of Seychelles for31 years.

Her long spell in the public service culminated in her appointment as government minister in 1989 after she had previously served as Permanent Secretary and Secretary of State in the President's Office.

During her 14 years as minister, Ms de Comarmond, who is also a member of the Central Committee of the ruling party SPPF, held the portfolios of Tourism and Transport and Education.

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