Voices of The Project: Kanni Wignaraja, UN Resident Coordinator of Zambia

The Women in Public Service Project has been privileged to have the support of many inspirational women leaders from around the world. We are excited to profile members of our Institute Planning Committee and hear their vision for the Project. Kanni Wignaraja, UN Resident Coordinator of Zambia, is one of the outstanding individuals who have helped shape The Women in Public Service Project.



In speaking about the benefits of attending the upcoming Summer Institute at Wellesley College, Kanni expressed that it will “give one an opportunity to open up to new learning as events unfold, it is a space to realize that many around the world face the same excitements and the same challenges, and it affords the opportunity for interaction with women leaders that will connect you to a lifelong network of experience sharing, trust and friendship.” Kanni hopes that The Women in Public Service Project “goes from this initial phase to scaling up across countries and institutions in time.”

About Kanni

Kanni Wignaraja was appointed UN Resident Coordinator of Zambia in August 2010. Prior to this assignment, Kanni was a Director in UNDP’s Bureau for Development Policy in New York. She is an economist by training, and has served with the United Nations for the past twenty years, both at headquarters and in the field, serving also as Deputy Representative in Vietnam; Chief of Regional Programmes in the Bureau for Asia-Pacific, New York; and Policy and Evaluation Officer with the UN Volunteers in Geneva.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Kanni worked as a consultant with the Ford Foundation in New York, and with the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. She has contributed to numerous regional and national development programmes, articles and conferences in the areas of public policy and public sector reform, institutional development, leadership skills, HIV/AIDS and human rights.

Kanni holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (in Economics) from Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, and a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from Princeton University.

She is an avid sports fan, and was awarded varsity colors in field hockey and badminton. She is married with two children.