Sixteen years after Carne Ross founded Independent Diplomat (ID), the world’s first non-profit diplomatic advisory group, Carne has decided to step down as its Executive Director effective 1 June 2020. He will be succeeded by Reza Afshar, ID’s Policy Director, who has played a key role at ID for over six years following a successful career as a British diplomat. Carne has agreed to stay on as a part-time Senior Advisor to ID for a further year to support the transition.
Carne created ID with a vision underpinned by a simple observation and a powerful belief: diplomacy routinely excludes those most affected by its outcomes, and those most affected must be at the negotiating table to participate in the diplomatic decisions that will determine their future. Whether the struggle for self-determination, the quest for accountability for war crimes, or the fight against climate change, Carne has steadfastly advised and championed democratic but marginalized countries and political groups to help them achieve their political goals through diplomacy. Carne’s vision has gained ever greater currency in the world of diplomacy and ID is in a strong position to thrive both financially and programmatically in its next chapter.
At ID, Reza has held a senior leadership position with responsibilities which have ranged from providing strategic oversight across all projects to developing key fundraising relationships and serving on the management committee. During Reza’s prior career in the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, he focused mainly on global crises and multilateral negotiations. In 2012, Reza was awarded an OBE by HM Queen Elizabeth II for his work as a UK negotiator on the UN Security Council. Follow Reza on Twitter.
“Carne is an authentic visionary and ID’s mission from its founding in 2004 to this day remains unique. He has created an agile and highly motivated team well positioned to take ID into the future. ID now has a global reputation in diplomacy and a record of extraordinary accomplishments, including in climate diplomacy and conflict resolution among others, a tribute to Carne’s passion and focus. I am delighted that Reza Afshar, another skilled and experienced diplomat, will take over as Executive Director. The board and I are confident that Reza has the passion and the commitment to ID’s mission and values to lead ID to even greater successes in the future.” – Neal Grenley, Independent Diplomat Board Chair
Carne, Reza and ID’s Board of Directors deeply appreciate the continued partnership of allied organizations, donors and supporting foundations as they prepare Independent Diplomat for a new chapter of impact and contributions to the world’s most complex challenges.
“I am very grateful to all those who contributed to ID’s accomplishments since its founding sixteen years ago. Its success is very much due to the dedication and commitment of its staff, supporters and clients, with whom it has been a privilege to work. Working with marginalized groups and governments around the world, from the Western Sahara to Syria and the Pacific islands, has only deepened my respect for their extraordinary skills and resilience. I am very glad that my successor will be Reza Afshar, who I know will do a terrific job. He is an exceptional strategist – the core skill that ID offers its clients – and he has highly relevant experience in diplomacy at the cutting edge, in the UN Security Council and other diplomatic forums. I will be cheering him and the organization on.” – Carne Ross, Founder of Independent Diplomat