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Amb. Chitra Narayanan

Position(s):

Former Ambassador of India to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Holy See

Chitra Narayanan is currently a Strategic Advisor for think tanks and business on a range of issues particularly regarding Asia, South East Asia, China, Turkey and corporate gender equality and diversity.

She is a former Ambassador of India, career diplomat, journalist, editor and publisher with a multi-faceted global perspective with extensive experience and familiarity with international high-level decision-making. In her leadership positions, she is able to use her expertise as a facilitator, negotiator, consensus seeker, advisor, team player and mentor. With wide-ranging experience in promoting commercial ties and advising joint ventures, she is a firm believer that innovation and creativity is the lifeblood of progress and profit.

The unusual family background of an Indian father and Burmese mother in diplomatic and public life provided an extensive international exposure from an early age.

 

Associate Fellow, Geneva Center for Security Policy since 2014.

Course Director for Executive Course on Creative Diplomacy, September 2015 and September 2016 at GCSP. This course teaches the practical application of an original theory and concept which segues into a leadership skill for the 21st century. The concept of Creative Diplomacy seeks to ignite and galvanize the bureaucratic mindset by acquiring new perspectives from different disciplines and sectors such as music, sport, design and finance.

Member, Advisory Board, Global Female Leaders

Member, Swiss India Chamber of Commerce, Zurich

Inaugural Speaker, Perspective on South East Asia, Swiss IT Leadership Forum 2016

Panelist, Horasis India Meeting, Cascais, Portugal  2016

Panelist, Horasis Global Meeting, Liverpool 2016

Participant, Horasis Asia Meeting, Bangkok 2016

Participant, Horasis China Meeting, Interlaken 2016

Keynote speaker,  Region on the Rise: An Outlook for South and South East Asia, Global Female Leaders Summit 2015, Berlin

Participant, Horasis India Meeting, Interlaken, Switzerland, July 2015

Panelist,  Horasis China Meeting, Cascais, Portugal, October 2015

Keynote Speaker, Time to Look East, Despite the Chinese Slowdown, Global Female Leaders Networking Lunch, Zurich, December 2015

 

Expertise

Professional diplomatic skills as a career diplomat from 1978 till 2013 with Ambassadorial assignments, spanning twelve years, to Sweden, Latvia, Turkey, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Holy See. As Head of Mission, responsibilities included strategic planning and overseeing financial, budgetary and human resources within strict Government of India regulations.

Strategised goals and methodology with emphasis on trade and commerce. This involved close collaboration with various Chambers of Commerce, addressing Boards, intensive meetings with Chairmen/Presidents/CEOs of multinationals and companies.

Advised companies on importance of cultural sensitivity and heritage issues to ensure smooth collaboration and execution of projects.

Raised funds for founding the Swedish India Business Council in Stockholm in 2004. Collaborated with the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm for the establishment of a waterways technology project in Kerala.

Aviation sector

Closely worked with GMR Infrastructure for building of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul, from tendering to completion.

Familiarity with sector through official visits to US air force establishments, Hindustan Aeronautical Laboratories HAL Bangalore, Airbus Toulouse, and Pilatus in Switzerland.

Hotel and Hospitality sector

Organized training courses on protocol and diplomatic hospitality for the Foreign Service Institute in collaboration with the Maurya Sheraton hotel, New Delhi.

Organized Indian Food Festivals with Taj Hotels in Swissotel Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir.

Addressed the Annual General Meeting 2011 of the Victoria-Jungfrau Collections.

Familiarity with international luxury hotels and Head of State hospitality in India, the Americas,  Asia and Europe.

Art, Design and Heritage

Keen interest in Contemporary Art, BaselWorld and Art Basel. Curated a variety of exhibitions;  Ethnological Museum in Rome on Indian costumes, Facets of India at the Nobel Museum Stockholm, and Small Scale Industry Machinery in Nairobi. Facilitated and raised funds for Nobel Museum Centenary exhibition in Bangalore and New Delhi. Promoted and coordinated Indian Tourism and Food Festivals such as the  two week Fêtes de Genève in 2011. Experience in restoration, renovation and interior design of heritage buildings, in particular Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) in New Delhi.

 

Education

Educated in Delhi University with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Political Science with specialization in Modern Chinese History and Vietnam.

 

Career

Began work experience as a journalist with Press Institute of India.

Founder Editor, and Publisher of The Book Review and currently a Trustee with The Book Review Literary Trust alongside co-founders.

Member of Indian Foreign Service from 1978 - 2012, holding positions in Indian Embassies in Rome, Nairobi, and Washington, D.C.  

Deputy Director, Foreign Service Institute 1988-91. Designed and executed nine-month

intensive training courses for three years of recruits to Indian Foreign Service. During this period trained and mentored over 40 young diplomats, many of whom are now ambassadors.

Fellow, Institute of Contemporary Studies, Nehru Museum and Library, New Delhi, 1995-2000.

Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia 2001-2005, to Turkey 2005-2008, to Switzerland, Liechtenstein 2008-2013 and the Holy See 2009-2013. 

 

Key Speaking Events

Sweden

Stockholm School of Economics, Lund University, Södertörn University, International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm, Board of Ax:son-Johnson Foundation, Swedish Trade Council, Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce, Swedish Civil Servants’ Association, Rotary Club Stockholm, Ethnographic Museum Society, Invest in Sweden Agency, Confederation of Indian Industries, CII.

Turkey

Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara University, Bilkent University

Turkish Association of Industry TUSIAD, India Turkish Business Council, Confederation of Indian Industries, CII

Switzerland

Swiss India Chamber of Commerce 2008, 2012, India Symposium, Zurich 2009,  Swiss -India Society, Basel, AGM of Victoria Jungfrau Collections 2011, India Focus, Locarno Film Festival 2011, Rietberg Museum 2012, Confederation of Indian Industries, CII, Geneva 2011, India-Talk 35 Bad Ragaz 2014.

St Gallen University 2014, Geneva Centre for Security Policy GCSP 2014, 2015.

Keynote Speaker on Time to look East, Despite the Chinese Slowdown, Global Female Leaders Networking Lunch, Zurich 2015.

Germany

Keynote presentation on Region on the Rise: An Outlook for South and South East Asia at the Global Female Leaders Summit 2015 , Berlin

Chitra Narayanan is the eldest daughter of KR Narayanan, President of the Republic of India from 1997 to 2002, and Usha Narayanan (née Ma Tint Tint)