Expert Profile

Amb. Chitra Narayanan
Position(s) Former Ambassador of India to Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the Holy See
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Ambassador Chitra Narayanan is an Associate Fellow within the Global Fellowship Initiative of the GCSP. Chitra Narayanan is currently an independent 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, used her expertise as a facilitator, negotiator, consensus seeker, advisor, team player and mentor. With a 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 GCSP since 2014.

 Course Director for Executive Course on Creative Diplomacy,  2015, 2016 and 2017 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.

Speaker, Perspective on South East AsiaSwiss IT Leadership Forum 2016

Keynote speaker,  Region on the Risean outlook for South and South East AsiaGlobal Female

Leaders  Summit 2015, Berlin

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

Member, Advisory Board , Global Female Leaders  since 2016

Member, Swiss India Chamber of Commerce, Zurich


Regular Panelist since 2015 till today at the Horasis Global, China and India Meetings on diverse topics like Preparing for the next Disruptions, Managing the complexity of Asian Geopolitics, Geopolitics influence on business, Education for the new age,  Caring, consulting and forgiving for survivors of war and terrorism, Achieving gender parity.



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

Strategized 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.

Advises 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.


Defense and Aviation sector

Closely worked with GMR, a leading Indian infrastructure company for building of Sabiha Gökçen Airport, Istanbul, from tendering to completion.

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

During her tenure in early 90s in Embassy of India, Washington, as Counsellor for Political and Military Affairs, closely collaborated with State Department and DOD including licensing for dual use technologies.


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.

Specialized 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. Hands on experience in supervision of restoration, renovation and interior design of heritage buildings, in particular Rashtrapati Bhavan (Presidential Palace) in New Delhi.



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



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 Trustalongside 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


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.



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

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



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.


Chitra Narayanan is the eldest daughter of KR Narayanan, President of the Republic of India from1997 to 2002, and Usha Narayanan (née Ma Tint Tint)