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Inaugural Director of the Atlantic Institute Announced

Resource type: News

The Rhodes Trust | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

  • Dr Penelope Brook has been named as the inaugural Director of the Atlantic Institute, following a successful career at the World Bank Group including as Ombudsman and as Country Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
  • Earlier this year the Rhodes Trust joined with The Atlantic Philanthropies in a £75m partnership to support its new international network of Atlantic Fellows, including the establishment of an Atlantic Institute at Rhodes House in Oxford, as well as support for the Rhodes Scholarships.

Supporting the global network of Atlantic Fellows

Rhodes House, Oxford
Rhodes House, Oxford

The £75 million partnership, announced earlier this year between the Rhodes Trust and The Atlantic Philanthropies, a limited-life global foundation established by entrepreneur Charles F. Feeney, established the Atlantic Institute to help build central convening and knowledge-sharing hub for the global network of Atlantic Fellows. Dynamic, accomplished leaders and thinkers, Atlantic Fellows are researchers, teachers, health professionals, activists, scholars, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, government officials and others dedicated to tackling global challenges to health, equity, opportunity and inclusion.  As Director of the Atlantic Institute, Dr Brook will provide ongoing support to the global community of Atlantic Fellows through convenings, training, and resources that will complement and facilitate collaboration across the fellows programs.

Dr Penelope Brook
Dr Penelope Brook

Dr Brook brings over three decades of deep engagement in public policy and socio-economic inclusion to the Atlantic Institute. She joins from the World Bank, where she has most recently served as Ombudsman, helping manage and resolve conflict within the organization and advance staff and leadership’s commitment and adherence to its core values. A central theme of her work at the Bank – in Africa, South and East Asia and Latin America – has been in helping to expand the use of results-based approaches to improving services and opportunities for the most vulnerable in urban and remote settings. This approach has proved effective in meeting challenges as diverse as reducing infant mortality and expanding rural access to clean sources of household energy. She has also been an active part of the World Bank’s development of diagnostic tools that shine light on the costs and red tape that impede small business creation and growth, and on the differential regulatory and legal impediments faced by women in developing a business or taking a job. These projects have focused governments’ attention on improving earning opportunities; in the last two years, for example, governments in 65 countries have reduced barriers to women’s participation in economic activities.  Earlier in her career, Dr Brook worked in New Zealand as an economist in the public and the private sectors. She holds an MA in Economics from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, of which she is a Distinguished Alumna, and a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

Dr Brook commented: “Each of the Atlantic Fellows programmes offers an extraordinary opportunity to equip emerging leaders with the skills and experiences required to make real change in their home countries, and the world. The core idea behind the Atlantic Fellows programmes and the Atlantic Institute, that talented, passionate people who work and learn within and across a strong community can achieve exponentially more than they can on their own, is compelling.  I am tremendously excited by, and committed to, playing my part to build a global Atlantic Institute that helps make that happen, and to ensure that Atlantic Fellows have all the opportunities needed to become a connected community of world changers.”

Penelope Brook brings a multiplicity of spot-on talents and experiences to the leadership of the new Atlantic Institute,said Christopher G. Oechsli, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Atlantic Philanthropies. “Most importantly, Penelope exemplifies and shares the values, ethos and purpose of the Atlantic fellowships – that talented, passionately committed people can, together, advance fair opportunity, equity, and more inclusive societies. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated the kind of critical thinking, commitment to serving those who have been systemically disadvantaged, and ethical leadership we expect to be the hallmarks of an Atlantic Fellow.  Working with governments, policymakers, and social change leaders, she has seen what makes real change happen and how the barriers to change can be overcome.  We’re excited that she has accepted this central role and we are eager to get started on building the Atlantic Institute.”

Charles Conn, Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust remarked: “It is terrific to have Penelope Brook on board as we start to bring to life the ambitious vision of the Atlantic Institute. The Rhodes Trust has long been known for the outstanding calibre of its Rhodes Scholars, and we look forward to working with the global community of Atlantic Fellows in order to maximise their reach and impact. I know Penelope will be focused on the collective problem solving this inspiring group of individuals will be able to achieve together.”

Connecting Atlantic Fellows around the world, the Atlantic Institute maximises their impact in addressing persistent challenges to societies locally and globally. Four Atlantic Fellows programmes – at the Global Brain Health Institute, the Health Equity Initiative in Southeast Asia, the International Inequalities Institute, and the Social Equity Program have already been announced.  Several other Atlantic Fellows programmes will be announced in the coming months. The complete network of all Atlantic Fellows programmes and the new Atlantic Institute will represent an investment of over £400 million, making it The Atlantic Philanthropies’ largest in its 35 year history.

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Atlantic Fellows, Atlantic Institute