Ambassador Richard Bernal flying Jamaican flag at World Bank

Ambassador Richard Bernal flying Jamaican flag at World Bank

Thursday, March 05, 2015

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THE World Bank this week announced the creation of a six-member External Advisory Panel for Diversity and Inclusion whose membership includes Jamaica's Dr Richard Bernal, former ambassador to the United States.

The panel of experts will act as a conduit between the World Bank Group and the global community, serve as a sounding board, and advise its President Jim Yong Kim and his senior management team on matters relating to diversity and inclusion.

A study of the diversity and inclusiveness of the World Bank Group's workforce -- an organisational review of external best practices -- found that the institution "should explore new ways to become more diverse and could benefit from an outside perspective", the announcement said. The World Bank Group, in selecting members of its first External Advisory Panel, "sought leaders who had demonstrated success in both diversity and inclusion in the workplace".

Jamaica's Richard Bernal is the current Counsellor for Jamaica at the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). His fellow experts are: Elizabeth Adu, former World Bank Group director and deputy general counsel; Julius Coles, director of the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership, Morehouse College; Indra K Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer, PEPSICO; Paula Yacoubian, CEO of Integrated Communications and Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren, Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University

"These individuals are known for their commitment and contributions to diversity and inclusion, and the transformational impact they have had in their organisations and/or the broader community. In announcing the new initiative. I look forward to the panel's engagement with us as we build an even more diverse and inclusive workplace. These principles must be embedded into all that we do. For us to provide the best development solutions to our clients and thus be the best place to work in development, I'm sure we'll benefit from the richness of perspectives and ideas of these leaders...

"As a global organisation with staff from more than 170 countries, the World Bank Group is committed to fostering and strengthening diversity and inclusion in its work and workplace," the announcement said.

Ambassador Bernal, a professional economist with over 40 years of experience, was educated at the University of the West Indies, University of Pennsylvania, New School for Social Research and the School for Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University. He holds the degrees of BSc, MA, PhD (Economics), and MIPP (International Public Policy).

He has served as director-general of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) with responsibility for trade negotiations for the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Cuba and the Dominican Republic. He was principal negotiator for Forum of Caribbean States (CARIFORUM) in the negotiation of European Union Economic Partnership Agreement. Ambassador Bernal has been involved in numerous negotiations on behalf of Jamaica and Caricom, including agreements on the World Trade Organisation, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), investment, intellectual property rights, textiles and apparel, trade, debt, and loans from multilateral financial institutions (IMF, World Bank, and IDB).

His most high-profile position was as Jamaica's Ambassador to the US and permanent representative to the Organisation of American States from 1991 to 2001, during which time testified to several Committees of the US Congress and the US International Trade Commission on issues of concern to the Caribbean.

Previous to his diplomatic posting, he worked in the Bank of Jamaica, the Planning Institute/Agency of Jamaica and as advisor to the Minister of Finance on external debt management and stabilisation and adjustment policy.

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