Natalie Samarasinghe is Executive Director of the United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK), where she has worked since 2006. She is the first woman to hold this role.
In this capacity, Natalie works closely with UNA-UK's Board of Trustees on the Association's strategy and policy positioning. She provides analysis on international relations and institutions, and leads the UNA-UK team in its campaigning, advocacy, outreach, fundraising and education activities. She speaks and writes regularly on UN issues, and has overall responsibility for UNA-UK's profile and impact.
Natalie has authored or edited a number of publications for UNA-UK and external outlets. She serves as editor-at-large for the Association's flagship magazine, and as an editor for WITAN Media, producing publications on international development, climate change and on peace and security. In 2018, she contributed a chapter on human rights norms and machinery to the Oxford Handbook on the United Nations. 2015, she completed an eight-volume compendium of articles on the United Nations for SAGE Publications, co-edited with Sam Daws. She has also partnered with the UK National Commission for UNESCO on UN teaching materials.
Prior to joining UNA-UK, Natalie worked in various roles in the public, private and education sectors, including for the University of Oxford. She is a trustee of the Association for Citizenship Teaching, a member of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of UNAs, a member of the Steering Committee for the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect and an advisor to the Board of the Sri Lanka Campaign. In 2013, she co-founded the 1 for 7 Billion campaign, which seeks a fair, open and inclusive process to select the UN Secretary-General. In 2018, her submission was one of three to be awarded the Global Challenges Foundation 'New Shape Prize' to reshape global governance.
She has degrees in human rights and modern history from the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics.