Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship

Find out more about applying for the Rhodes Scholarship


02 July 2024

New Executive Director of the Atlantic Institute Announced

Lysa John has been named as the new Executive Director of the Atlantic Institute, following a high impact career at CIVICUS, Save the Children and the UN. She has been an advocate for equity and the power of international collaboration for over two decades.

Supporting the global network of Atlantic Fellows

The Atlantic Fellows programs are built on the idea that fairer, healthier and more inclusive societies require leaders with diverse perspectives to find solutions and learn from one another.  The Atlantic Institute, formed in 2016 in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, connects the seven Atlantic Fellows programs, building a catalytic global community of courageous leaders who address the systemic causes of inequity.

Today there are over 900 Atlantic Fellows across 80 countries. As Executive Director of the Atlantic Institute, Lysa will be based in Oxford, UK, and will provide ongoing support to the global community of Atlantic Fellows. The Atlantic Institute provides both Fellows and staff with the networks, architecture and resources to connect, learn and act together - both locally and globally.

Image of Lysa John

Lysa John

Lysa brings a rich international perspective to the Atlantic Institute, which she joins after serving as the Secretary General of the CIVICUS Alliance for five years. In that role, Lysa has championed human rights and international mobilisation and was responsible for progressing the strategic objectives of the Alliance and overseeing the work of its global Secretariat. She started her career working for grassroots organisations fighting to end urban poverty, and spearheaded large-scale campaigns calling for government accountability to the Millennium Development Goals. Before joining CIVICUS, she worked as Global Campaigns Director at Save the Children, and as Head of Outreach for the UN panel that drafted the blueprint for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lysa John commented: "Each of the Atlantic Fellows programs 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 Atlantic Institute promotes collaboration and shared approaches, connects the Atlantic Fellows program community to a broader network of equity-oriented initiatives, and raises global awareness of their crucial work. I am tremendously excited by the vision of the Institute and by the enormous potential demonstrated by the Fellows."

 “Lysa John brings extraordinary talents and experience to the leadership of the Atlantic Institute” said Christopher G. Oechsli, Chair of the Atlantic Institute Governing Board. “It was an extremely competitive global search, with candidates from across all regions and areas of Atlantic Fellows work. Lysa shares our community’s belief that when talented, passionately committed people come together to learn, share, and connect, they can advance fair opportunity, equity, and more inclusive societies. Having worked with everyone from Heads of State to grassroots activists, helping propagate shared visions across complex stakeholder ecosystems, Lysa has experienced first-hand what makes real change happen. She will join us at a promising and creative inflection point in the life of the Atlantic Institute and the growing community of Global Atlantic Fellows.”

Dr Elizabeth Kiss, Warden and CEO of the Rhodes Trust, remarked: “It is terrific to have Lysa John on board as we continue to bring to life the ambitious goals of the Atlantic Institute. The Rhodes Trust is thrilled to have the Atlantic Institute as a partnership program within its wider Network for Good. The Atlantic Fellows are courageous, compassionate, and collaborative thinkers and doers, who seek to bring lasting improvements to their communities and the world.  I am confident that Lysa will help them maximise their collective impact.”

For more on the work of the Atlantic Institute, the Atlantic Fellows programs and their future vision, please visit:

Share this article