Commonwealth Secretary-General appoints three eminent women as special envoys

24 January 2024
Professor Manahel Thabet, Ambassador Amina Mohamed and Dame Carol Black

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, has announced the appointment of three eminent leaders as her special envoys.

Image above (left to right):  Professor Manahel Thabet, Ambassador Amina Mohamed and Dame Carol Black.

Their roles will include championing the Commonwealth’s values and principles around the world.

Working with the Commonwealth Secretariat and key partners, each envoy will be responsible for supporting the 56 member countries on a key issue that is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Secretary-General’s Special Envoys

Renowned scientist, Professor Manahel Thabet, has been appointed as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Science and Technology. She brings to the role a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of harnessing technology to boost progress on SDGs, especially on targets related to technology, research and innovation.

Professor Thabet is frequently ranked among the people with the highest IQs. Among other accolades, she was named one of the brightest minds of 2023 by the London Journal and was awarded by the World Genius Directory as the Genius of the Year for Asia in 2013.

Ambassador Amina Mohamed, former Kenyan cabinet secretary, takes on the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sport, Enterprise and Development. In her role, she will provide strategic directions to mobilise support and rally leadership for SDG targets related to sport, development and economic growth. Ms Mohamed will also contribute to various Commonwealth gatherings focused on sport, including ministerial meetings.

Professor Dame Carol Black, Chair of the British Library and Chair of the Centre for Ageing Better, assumes the role of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ageing Well. Drawing on decades of experience, she will offer guidance to countries and partners on safeguarding and promoting the rights of older people in the implementation of SDGs.

Earlier this month, Professor Dame Carol Black was awarded the Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the New Year’s Honours List 2024. She is the first female doctor to be made a Dame Grand Cross and one of fewer than 80 women to receive this honour. 

Promoting Commonwealth values

Speaking on the appointments, the Secretary-General thanked the new envoys for agreeing to promote the Commonwealth values, which she described as integral to the delivery of the SDGs.

She said:

“With only six years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, it is clear that, despite all efforts, we are not on track. There is a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.

“I am confident that the relentless drive, exceptional talent and considerable experience of these special envoys will help us fill that gap more swiftly and effectively.

“Together with their support, we will now provide more comprehensive assistance to our 56 member countries as they accelerate efforts to achieve the SDGs and transform the lives of the 2.5 billion people who proudly call the Commonwealth their home.”

The newly appointed envoys join the ranks of Justin Mundy OBE (Special Envoy on Climate Change), Professor Prajapati Trivedi (Special Envoy for SDG Implementation), Richard Sezibera (Special Envoy for Health and Education), and Anne Wafula Strike MBE (Champion for Equality in Sports), who were announced in 2020.


Media contact

  • Charmaine Wright  Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6242  |  E-mail