Kevin Watkins, one of the world’s leading thinkers on international development, has been appointed Chief Executive of Save the Children UK.

Kevin Watkins, Director of the Overseas Development Institute and Visiting Professor at LSE

Dr Kevin Watkins

He will take up his position on the 28th September.

Kevin joins Save the Children after a three-year term as the Executive Director of the influential UK think tank, the Overseas Development Institute.

Prior to this, his 30 year career has spanned the prestigious Brookings Institution in Washington, the United Nations and Oxfam.

He said: “Almost one-hundred years ago Save the Children’s founder called on governments around the world to provide children with ‘the best they have to give.’ The mission she started is now more urgent than ever.

“While there have been major gains over the past 15 years, we live in a world witnessing unprecedented levels of violence against children trapped in conflict, in which 16,000 avoidable child deaths happen every day, and millions of children are denied opportunities for education.

“We cannot turn our backs on these children. And we cannot ignore the failures of protection that leave so many children living in fear, or the inequalities that destroy so much potential.

“I’m joining Save the Children because I believe in the organisation’s mission, its values and the commitment of its staff – and because I’m passionate about the cause it champions.”

As Executive Director of ODI, Kevin Watkins has built the think tank’s profile and influence, placing the organisation at the forefront of global debates on international development. During a seven year spell in the United Nations from 2003, he was lead author of ground-breaking reports on education, global poverty and climate change.

Before joining the UN, he worked for 13 years at Oxfam, playing a leading role in the major campaigns on debt relief, aid, trade and education.

Kevin Watkins is a Visiting Professor of International development at the London School of Economics.

Peter Bennett-Jones, the chairman of Save the Children UK, said “The world has made huge progress in recent years, but still more than five million children die each year before they reach their fifth birthday. These are children the world chooses to forget, discriminated against because of who or where they are.

“Kevin brings enormous experience and expertise, and will make a huge contribution to realising our goal to reach the most deprived and marginalised children.”


The full text of this release can be found on the Save the Children website.