Penny Abeywardena

Commissioner for International Affairs, Mayor's Office, City of New York

Penny Abeywardena is New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs. As head of the Mayor's Office for International Affairs, she leads the City's global platform for promoting its goals for a more just and accessible society, showcasing the diversity of New Yorkers and sharing policies and best practices with cities and states around the world.

Since her appointment in September 2014, the International Affairs team has launched a series of initiatives focused on connecting New Yorkers and City agencies to the diplomatic community, as well as more effectively serving NYC's diplomatic corps, which is the largest in the world.

Prior to joining Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, Penny was the Director of Girls and Women Integration at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), a non-partisan organization that convened global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing problems.
She serves on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Development Corporation, and the Eastside Greenway and Park, the International Advisory Council of the International Peace Institute (IPI), the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization and is a Core Member of the United Nation’s SDG Strategy and Action Hub. In her personal time, Penny serves on 92Y’s Innovation Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of the Helm.

In 2017, Penny was named by the French American Foundation as a Young Leader. She is a World Economic Forum 2016 Young Global Leader, and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She was a Founding Member of Lincoln Center’s Global Exchange and has previously served on the World Bank's Advisory Council on Gender and Development, and the Boards of Directors of Sakhi for South Asian Women. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and completed her Master of International Affairs at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.