East-West Center Welcomes Ambassador Karena Lyons as New Vice President


HONOLULU (May 30, 2019) -- The East-West Center is pleased to welcome Ambassador Karena Lyons, the former New Zealand Ambassador to the nations of Micronesia and Consul General for Hawai‘i, as the Center’s new Vice President, Executive Director of Research, and Director (designate) of the Pacific Islands Development Program.

Ambassador Lyons, who joined the Center on May 29, will participate in the overall strategic and administrative leadership of the Center, as well as heading up EWC’s research division and cross-departmental Pacific Islands Initiative.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Ambassador Lyons join our leadership team. She brings a wealth of contacts and experience from working closely with senior officials across a variety of sectors in international environments, especially in the Pacific,” said Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke, East-West Center President. “We are delighted to welcome her to the Center and look forward to her guidance and leadership in many programs, activities, and initiatives.”

“I am excited to join the East-West Center’s ‘ohana at such an interesting inflection point in our region’s history,” Lyons said. “Changing geopolitical dynamics in the Pacific are creating unique opportunities for the Center and reinforcing the importance of EWC’s role as a nexus between East and West. From my interactions so far, it’s clear that the Center’s people are its best asset. I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and drive EWC’s work as our region’s premier research and capacity-building institution.”

Before joining the Center, Lyons was New Zealand’s Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, residing in Hawai’i where she was Consul General to the State of Hawai‘i and Envoy to the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. Previously, she served as the Foreign Policy Advisor to the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs; as Strategist and Negotiator on the United Nations Security Council; and as a faculty member at the University of Auckland School of Law. She is a Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Auckland and the Freie Universität, Berlin, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Politics) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Auckland.