Press Releases

Julia Bunting Named President of the Population Council

The Population Council’s Board of Trustees has selected Julia Bunting as the Council’s next president. Currently, Ms. Bunting heads the Programmes and Technical Division of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). She will assume the role of Council president in March 2015.

“For more than 60 years, the Population Council has changed the way the world thinks about important health and development issues. Julia’s leadership skills, tremendous contributions to our field, and deep knowledge of the issues that are central to the Council’s mission make her an outstanding choice to lead this great organization,” said Mark Walker, chairman of the Council’s Board of Trustees.

Ms. Bunting’s tireless commitment to the health and well-being of women, their families, and communities and her strategic approach to policy change have had significant global impact. She is best known for her path-breaking work on reproductive and maternal health during her 12-year tenure at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), where she was responsible for overseeing the UK government’s international development policy on HIV and AIDS; maternal, newborn, and child health; sexual and reproductive health and rights; and population.

She was a lead catalyst of the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, which brought together the UK government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNFPA, USAID, national governments, donors, civil society, the private sector, and the research and development community to support the rights of women and girls to decide, freely and for themselves, whether and when to have children and how many they wish to have. At the Summit, more than 20 governments made commitments, and donors pledged an additional $2.6 billion to enable 120 million more women and girls to use contraceptives by 2020.

Ms. Bunting began her career as a demographer and statistician in the UK government, initially on domestic issues before moving to DFID in 2000. She worked on DFID’s International Statistical Capacity Building Program, collaborating with partners including UN agencies, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to improve the analysis and use of data for decision-making—both at the national level and globally. She spent two years in South Africa working with southern African governments to develop robust indicators for monitoring progress toward national development plans and poverty-reduction strategies.

Over the last decade Ms. Bunting has served on the boards of several global health partnerships, including the Health Metrics Network, the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, and the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition (RHSC); she served as Chair of the RHSC for four years until October 2013.

In June 2013, Ms. Bunting was awarded the honor of Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for improving reproductive health in developing countries.

“It is an honor to be selected as the Population Council’s next president,” said Ms. Bunting. “The Council’s strategic approach to conducting scientific research and using it to improve health outcomes is unparalleled. I look forward to leading an organization known for generating innovative ideas, gathering world-class evidence, and making a positive difference in the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable.”

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, the Council delivers solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world.

Ms. Bunting will succeed Peter Donaldson, who has served as president of the Population Council since 2005.

“The Council owes a debt of gratitude to Peter Donaldson, who contributed greatly to the success and advancement of the Council and its mission,” said Walker. “Under Peter’s leadership, the Council has played a major role in population, health, and development research and policy formulation. In the past year, the Council launched two long-term global cooperative agreements from USAID in reproductive health and HIV operations research respectively. We have received significant support from agencies, governments, and foundations worldwide. We are developing new contraceptives and anti-HIV products in our Center for Biomedical Research. Our work on behalf of adolescent girls has expanded greatly, and we are widely recognized as a leading expert on research and programs to improve girls’ lives.”

During his tenure, Donaldson also oversaw a major reorganization of the Council’s research programs and an increase of $10 million in annual donor support, and he launched the Bixby Fellows program, which provided training and mentoring for young scholars and scientists from the developing world.


About the Population Council

The Population Council confronts critical health and development issues—from stopping the spread of HIV to improving reproductive health and ensuring that young people lead full and productive lives. Through biomedical, social science, and public health research in 50 countries, we work with our partners to deliver solutions that lead to more effective policies, programs, and technologies that improve lives around the world. Established in 1952 and headquartered in New York, the Council is a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization governed by an international board of trustees.

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Media contact: Erin Kiernon, ekiernon@popcouncil.org, +1 212 339 0653