Karena Lyons

Director of Partnerships, Integration, and Resource Mobilisation

 Karena Rosa Muaiava Sega Masina Lyons is SPC’s Director of Partnerships, Integration, and Resource Mobilisation.

She is a senior executive and former Ambassador whose extensive multilateral experience has taken her around the world. She has negotiated on the global stage at the United Nations Security Council and served as a country and regional delegate at the Pacific Islands Forum, the ASEAN and East-Asia Summit, and the CARICOM Caribbean Community to name a few. A daughter of the Pacific, Karena has 20 years of Pacific experience as a leader, policy expert, and development practitioner, including leading a CROP agency and serving as New Zealand’s first female Ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the  Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau, as well as New Zealand’s first female Consul-General to Hawaii and Envoy to US Indo-Pacific Command.

Karena was the first woman to lead the Pacific Islands Development Program, a CROP agency based in Hawaii and established 40 years ago by Pacific Nations in partnership with the US Government.  She was also the first female and first Pacific Islands Vice President at the East-West Center in Honolulu, a role she held concurrently with the role of Director of Research.

During her career as a diplomat, Karena served as Foreign Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs covering Asia and the Americas; as strategist and negotiator at the United Nations in New York and Geneva; as mission advisor on secondment to the Commonwealth Secretariat; alternate Whaling Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission; and a negotiator in multiple multilateral fora around the world. Karena continues to serve and learn from the people of the Pacific. She is based in Noumea, New Caledonia.