University of Brighton Alumni Association

United Nations appoints Brighton graduate

A University of Brighton alumna has been appointed United Nations Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All.

Damilola Ogunbiyi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, has also been selected as Co-Chair of United Nations-Energy which promotes “coherence within the UN family of organisations in the energy field”.

Damilola Ogunbiyi

The appointments were announced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Sustainable Energy for All is an international organisation launched by the then Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, to “help mobilize achievement of universal energy access, improve energy efficiency, and increase the use of renewable energy”.

The University of Brighton awarded Ms Ogunbiyi a Project Management for Construction BSc(Hons)  in 2001 and a Project Management for Construction MSc the following year.

Of her time in Brighton, she said: “University was the best time of my life.”

Professor Debra Humphris, the University’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “This is tremendous news and on behalf of everyone at the University I would like to congratulate Damilola Ogunbiyi. I’m proud of all of our alumni and Damilola’s richly-deserved appointment demonstrates there are no limits to what our graduates can achieve.”

Ms Ogunbiyi has also been appointed by the Administrative Board of Sustainable Energy for All to take over from Rachel Kyte as Chief Executive Officer of the organisation.

The UN said: “Ogunbiyi has a track record of leadership roles in Sub-Saharan Africa. She was the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. She was also responsible for implementing the Nigerian Off-Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria.

“A globally-respected leader with a broad and diverse international network in the area of energy development, which includes key relationships with leading multilateral and bilateral partners and the private sector, Ogunbiyi is one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty.

“The new UN Special Representative developed the Energising Economics Initiative and Energizing Education Programme, which provides sustainable and affordable off-grid power solutions. Prior to this, Ogunbiyi was the first woman to be appointed as the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects, and energy development serving millions of people across the State.

“She has also previously consulted for the United Kingdom Department for International Development on public-private partnerships.”

For more on Sustainable Energy for All, visit:

Nic Ashton • November 14, 2019

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