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Carma Elliot

College President - United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA), Singapore

Carma joined United World College South East Asia (UWCSEA) in July 2019, as the inaugural College President. UWCSEA is proud to be part of a movement which inspires and is inspired by its students and alumni—to take action and to make a difference
locally, nationally and internationally. The College celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021/22, and Carma is leading colleagues in developing a vision and strategy for the next 50 years.

A career British diplomat for most of her adult life, Carma worked in a wide variety of roles across continents, including bilateral politics, trade and investment, education, culture, immigration and protocol. Her diplomatic career spanned the UK, Europe, China and Saudi Arabia, where she was the first female Director of Trade and Investment. Her final three diplomatic postings were as Consul-General in Chongqing (China), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and Shanghai (China); and as Minister (Culture and Education) in the British Embassy in Beijing while working for the British Council.Carma also served as Executive Director at China’s single largest international NGO, Half the Sky Foundation (2010–2013), focused on enriching the lives of China’s orphaned children. Her work supported a unique partnership with the Chinese government, developing a training programme for local child welfare workers and towards building a sustainable future for the NGO.

Throughout her professional life, Carma has affected meaningful change in the government, international education and development sectors in several countries, most recently completing a complex business transformation at the British Council in China. Carma has been honoured twice by Her Majesty The Queen, for her service to UK relations with China (2003) and in recognition of the success of the UK pavilion at Shanghai Expo (2010).

Originally from Scotland, Carma is proud to call herself a global citizen. She grew up living in multiple countries and so identifies as a ‘third culture kid’ with formative life experiences that will be familiar to many who live and work in Singapore. Through her professional life, she has developed a deep knowledge of the cultural nuances required to successfully navigate and create intercultural understanding and an appreciation of the importance of respecting diverse perspectives. Carma first visited China as a student at Fudan University in Shanghai in 1984/85. China and Chinese culture remains a passionate interest – as are baking and reading.