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Directors and Experts

As per the Charter, Directors/Experts are voluntarily seconded by Member States. The Directors assist the Secretary-General on day-to-day affairs of the Secretariat and perform such duties as are laid down in the Rules of Procedure. In the absence of the Secretary-General, the senior-most Director represents the Secretariat and conducts its affairs on behalf of the Secretary-General.

  • Dr. Gatot Hari Gunawan
    (Secondment from Indonesia)
    Joined IORA Secretariat on 1 February 2018
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    Dr. Gatot Hari Gunawan
    Dr. Gatot Hari Gunawan
    (Secondment from Indonesia)

    Dr. Gunawan is seconded from the Republic of Indonesia and has been posted as a Director at IORA Secretariat, Mauritius since 1 February 2018.

     

    Prior to his appointment at the IORA secretariat, Dr. Gunawan has served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia since the year 2000 with a wide-ranging expertise and experience related to ASEAN External Affairs as well as ASEAN Socio-Cultural Cooperation. During 2010-2012, Dr. Gunawan served as an Assistant to Director for ASEAN-Japan relations of Department for ASEAN External Affairs. He later served as a Deputy Director for Science and Technology, Environment and Disaster Management of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Department for the period of 2016-2017.

     

    Dr. Gunawan served as a Consul of the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Osaka, Japan during 2006-2009. He looked after a large number of issues related to consular affairs, information as well as economics and development. Dr. Gunawan is among a few Indonesian experts on the ASEAN-Japan relations. He earned his Master and Doctorate Degree in the Tsukuba University, Japan.

     

    Dr. Gunawan has a deep knowledge on maritime connectivity, environmental sustainability and disaster management in particular under the framework of ASEAN Cooperation. With such knowledge, he envisioned IORA to further strengthen on the aforesaid cooperation for the benefits of the people, the region and beyond.

  • Gareth Rees
    (Secondment from South Africa)
    joined IORA Secretariat on 15 January 2019
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    Gareth Rees
    Gareth Rees
    (Secondment from South Africa)

    Gareth has been seconded from the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) as a Director to the IORA Secretariat since 15 January 2019.  Prior to joining the Secretariat, he has held several positions in the South African Foreign Service.  He has served at DIRCO Headquarters in Pretoria dealing with South Africa’s relations with IORA (2015-2019), the European Union (2009-2011), and the United States (1992-1994 and 1999-2003).  He has also served abroad in DIRCO’s diplomatic missions in Windhoek, Namibia (2011-2015), Washington DC, USA (2003-2008), and Vienna, Austria (1994-1999).   

     

    Gareth leads the Secretariat’s work on strengthening academic, science and technology cooperation, as well as on fostering tourism and cultural exchanges within IORA. 

     

    Gareth has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in International Relations and Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand (WITS). 

  • Saravanan Murugan
    (Secondment from India)
    Joined IORA Secretariat on 15 December 2019
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    Saravanan Murugan
    Saravanan Murugan
    (Secondment from India)

    Saravanan Murugan has been seconded from the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as a Director to the IORA Secretariat since 15 December 2019. 

     

    Saravanan leads the Secretariat’s work on strengthening Maritime Safety and Security, and Disaster Risk Management within IORA. 

     

    Prior to joining the Secretariat, Saravanan has held several positions in the Government of India both at Secretariat and District level. He has served as a Director in Ministry of Commerce and Industry (2018-2019), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (2014-2018), Director of Primary Education (2013-2014), Director of Agriculture and Horticulture (2011-2013), District Magistrate and Collector of four districts in India (2002-2011). He has vast experience in programme delivery at district level and policy making at Secretariat level.

      

    Saravanan has a Bachelor of Science (BSc Agriculture) degree and Master of Business Management degree.

  • Rajib Tripura
    (Secondment from Bangladesh)
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    Rajib Tripura
    Rajib Tripura

    Rajib has been seconded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh as a Director at the IORA Secretariat in Mauritius since 07 June 2021. Rajib is the first IORA Director to be seconded by Bangladesh.

     

    Rajib leads the Secretariat’s work on Institutional Arrangements and Broadening Engagement, along with the Public Diplomacy and Communication.  

     

    Prior to his appointment at the IORA Secretariat, Rajib served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh since 2011. He worked at different Wings of the Ministry including the Public Diplomacy Wing, South East Asia Wing, West and Central Asia Wing and Maritime Affairs Unit in the capacities of Assistant Secretary and Senior Assistant Secretary.

     

    Rajib served as First Secretary and Counsellor at the Bangladesh Embassy in Rome, Italy from April 2018 to May 2021. He looked after the issues of bilateral relations and consular affairs.

     

    Rajib holds Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) and Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Dhaka. He also holds a Master of Public Policy in International Policy from the Australian National University, Canberra.

  • Ramchurn Cholakumar
    (Secondment from Mauritius)
    Joined IORA Secretariat on 04 May 2021
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    Ramchurn Cholakumar
    Ramchurn Cholakumar
    Supervisor Finance ,Budget, and Human Resources

    Mr Ramchurn Cholakumar has been seconded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs   Regional & International Cooperation, Government of Mauritius as the Supervisor for Finance, Budget, and Human Resources to the IORA Secretariat since 4 May 2021.

     

    Mr Ramchurn Cholakumar was designated as the Director for Finances, Budget, Accounting and Human Resources as per the Structure held at the Secretariat and as part of the Corporate Services Directorate. He is Fellow Chartered & Certified Account -UK. He holds Masters in Finance from University of Mauritius and a LLB Hons (Common Law) from Anglia Ruskin University, UK.

     

    Mr Ramchurn has 25 years of experience in Auditing, Accounting and Budgeting. He started his career as an Auditor in the National Audit Office and then joined the Management Audit Bureau as Accounting Technician and graduated to Senior Financial Management Analyst in charge of loans, grants, including debt and capital investment projects. He is holding a position of Lead Analyst in The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Government of Mauritius and worked at the Procurement Policy Office.

  • Sagri Sharma
    (Secondment from India)
    Joined IORA Secretariat on 14 September 2020
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    Sagri Sharma
    Sagri Sharma
    ICT Advisor

    Sagri Sharma has been seconded from the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Advisor to the IORA Secretariat since 14 September 2020. Sagri is the first ICT Advisor to the IORA Secretariat.


    Sagri leads the ICT activities at the Secretariat as part of the Corporate Services Directorate. She brings with her vast experience working in Information Technology and Management at the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing under the Ministry of Information and Technology, Government of India. At the Secretariat, she is responsible for ICT Strategy  & Policy Formulation, guidance and advice for implementation and coordination of a secure and sustainable ICT Framework.


    Sagri holds a Bachelors of Engineering in Information Technology, Masters in Software Systems and Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration in Operations Management.