Suba Umathevan was born in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, in 1982. At the age of two, she fled the war-torn country with her family and arrived in Bern, Switzerland. Suba holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs with a specialization in International Law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland, and an Honours degree in International Studies and Modern Languages from the University of Ottawa in Canada.
She began her international career as a research fellow at UNESCO-International Bureau of Education, where she assessed mother tongue and bilingual education programs in Sub-Saharan African countries. Suba has spent nearly a decade in Non-profit management and has dedicated her work to women’s and children’s rights. Suba was Programme Executive at Soroptimist International of Europe, where she helped developed Programme and Advocacy of the organization. She led development programs in a number of countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Her thematic expertise is in women’s economic empowerment, education in emergencies, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, and early marriage.
Suba spent a few years designing and leading learning programs for people and strategy development with executives across the globe, identifying global megatrends and preparing leaders to transform.
Suba was the CEO of Plan International Switzerland, an organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Before becoming the CEO of the organization, Suba joined Plan International Switzerland as the Head of Major Partnerships, developing a clear fundraising strategy and building multifaceted foundation, corporate and institutional partnerships. Plan International Switzerland focuses on delivering high-impact programs to create the conditions for adolescent girls and young adults to be educated, safe and economically empowered in over 75 countries across the world.
Today, Suba is the CEO of DROSOS FOUNDATION. The Foundation supports projects aimed at promoting life skills of disadvantaged children and young people. With offices in Berlin, Cairo, Casablanca, Ramallah, and Zurich, DROSOS FOUNDATION co-creates projects to promote economic independence and creative skills of young people in the MENA region, Switzerland and Germany. Suba Umathevan is a member of the Assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).