Kingsley Abbott has more than 20 years’ experience in international non-governmental organisations, the United Nations and domestic legal practice. For the past nine years he was based in Thailand where he served the International Commission of Jurists as the Director of Global Accountability and International Justice. During this time, he developed and led numerous human rights and rule of law initiatives in Asia and around the world. Prior to that, he worked as a Senior Legal Adviser at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia and as Trial Counsel in the Office of the Prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague. He started his career in his home country of Aotearoa (New Zealand), where he mainly practised as a criminal barrister under a leading King’s Counsel.

Kingsley joins the Institute at a pivotal moment. In 2021, the University commissioned an Inquiry into the Future of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, which was led by Sir Malcolm Rifkind. The Inquiry provided the basis for the reimagination of the Institute to provide thought-leadership and research leading to policy solutions for contemporary Commonwealth issues. Kingsley will lead the Institute as it focuses particularly on current and future challenges confronting Commonwealth states and societies, building on the Institute’s established track record analysing historical trends and legacies.