Chief Executive, Common Purpose International

Alison Coburn

Alison has spent most of her career working with leaders across the world, often in challenging environments. She is one of the founders of Common Purpose, and has been Chief Executive of Common Purpose International since 2001.

She spearheaded the development of Common Purpose internationally, establishing Common Purpose country operations in France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, the Netherlands, South Africa and Turkey.

She led Common Purpose’s work across the MENA region for a number of years. This included the leadership of an EU supported capacity building programme in Libya from 2011 to 2013 – during and after the conflict in the country.

Alison has pioneered many of Common Purpose’s programmes and has built partnerships with organizations around the world including Deutsche Bank, the Vodafone Foundation, the American Express Foundation and the MAVA Fondation pour la Nature.

She is an Ambassador for the Tutu Foundation UK, which aims to prevent and resolve conflict and to help people build peaceful communities.

In the early stages of her career Alison worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain, Community Service Volunteers and the BBC. She studied both in the UK and the US and has a degree in American Studies from the University of Kent. Her time in the US was formative and led to her enduring belief in the power of diversity, which has influenced her life and career ever since.