The Invasive Species Centre (ISC), a leader in facilitating invasive species prevention, detection and response, announced that Dilhari Fernando has been named the ISC's new Executive Director, effective September 9, 2013. As former Director General of Strategic Policy and Priorities for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Dilhari has specialized in public policy development, medium term planning and strategic thinking. She is respected for her ability to integrate diverse corporate components into cohesive, overarching corporate strategies to help organizations navigate and position themselves for success in times of change.

"We are very pleased that Dilhari Fernando is stepping into this pivotal role for the Invasive Species Centre," said ISC Board Chair, Dr. C.T. (Tat) Smith. "Through her work in the areas of food safety, agriculture and agri-food, minerals and metals, fisheries and forestry, Dilhari has amassed a considerable base of experience in natural resources management, public sector management, and in leading multidisciplinary and diverse teams. In light of the mandate of the ISC as a progressive partnership-based organization, she is uniquely qualified to lead the ISC during these critical times."

Dilhari brings a wealth of experience from her work in the Government of Canada. She joined the federal Public Service in 1993 and gained experience in a number of Departments and Agencies, including Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Privy Council Office and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

"The Invasive Species Centre delivers unique value as a leader in facilitating invasive species prevention, detection and response. In its role as a catalyst for collaboration and information exchange, the ISC brings together partners and stakeholders to advance our understanding of, and enhance our collective response to, invasive species," Dilhari Fernando said. "I am honoured to take on a leadership role in the ISC, which is a model of public-private partnership, and whose work reduces expenses and risks caused by potential gaps and areas of overlap. My pledge is to build on the strong foundation that has been established since the organization's inception in 2011, and to chart the course for the ISC to meet new challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities as it strives to mitigate the socio-economic and ecological threats posed by invasive species."

Dilhari Fernando holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Ottawa, Master of Forestry Economics from the University of New Brunswick, Bachelor of Science (Biology) from the University of Western Ontario, and is in the process of completing a Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility from St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto. A native of London, Ontario, Dilhari is an outdoors enthusiast who enjoys hiking and kayaking in Canada's beautiful outdoors.

The Invasive Species Centre is a partnership-based organization. Its focus is on addressing threats from invasive species by facilitating cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication between the wide range of stakeholder groups involved in prevention, detection and response activities. The ISC operates in three key areas: facilitating linkages between government and non-government agencies working in invasive species; functioning as a clearinghouse for information and knowledge exchange; and funding projects that promote a coordinated, evidence-based approach to invasive species.

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