Jennifer Raffoul is a Development Economist, Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, and former Independent (non-partisan) Senator in Trinidad and Tobago. She works towards eco-nomic and social impact, improved societal well-being and human rights.
Ms. Raffoul served as an Independent Senator in Trinidad and Tobago from September 2015 until November 2018. Independent Senators are appointed by the President (the non-partisan head of state) on the basis of having had a record of outstanding service to the population as well as expertise in a specific field. Independent Senators represent the population; are expressly non-partisan; and serve as controls on partisanship in the Parliamentary process. At 31, she was one of the youngest Independent Senators appointed in T&T’s history. In her role as Senator, she advocated for public fiscal management that prioritizes economic and social justice, health and wellness, and environmental sustainability. In particular, she promoted innovative financial instruments for economic and social development that strengthen the effectiveness of public expenditure; as well as systemic adoption of multi-dimensional indicators of societal well-being.
Currently (2019), Ms. Raffoul serves as a Member of the Legal and Fiscal Working Group of the EU-funded ‘CSOs for Good Governance’ project, which aims to strengthen the ability of NGOs and social enterprises in T&T to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. She was an Advisory Panel Member of the UNDP Caribbean Human Development Report (2015-2016). She served as a Board Member for the T&T-based NGO ‘Horses Helping Humans’ (2014-2018) ,which supports autistic and special needs children with hippotherapy (horse-assisted therapy).
Ms. Raffoul is the Founding Curator of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Hub in Port of Spain (2013-present), which has led innovative social impact projects in the PoS community. Ms. Raffoul was approached by the Forum to lead the PoS Hub. She lead the first Hub project: a program teaching weekly yoga and meditation at schools in high-violence communities in East Port of Spain, which ran for four years (2014-2017), as a means of supporting students and teachers in coping with stress, in collaboration with the ‘Yoga 4 Youth Trinidad’ organization. Subsequent POS Hub projects have focused on mental health, climate change, reforestation, refugee support, and youth support. Ms. Raffoul has participated in the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos, and Climate Reality Training with Nobel Laureate Al Gore.
Previously, Ms. Raffoul worked at RBC Caribbean in Fixed Income Trading (2012-2013). Prior to that, she worked at the Inter-American Development Bank (2009-2011) supporting the design and implementation of the US$1b+ Country Lending Envelope for T&T, and as a Project Team Member on several projects. Public sector projects included social safety net strengthening, procurement reform, and education strengthening. Private sector projects included sustainable tourism and supporting sustainable monetization of indigenous cultural industries. Thereafter, she has consulted on economic development projects with multilateral development banks and private and public sector organisations.
Ms. Raffoul has an MSc in Economics for Development from the University of Oxford, UK, and a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in Applied Economics from Queen’s University, Canada. She is also certified in teaching Integral Hatha Yoga and guided meditation in the Satyananda tradition; and in integrative nutrition from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.