Ambassador (ret.) Riyad Insanally

Senior Advisor for the Caribbean


Riyad Insanally retired in June 2021 as Guyana’s Ambassador to the United States and to the Organization of American States. His time as Ambassador to the US coincided with the discovery of huge oil and gas reserves offshore Guyana and his country’s emergence as an increasingly important player in the energy sector of the Western Hemisphere and globally. While in office, Ambassador Insanally focused on assisting American firms as they pursued trade and investment opportunities in Guyana. He assisted firms not only in the hydrocarbons industry but also in infrastructure development, renewable energy, agro-industry, and other sectors.
A career diplomat with over 31 years’ experience, Ambassador Insanally has specialized in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy; political and cooperation relations with the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean; trade and commercial negotiations; and building strategic partnerships with a wide variety of stakeholders in the public and private sectors, civil society, and academia.

During his tour of duty in Washington, DC (September 2016-June 2021), he served variously as Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Caucus of Ambassadors; Chair of the Caucus Committee on Energy; Chair of the OAS Permanent Council; and Chair of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development (CIDI).

Ambassador Insanally is concurrently a Senior Fellow at the Caribbean Initiative of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Center for Latin America. He is also an Associate of the University of Guyana Foundation, an inaugural member of the Global Advisory Council of The Presidential Precinct in Charlottesville, Virginia, and an Honorary Associate Fellow of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick, UK.

In 2019, Ambassador Insanally received Guyana’s Cacique’s Crown of Honour (CCH) award, for “long and distinguished service in the field of diplomacy and international relations.” During his career and prior to his appointment as Ambassador, he served in a number of key roles, including OAS Representative in Trinidad and Tobago; Adviser to the OAS Assistant Secretary General, in Washington, DC; Senior Trade Adviser, Guyana High Commission, London and Commercial Representative of the Guyana Sugar Corporation in the UK, representing Guyana’s sugar interests in Europe; and Political Adviser to the first two Secretaries General of the Association of Caribbean States in Trinidad.

A winner of a prestigious Guyana Scholarship in 1977, Riyad Insanally studied Modern Languages and Latin American Studies and holds MA and MPhil degrees from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from Harvard University. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and proficient in French.

Practice group focus area(s)

Publications and Media

Antony Blinken’s Visit Is a Turning Point for Guyana
Published: July 2023

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OP-ED: Venezuelan Reactions to the ICJ Ruling
Published: June 2023

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The Border Controversy: Diplomacy must continue to complement the ICJ Process
Published: November 2022

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