Our Team in Syrian Arab Republic

El-Mostafa

El-Mostafa Benlamlih

RCO
Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator a.i
 
Mr. Benlamlih (Morocco) was appointed UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim (RC/HC a.i.) for the Syrian Arab Republic in November 2022.
Mr. Benlamlih brings more than 34 years of experience at professional and executive levels in development and humanitarian leadership and management in 12 different countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Arab Region, and New York. He started his career in UNDP and held several UN senior leadership positions, including as Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General (DSRSG) in Haiti, and UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cote d Ivoire, Indonesia, Egypt, Sudan, and Haiti, in addition to UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

During his career, he led successful efforts to build strong UN teams and effective partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. In his last assignment as DSRSG/RC/HC a.i., he led MINUSTAH exit strategy and shifted the UN focus from crisis response to resilience. In leading UN operations, he motivated large UN teams in support of global and national priorities under different contexts. These experiences involved various levels and combinations of humanitarian, security, development, climate change, human rights and conflict and crisis management situations across different UN pillars.

Mr. Benlamlih has a PhD (Doctorat de Troisième Cycle) in Economics (1980) from Grenoble University in France, as well as two master’s degrees (Diplôme d’ Études Approfondies, et Diplôme d’ Études Supérieures Spécialisées) also from Grenoble University in France.
Amanya Michael-Ebye

Amanya Michael-Ebye

UNRWA
Country director
Mr Amanya Michael Ebye (Uganda) was appointed as Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria in February 2019. He joined UNRWA in March 2017 as Deputy Director of Programmes, Syria Field Office. In that role, he supervised developing and implementing programmes for the 438,000 Palestine refugees in Syria. He has spent more than 25 years working in the humanitarian field with the UN and INGOs, including Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Jordan, DR Congo and Syria.
Mike Robson

Mike Robson

FAO
Representative
 
During his 30 years of professional experience with FAO, Mr Mike Robson (UK) has held various positions, including those of FAO Representative in Bangladesh (2013-2016) and Senior Advisor in the Office of the Deputy Director-General (Programmes) in Rome (2016-2018). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Wadham College, Oxford University and a PhD in Economic History from the London School of Economics, United Kingdom.
Sudipto Mukerjee

Sudipto Mukerjee

UNDP
UNDP Representative
 
Sudipto Mukerjee is an Architect and Town Planner with more than two decades of experience in international development. He is a joint recipient of the International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISoCaRP, Netherlands) and IKEA Foundation sponsored International Urban Ecology Award.

Sudipto has previously worked with the Government of India (1992-1997), UK Department for International Development (1998 - March 2005 as Infrastructure and Urban Advisor) and UN - Habitat (2005-2009, Head of Country Office).

He joined UNDP in September 2009 in the Iraq Country Office and has since worked as Country Director at Sierra Leone (August 2013 - October 2016) and Resident Representative in UNDP Bangladesh (October 2016 – August 2022). He has now been re-assigned to the Syrian Arab Republic as the UNDP Resident Representative.

Sudipto possesses significant experience in UN Country Programming and UNCT Coordination and is in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Pool.
Angela Kearney

Angela Kearney

UNICEF
Representative a.i
 
Ms. Kearney was appointed as UNICEF Syria Representative ad interim in January 2023 and will act in the position until the appointment of a substantive Representative.
Ms. Kearney retired from UNICEF in September 2017 after 19 years of unbroken service. Ever since she left her native New Zealand in 1986 for a “one off”, six - month assignment with the International Red Cross, she has remained working at the international level, with frequent trips back to New Zealand over the years.
In the 32 years she has spent living and working overseas, she has held leading positions in protecting and promoting child rights. Her last full-time assignment was as UNICEF Representative in Pakistan. She has also served as UNICEF Representative in Indonesia during which, for four months, she led the organization’s disaster response during cyclone Haiyan, which had devastated many parts of the Philippines. Ms. Kearney’s time with UNICEF also included stints as Representative in Angola between 2006 to 2009 and Liberia between 2003 to 2006.
More recently, Ms. Kearney was the Representative a.i. for Somalia from January to June in 2022.
Ms. Kearney first joined UNICEF in 1998 as an emergency officer in Sudan. In 2002, she transferred to Afghanistan as Deputy Representative.
Himyar Abdulmoghni

Himyar Abdulmoghni

UNFPA
RR a.i
 
 
 
Mr. Himyar Abdulmoghni UNFPA Representative a.i to Syria. Himyar is a national of Yemen. He has over 20 years of experience managing development and humanitarian programmes in different countries in the field of reproductive health and family planning, gender and women empowerment, human rights, youth empowerment and population and development. He worked with the public and private sector as well as the UN.
Iman Shankiti

Iman Shankiti

WHO
Representative
 
 
 
Iman Shankiti, a National of Saudi Arabia, is currently the WHO Representative for Lebanon. She started her career with the organization in Iraq in the emergency team. She served in Sudan and Afghanistan before joining the WHO Regional Office as Manager of operations in the health emergency team. She holds a BSc in pharmacy from Jordan University and a Master’s in health system management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Kenneth Crossley

Kenneth Crossley

WFP
Country Director and Representative
 
Kenneth Crossley is Country Director and Representative for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria, a position he assumed in August 2022. In this role, he provides supervision, strategic guidance, and support for WFP Syria operations.
Mr. Crossley brings more than 25 years of experience in the humanitarian and development field, working for the United Nations, government agencies and academia, and spent 20 years of his career working with the World Food Programme.
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Crossley served as Director of the WFP Cash-Based Transfers Division, where he was responsible for leading the design and implementation of humanitarian cash assistance programmes, transferring US$ 2.5 billion of purchasing power annually to 45 million people, across 70 countries. Prior to this role, between 2015 and 2017, Mr. Crossley was Deputy Director of the WFP Policy and Programme Division, leading on Cash-Based Transfers, Social Protection and Safety Nets, Climate Risk Management, and Country Capacity Strengthening.
Mr. Crossley began his career with WFP in 2002 as Regional Donor Relations Officer based in Johannesburg. Since then, Mr. Crossley has served in key senior positions, including Deputy Director of US Government Relations based in Washington, Deputy Country Director in Cambodia, and Chief of the WFP Hunger Solutions, based in Rome.
Before joining WFP, Mr. Crossley worked as Senior Program Officer for the Canadian International Development Agency based in Kenya, and as Peacebuilding Officer for UNICEF Operation Lifeline Sudan. He also taught Philosophy and Political Science at the Trinity Western University, Canada.
Mr. Crossley holds a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University of British Columbia.
A national of Canada, he is married and has two children.
Sivanka Dhanapala

Sivanka Dhanapala

UNHCR
Representative
 
Sivanka Dhanapala is an international civil servant from Sri Lanka who has served with the United Nations system since 1992. Mr. Dhanapala has served predominantly within UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Brief sojourns outside UNHCR have been with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at their Vienna Headquarters 1993-1994, and with the Representative of the SecretaryGeneral on Internally Displaced Persons (then Francis Deng), as his New York Representative 1999-2001.
While Mr. Dhanapala has served in different capacities at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva, notable field operations include postings in Cambodia, Bosnia Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (during the Kosovo Crisis), Myanmar/Burma and countries of the 'Afghanistan Refugee Situation' (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran).
Mr. Dhanapala was assigned to New York as a Senior Policy Advisor for UNHCR from 2009-2014. During that time, he was deployed to two emergency situations - Pakistan for the floods in 2010, and to Tunisia, Egypt, and western Libya (Benghazi) during the Libya crisis in 2011.
From May 2014 to January 2018, Mr. Dhanapala served as Representative of UNHCR in Iran, followed by an assignment as UNHCR Representative in China until January 2021, when the High Commissioner appointed him as UNHCR Representative in Syria.
Mr. Dhanapala obtained his master’s degree in International Legal Studies from the Washington College of Law at American University and a bachelor’s degree in Law from the School of Law at the University of Buckingham.
Azusa CHIBA 

Azusa CHIBA 

UNOPS
Officer-in-Charge in Syria
Chiba took up her role in Damascus in 2021, after serving as the UNOPS Head of Office in Tokyo. Chiba
has more than 17 years of experience as a humanitarian practitioner. Specializing in leading emergency
response operations, partnership development and resource mobilisation, she held various positions in
UNOPS since 2011; in South Sudan, South Africa (Africa Regional Office), Denmark (HQ) and Japan.
Before joining UNOPS, she has worked for International NGOs. As an emergency relief project
management expert, she has led the projects in 12 countries; such as Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia,
Zimbabwe, Sudan, Haiti and Peru.
Chiba holds a Master’s degree in Political science from the University of York (UK).
Crispen Rukasha

Crispen Rukasha

OCHA
Head of UNOHCA office
 
Crispen Rukasha, a Zimbabwe citizen and recently coming from OCHA Yemen operation has over 23 years’ experience working in humanitarian, early recovery/ recovery, development, and peace building work. His experience covers operations in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Liberia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Yemen. He is well vested in principled humanitarian assistance, programming and coordination, policy advise, protection as a key priority to humanitarian response, office management, budgets and working with political and peacekeeping missions in conflict, post conflict and UN Integrated Mission settings thus bringing the political, humanitarian, human rights, and development arms of the UN together and the workings of the Interagency Standing Committee. He is also well vested in resource-based budgeting and mobilization including the Humanitarian Needs Overviews, Humanitarian Response Plans, needs assessments, donor relations, and managing Country-Based pooled funds.
He has fostered conditions for, and significantly improved the working relations with UN humanitarian and development agencies and NGOs leading to a more inclusive, joint and collaborative programming, and a more effective coordinated overall response. Crispen holds a Master of Science degree in Regional and Urban Planning from the University of Zimbabwe.
Hiroshi Takabayashi

Hiroshi Takabayashi

UN-Habitat
Head of Country Programme a.i.
 
Since May 2021, Mr. Takabayashi served as a Programme Management Officer, Human Settlements in UN-Habitat Syria. Before joining UN-Habitat Syria, Mr. Takabayashi was Programme Management Officer, Human Settlements in UN-Habitat Myanmar (2019-2021) and UN-Habitat Afghanistan (2015-2019) working on urban development and resilience programmes with focus on sustainable urban development, community driven development, climate change and disaster risk management.
Before joining UN-Habitat, from 2001 to 2015, Mr. Takabayashi worked for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), served as Advisor for Capital Market, Deputy Director for Planning in Asia and the Pacific and ASEAN partnership, Deputy Director for Indonesia and several other positions managing technical cooperation and loan programmes and policy dialogue.
Mr. Takabayashi holds a Master’s Degree in Environment, Development and Policy from University of Sussex in UK, and a Master’s Degree in International Development Study from National Graduate Policy Institute in Japan.
UNMAS

Joseph McCartan

UNMAS
Chief of the UN Mine Action Service
 
Mr Joseph McCartan (Joe) is the Chief of the UN Mine Action Service Programme in Syria. Prior to this he was the FAO Regional Security Advisor for Asia and Pacific, a Civil–Military Co-ordination Officer with UNOCHA and spent 5 years as the Programme Manager for the OPCW Mission in Syria. He has also been, consecutively, a British Army Officer, an Exhumations Officer with the Office of the High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, deployed by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Joint Military Commission and the International Military Advisory Team in Sudan before joining the UN Mine Action Service in Sudan as Chief of Staff and then Deputy Director. He has also deployed to Iraq as UNOPS Deputy Director before returning to UNMAS to establish the programme with the UN Interim Security Force, Abyei. He holds a BA (War) from King’s College, London and a MA (Security, Violence and Terrorism) from Queen’s University, Belfast.
Mona Rishmawi

Mona Rishmawi

OSE Syria
Head of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria
 
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen Appoints Mona Rishmawi of Jordan as Head of Damascus Office for United Nations Special Envoy for Syria
On 6 September 2022, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Mr. Geir O. Pedersen announced the appointment of Ms. Mona Rishmawi of Jordan as the head of the Envoy’s office in Damascus. She started her work on 1 October 2022.
Ms. Rishmawi brings to the post a wealth of experience within the UN and beyond. She has more than 20 years of UN experience, and served as the Chief of the Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch in the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
She has held several roles with OHCHR, including Senior Legal and Policy Advisor to the High Commissioner. Ms. Rishmawi was also the Senior Human Rights and Gender Advisor to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq.
She participated in 2015 peace negotiations (South Sudan), advanced human rights in the context of democratic and political transitions (Maldives), advised on transitional justice (Burundi, Sri Lanka and Tunisia), and supported institution building and constitutional reform in several countries (Iraq, Libya and Somalia)
Nathan Danquah

Nathan Danquah

UNDSS
CSA DSS
 
Nathan Opoku Kofi DANQUAH of Ghana has been the Chief Security Advisor for the United Nations Department of Safety and Security in Syria since the 1st of November 2020.
Having commenced his career with the Ghana Military Academy in 1983 as an Officer Cadet, Mr. Danquah served till retiring honorably as a Major in October 1999. At the same time, he took several positions in Peacekeeping over the years at UNIFIL Lebanon, ECOMOG Liberia, UNAMIR Rwanda, and ECOMOG HQ in Sierra Leone.
His professional work experiences include serving for 5 years as an Investigator with UNICTR, Rwanda. Then, he worked as a UN Security Advisory for 3 years in Cameroon. He also performed surge missions to Banda Aceh, Indonesia, Pakistan
and Central African Republic. He became a Chief Security Advisor in several duty
stations starting from 2007 up to date: Nigeria, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Chad,
Darfur of Sudan, and currently in Syria.
 Sami Dimassi

Sami Dimassi

UNEP
Director and Regional Representative
Mr. Sami Dimassi joined UNEP Regional Office for West Asia as Director and Regional Representative in 2018. He held several senior positions in the UN System, such as Senior ICT Advisor, Head of the Innovation Branch, Deputy Director of the Science division, Director of Private Sector Engagement, and Acting Director of Corporate Services all within UNEP. A Lebanese-Canadian national, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Ottawa University and a master’s in Management from Waterloo University in Canada.
Constanza Farina

Constanza Farina

UNESCO
Director of UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, UNESCO Representative to Lebanon and Syria
 
Ms Costanza Farina is the Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau in Beirut and Representative of UNESCO to Lebanon and Syria as of March 18, 2021. Before this, Farina was the UNESCO Representative in Jordan and performed as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Jordan and Libya. She has over 30 years of experience with the UN, occupying different senior positions in Qatar, Geneva and Palestine. Farina holds a master’s degree in Oriental Languages and Cultures from the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Italy.
Cristina Albertin

Cristina Albertin

UNODC
Regional Representative
 
 
Ms Cristina Albertin is the UNODC Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa. Working for UNODC since 1994, Ms Albertin has served in different capacities in Peru and at UNODC Headquarters in Vienna (Regional Section Latin America and the Caribbean) before becoming a Representative in Bolivia, South Asia, and Nigeria. Before joining UNODC, she worked for three years with the World Food Programme in Bolivia.
CHALEV Dimiter

Dimiter Chalev

OHCHR
Head of Office, Representative for Syria at OHCHR
Mr Dimiter Chalev (Bulgaria) has been appointed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as her Representative / Head of the OHCHR Office for Syria since January 2019.
Dimiter Chalev has 30 years of professional experience, 19 years of which with the United Nations in Bishkek, Brussels, Bujumbura, Geneva, Pristina and Tunis. He served as the Head of the OHCHR Tunisia Office from 2012 to 2017 and as acting Resident Coordinator between September-December 2016. He has been Coordinator of the Secretariats of several United Nations Commissions of Inquiry. Dimiter Chalev was the Chief of Europe and Central Asia Section in Geneva (2010 -2012), Acting Regional Representative for Europe in Brussels and Acting Regional Representative for Central Asia in Bishkek in the period 2008 - 2010. He previously occupied various positions within OHCHR including Deputy Coordinator of Europe, North America and Central Asia Unit (2006 – 2010) and Human Rights Officer in the Africa Team at OHCHR in charge of the field operations in Burundi and Sudan (1999 – 2006). Before joining OHCHR, Dimiter Chalev occupied the position of Senior Expert in the Direction “International Organizations and Human Rights” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria and worked in the Bulgarian Permanent Mission to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg from 1992 to 1995. He is fluent in English and French and has good knowledge of Russian.
Dimiter Chalev holds a diploma in International Civil Service from the International Institute for Public Administration, Paris, France and Masters in Systems Engineering from the Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Emmanuel Kalenzi

Emmanuel Kalenzi

UNIDO
Representative
Emmanuel Kalenzi is the UNIDO Representative and Head of Regional Office for Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. He has over 20 years of experience in development work, both in the public and private sectors as well as in international cooperation, and over 15 years with UNIDO. Mr. Kalenzi holds a Master of Business Administration from Wageningen University, a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Makerere University and is currently working on his PhD research.
Mounir Tabet

Mounir Tabet

UN ESCWA
Deputy Executive Secretary for Programme Support
 
Mounir Tabet who is a national of Canada took up his official functions as deputy executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in September 2018. Mr Tabet was the UNDP country director for Iraq from 2016 to 2018 and oversaw the program on stabilization and transition. Prior to joining UNDP, Mr Tabet worked with the North-South Institute and the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, and the University of Ottawa.
Mr Tabet is an Edward S. Mason Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University where he obtained a Master's degree in public administration. He also holds a Master's degree in economics from the University of Ottawa.
Omar Ebrima Njie

Omar Ebrima Njie

IFAD
Country director
 
Mr Omar Ebrima Njie, a national of The Gambia, has been appointed as Country Director of the IFAD portfolio in Syria since April 2021. Prior to this assignment, Mr Njie worked for 10 years as the Senior Audit Officer in the Office of Audit and Oversight at IFAD Headquarters in Rome.
Mr Njie holds a Master of Business Administration degree in finance and entrepreneurship from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (Louisiana, USA), a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Berea Colleague (Kentucky, USA). He also earned several professional certifications in finance, accounting and audit, public procurement and information technology, with a long-standing experience in the rural development, government and private sector organizations in various countries in the region, the Asia and the Pacific Islands, USA, and across several countries in Africa. He has worked for more than 24 years in contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of development-related projects, coordinating and leading teams in various areas of development work and private sector industries in banking, electric utilities and energy services and aviation.
Peter Rademaker

Peter Rademaker

ILO
Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States
 
 
Peter Rademaker is the ILO’s Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States. He also heads the ILO’s Decent Work Technical Support Team for the region. He previously worked for the ILO in Africa and Asia and coordinated the ILO’s development partner relations team at Headquarters in Geneva, including on joint UN programming. He has been advising governments, trade unions and employers to advance Decent Work and Social Justice, including in the areas of youth employment, social protection and labour migration.