Our Team in Syrian Arab Republic

Imran Riza

Imran Riza

Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator
Mr Riza (Pakistan) has over 30 years of international experience across the UN System. Before his appointment as RC/HC in Syria in September 2019, Mr. Riza was Deputy Head of Mission of UNIFIL and the Director of the Division of Political Affairs, Civil Affairs and Strategic Communications. He notably served as the UNHCR Regional Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (2011-2014) and as UNHCR Representative in Jordan (2007-2011). He also worked for UNSCOL in Lebanon and for WFP in Italy.
Amanya Michael-Ebye

Amanya Michael-Ebye

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

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.
Ramla Khalidi

Ramla Khalidi

Before joining UNDP Syria in September 2019, Ms Khalidi was Chief, Strategy, Evaluation and Partnership Section with UNESCWA in Lebanon. Mrs Khalidi began her career as a Researcher with Amnesty International based in London, UK and her first assignment with UNDP was as a Poverty Analyst in New York in 1996. In her 28-year career, she has worked as a journalist, a researcher, a policy analyst and a Programme Manager focusing on issues such as social policy, poverty, and gender equality. Ms Khalidi holds a Master of Arts in Arab Studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Tufts University.
Akjemal Magtymova WHO

Akjemal Magtymova

Head of Mission and WHO Representative to the Syrian Arab Republic
Dr Akjemal Magtymova assumed her functions as WHO Representative to the Syrian Arab Republic in April 2020.
Having served as a clinical practitioner and a researcher in maternal health and human reproduction in Turkmenistan, Dr Magtymova dedicated the past 20 years to the international development working with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Turkmenistan and Lao PDR; with WHO in the countries of the South-East Asia Region (The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia/New Delhi, WHO country offices in Maldives and Nepal) and later joined WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Before the current assignment, Dr Magtymova completed nearly 3 years as WHO Representative to Oman, and prior to which had served as Deputy Head and Emergency Coordinator of the WHO country office in Yemen, leading operations to address the complex humanitarian emergency.
During her tenure in the Republic of Maldives, she played an active role in peace processes as acting UN Resident Coordinator/Designate UN Security Official in addition to her portfolio as a WHO Representative.
At the global level, Dr Magtymova has been an active contributor to the development of WHO-led technical guidelines and research and authored/co-authored a number of national and regional level technical publications. Dr Magtymova has had various functions throughout her career, including support to health reforms, leading multi-stakeholder policy dialogue for equitable health financing strategies with a focus on universal health coverage.
Dr Magtymova is a medical doctor specializing in Obstetrics and Gynecology with MSc in Health Systems Management from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine distinctively combined with Master of Arts in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.
Dr Magtymova’s professional aspiration is to promote global health and diplomacy for peace and sustainable development.
Bo Viktor Nylund

Bo Viktor Nylund

Mr. Nylund began his mission in Syria as UNICEF Representative on 13 August 2020. In his role as
Representative he provides strategic and operational leadership of UNICEF Country Office and
programme in one of the world’s most complex and protracted crises and advocates for the rights of
children in Syria guided by the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Prior to his assignment to Syria, Mr. Nylund was the UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for the Eastern
and Southern Africa Region based in Kenya where he provided oversight and strategic direction to
UNICEF programmes across 21 country offices leading work on the development of bankable projects
in WASH, scaling up initiatives to address wasting of children and introducing innovative digitized
learning materials in schools for children with disabilities.
Over the past 22 years, Mr. Nylund has served in various leadership capacities at UNICEF benefiting
children across the globe including Thailand, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Burundi, in addition to various
senior advisory roles for fundraising and child protection at UNICEF’s headquarters in Geneva and New
Mr. Nylund holds a doctoral degree in International Law as well as a doctoral degree in International
Studies from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Mr. Nylund
also holds a master’s degree in law from Columbia University Law School.
Bo Viktor Nylund is married to Monika and they are the proud parents of 3 children.

John Francis (Sean) O’Brien

Country Director and Representative
Sean O’Brien is Country Director and Representative for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Syria, a position he assumed in December 2020. In this role, he provides supervision, strategic guidance and support for WFP Syria operations. Sean brings more than 30 years of experience in the field of business, budget and financial management working for the United Nations and the private sector and spent 23 years of his career working with the World Food Programme.
Prior to this appointment, Sean served as Special Advisor to the WFP’s Deputy Executive Director, Mr Amir Abdulla, and was Director of WFP’s Integrated Road Map (IRM) Implementation from 2015 to 2019. In the latter role, he led an organization-wide transformation project which fundamentally changed WFP’s management, planning, financial and funding frameworks, moving from a project-based structure to a Country Strategic Planning (CSP) programme-based structure, aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sean began his career with WFP in 1995 as Accounting Officer based in its headquarters in
Rome and has since served in key senior positions, including Director of the Office of Financial Reporting, Director of Budget and Programming, Acting Chief Financial Officer, and Director of Finance and Treasury.
Before joining WFP, Sean worked as Chief Accountant for Concern Worldwide in Tanzania. He also worked as an auditor with Deloitte and Touche in Dublin, Ireland.
Sean holds a degree in Business Administration from the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway and is a member of Ireland’s Institute of Chartered Accountants.
A national of Ireland, Mr O’Brien is married and has two children.
Karen Daduryan

Karen Daduryan


Mr. Karen Daduryan is a national of Armenia and a career UN Official with expertise in leadership, strategic planning, management, programming, and resource mobilization at the country, regional and global levels.
Mr. Daduryan joined the UN 21 years ago as part of Armenia’s National Human Development Report team. Since then he has worked in the field of international development in various positions. In UNDP, Mr. Daduryan led the Social Development portfolio and was in charge of the largest integrated programme for community development.
In 1999, Mr. Daduryan joined UNFPA as the National Programme Officer overseeing the establishment and expansion of UNFPA Country Office in Armenia. He later assumed the responsibilities of UNFPA Assistant Representative in the same office. In 2005, Mr. Daduryan moved to UNFPA Headquarters in New York, where he worked in the Strategic Planning Office and later in the Programme Division, contributing to the development of UNFPA's first Strategic Plan 2008—2011 and roll-out of results-based management, as well as corporate accountability and reporting systems.
In 2009, Mr. Daduryan joined the newly established Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (EECARO) as Team Coordinator, in New York initially and later moving to Istanbul. In January 2014 Mr. Daduryan was appointed as Deputy Regional Director in the same office. He has played an important role in establishing and operationalizing the new regional office.
In February 2016, Mr. Daduryan was appointed as Deputy Regional Director in the Arab States Region where UNFPA delivers humanitarian response and resilience-based programmes in complex humanitarian emergencies. His portfolio included leading and coordinating the regional team support to country offices operating in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Horn of Africa, among others.
In September 2018, Mr. Daduryan began his assignment in Syria as UNFPA Representative completing it in October 2020. Daduryan resigned from the UN in the same month and returned to his home country Armenia to reunite with his family and pursue other opportunities.
From January to August 2021 Mr. Daduryan joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia as the Adviser to the Minister on Humanitarian issues.
Sivanka Dhanapala

Sivanka Dhanapala

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 

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

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.
Head of UNMAS Syria Office

Habibulhaq Javed

Head of UNMAS Syria Office
Mr Habibulhaq Javed was appointed as Head of UNMAS in Syria in October 2018. He has more than 20 years of practical experience in management and coordination of Mine Action programmes, including within several peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan, including Darfur.
Nathan Danquah

Nathan Danquah

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.
Ryan Knox

Ryan Knox

Head Of Office
Mr. Ryan Knox assumed his duties as the Head of UN-HABITAT in the Syrian Arab Republic in March 2020. He is a specialist in local development, sustainable urban development and public service delivery. He has worked in many Arab States like Tunisia, Libya, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, where he was responsible for the EU Trust Fund (Madad). During 2012 – 16, he was MENA Representative for SKL International, the international development wing of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. He has designed and delivered projects on local public service delivery, local development and municipal capacity development. Having played the role of both donor and implementer, he is experienced in working with humanitarian, development and ‘nexus’ funding streams targeting area-based resilience and recovery. Ryan Knox has also worked in Europe, Africa and Asia, where he managed large-scale governance and urban development programmes, including for the University of Birmingham.
Ryan is a national of Sweden. He has a BSc in Geography from the University of Birmingham and MSc in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
 Sami Dimassi

Sami Dimassi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.