Our Team in Lebanon

Joanna Wronecka

Joanna Wronecka

UNSCOL
Special Coordinator for Lebanon
 
 
Joanna Wronecka of Poland is the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Lebanon. She has over 25 years of experience in diplomacy, international security and Middle East affairs. Ms. Wronecka holds a Ph.D. in Arabic philosophy and a master’s degree in Arabic philology from the University of Warsaw and is fluent in Arabic, English, French and Polish.
Najat Rochdi

Najat Rochdi

UN
Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator
 
 
Najat Rochdi is the current UN Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon since the 1st of August 2020. Rochdi brings over 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas, including through her latest assignment as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy for Syria and Director of Peer to Peer with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva.
Abdallah Alwardat (WFP)

Abdallah Alwardat

WFP
Country director
Mr Abdallah Alwardat is the Country Director and Representative of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) office in Lebanon. Abdallah has worked with WFP for 21 years. He has a long-standing and diverse experience working most recently on a regional level, as well as in emergency and development contexts in some of WFP’s most challenging operations including Iraq, Algeria, South Sudan, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Asma Kurdahi (UNFPA)

Asma Kurdahi

UNFPA
Head of UNFPA's Office in Lebanon
 
Asma Kurdahi, a Lebanese national, is UNFPA’s Head of Office in Lebanon. Since 1995, Asma has been advocating for UNFPA’s mandate with a wide range of stakeholders for advancing the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, namely promoting access to reproductive and sexual health services and information with focus on young people, gender equality and empowerment of women, prevention and response to gender-based violence and supporting the integration of population dimensions in development.
Ayaki Ito

Ayaki Ito

UNHCR
Representative
Ayaki Ito has joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon on 25 January 2021. Prior to taking up his assignment in Lebanon, he served as Representative for UNHCR in Syria. His career in UNHCR spans over 29 years and includes a wide range of functions both at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in country operations on the Asian, African, European and Middle Eastern continents. Ayaki Ito graduated in International Human Rights Law. He speaks Japanese, English and French.
Claudio Cordone (UNRWA)

Claudio Cordone

UNRWA
Director
Claudio Cordone is the Director of UNRWA Affairs, Lebanon, since 2017. He joined UNRWA after serving in 2013-2017 as Director of the Human Rights, Transitional Justice and Rule of Law Division at the UN Support Mission in Libya as well as Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the country. Mr. Cordone is an Italian national and holds degrees in Law and Middle East studies.
Costanza Farina

Costanza Farina

UNESCO
Director
 
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. Prior to this, Farina was the UNESCO Representative in Jordan and performed as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Jordan as well as in 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.
Edouard Beigbeder

Edouard Beigbeder

UNICEF
UNICEF Representative in Lebanon
 
Edouard Beigbeder is the UNICEF Representative in Lebanon. For more than 20 years, Edouard Beigbeder has worked to improve the rights of children and women across the world. Prior to his appointment in Lebanon in 2022, Beigbeder served as UNICEF Representative in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2019-2022), in Bangladesh (2014-2019) and Haiti (2012-2014). From 2009 to 2012, he managed the 13 field offices of UNICEF India.
Edouard Beigbeder has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a Master’s degree in Organization and Management of Production. He is a dual national of Serbia and France.
Emmanuel Kalenzi

Emmanuel Kalenzi

UNIDO
Representative and Head of Regional Office for Jordan, Lebanon and Syria
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.
Etienne Careme

Etienne Careme

FAO
FAO Representative ad interim in Lebanon
 
Etienne is currently the acting Representative of FAO in Lebanon as well the Liaison and Resilience Officer. He joined FAO in January 2000 and has over 20 years of experience in humanitarian and development work, and more than 15 years of experience in coordination in the food security and agriculture sector. Previously, he acted as Adviser at the International Cooperation Agency of the Government of Belgium, before setting up an international NGO, Fundesco. Etienne is a Belgian national and has a Bachelor's degree in Marketing and a Master's degree in Cooperation and Development from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.
Holger Floerkemeier

Holger Floerkemeier

IMF
Director of METAC
 
Prior to joining METAC in September 2021, Holger Floerkemeier was Deputy Director of the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development, leading the Regional Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) team. Having joined the International Monetary Fund in 2002, he has held positions in the African, the European, and the Middle East and Central Asian Departments. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and, before joining the IMF, taught empirical economic research at the University of Freiburg, Germany.
Iman Shankiti (WHO)

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.
Lt Col Khitu DUKPA

Lt Col Khitu DUKPA

UNTSO
Chief UNTSO
 
Lt Col Khitu DUKPA is a military Officer with 27 years of service in the Royal Bhutan Army. He has served in the Royal Body Guards providing protection and security to the VVIPs, and foreign dignitaries. He also served as a Military Liaison Officer in UNMISS in 2016. He received his Senior Command from the Army War College in India, and Senior Executive and Military leadership program in Bhutan. Lt Col Khitu DUKPA has a BA from the National Defence Academy, India.
Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz

Major General Aroldo Lázaro Sáenz

UNIFIL
Head of Mission and Force Commander
 
Major General Aroldo Lázaro has a long and distinguished career in the Spanish Army since 1986 and has held multiple command positions. He also has extensive international experience, with UNPROFOR, SFOR and EUFOR. He served three times with UNIFIL in 2011, 2013 and 2016. His military education includes Armored Units Command course, Airborne/Paratroopers Units Command course and Spanish Army and Joint Staff course. He has academic training in the field of diplomacy, peace and security.
Marguerite El Helou (UNIC Beirut)

Marguerite El Helou

UNIC
Director, UNIC Beirut
 
Marguerite El Helou has more than 20 years of experience in public information, communications and international relations, acquired at the United Nations and in the private sector. She has been leading the UN Information Centre in her capacity as Director since August 2018. She has led complex communications campaigns while also developing and implementing strategies for communicating key United Nations messages in the region. A national of Lebanon, she holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture engineering from the American University of Beirut. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French.
Mathieu Luciano (IOM)

Mathieu Luciano

IOM
Head of Office
Mathieu Luciano is IOM’s Head of Office in Lebanon since March 2021. He was previously in charge of IOM's global migrant protection policy and programming based in Geneva, with a focus on vulnerable migrants. Mathieu has held other policy and programme positions for IOM in the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa based in Egypt, as well as Indonesia and Belgium. He holds a Master's degree in Corporate Social Development and Employment Policies from Sciences Po Paris.
Melanie Hauenstein

Melanie Hauenstein

UNDP
Resident Representative in Lebanon
 
 
Ms. Melanie Hauenstein is currently serving as UNDP Resident Representative in Lebanon. Prior to that she served as Regional Adviser in UNDP’s Arab States Bureau in New York, where she managed the country desks for Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Libya and the Maghreb. She holds an MSc in Population and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and studied international politics, sociology and economics in Regensburg, Leipzig and Paris.
Mohamed Khafagi (UNDSS)

Mohamed Khafagi

UNDSS
Director
 
Mr. Mohamed Khafagi worked in different capacities during his former job with the Government of Egypt in the area of national and state security for more than 20 years. He has a vast experience in crisis management and particularly in the area of hostage negotiation that helped him in few critical cases in the UN, of which resulted in the safe release of the UN staff members in a very complex hostage-taken incidents. He has graduated for the Egyptian Police Academy in 1988 with bachelor’s in law, and has a Master’s degree in crisis management.

Muhammad Usman Akram

UNOPS
Director
 
Mr. Muhammad Usman Akram holds a Master degree in Economics and has over 20 years of experience in the UN system and non-governmental organizations in the humanitarian and development sector. Prior to joining UNOPS, Mr. Akram fulfilled different positions, acting Head of the RCO for Iraq and Regional Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor for UNDP, serving the Arab States Region and the Europe. Mr. Akram has been the Head of Programme at UNOPS and since January 2019, he has been the Director for the Operational Hub in Amman.
Natalie Sarafian photo

Natalie Sarafian

RCO
Team Leader
 
Natalie joined the Resident Coordinator’s Office as the Team Leader in March 2020. Prior to that, Natalie has worked with IMMAP on supporting holistic urban information and analysis for improved planning, targeting and monitoring of interventions. She has also worked with the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator’s Office for Lebanon as Coordination Officer. Natalie is a Canadian national and holds an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Rachel Dore-Weeks

Rachel Dore Weeks

UN Women
Head of UN Women Lebanon
Rachel Dore-Weeks was appointed as the Head of UN Women Lebanon in March 2019, joining the Country Team from UN Women’s Regional Office in Cairo where she served as UN Women’s Deputy Regional Director ai from mid-2018. Dore-Weeks has worked for UN Women for 11 years, and on issues of peace and security for 16 years, including in Afghanistan, Rwanda, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt (regional) and now Lebanon.
Renée Sabbagh (UNODC)

Renee Sabbagh

UNODC
Head of UNODC Office in Lebanon
Since October 2020, Renée Sabbagh is the Head of UNODC Lebanon. She's also the National Programme Officer and has been working with UNODC since 1999. Her expertise revolves around providing technical assistance on criminal justice and prison reform to the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior within the framework of the Regional Programme for the Arab States (2016 to 2021). Renée holds a Master’s degree in social work from the “Université Saint Joseph” in Beirut.
Rosaria Bruno

Rosaria Bruno

OCHA
Head of Office
 
 
 
Rosaria deployed on surge as Head of Office in February. She has joined OCHA in 2008 where she covered several managerial positions in complex settings (Sudan, Haiti, Syria, Whole of Syria Crisis, Central African Republic) and Geneva (with a focus on the Middle East). Prior to joining OCHA, Rosaria has worked for Medecins Sans Frontieres in Chad and Ivory Coast, UN peacekeeping and political missions (Sudan and Geneva) and UNDP (Jordan). She holds a MA from Sciences-Po Paris on international development and a MA from the University of Triste in international diplomacy.
Roueida El Hage (OHCHR)

Roueida El Hage

OHCHR
Regional Representative
 
Roueida El Hage is the Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa Region, based in Beirut. She has 21 years of experience in human rights, including 14 years with the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA) in MENA, Asia, and Africa. She has extensive experience in particular in relation to monitoring and reporting, capacity building and legislative reforms. She holds Master degrees in Law and Fine Arts.
Ruba Jaradat (ILO)

Ruba Jaradat

ILO
Regional Director
 
Ruba Jaradat is the ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Arab States. Since she assumed her current post at the ILO in November 2015, the Regional Office has seen over an 8-fold increase in its Development Cooperation portfolio budget, as well as the development and signing-into-force of six Decent Work Country Programmes and the expansion of its policy-related support to constituents across the region. She holds a PhD in Management and International Development from the UK.
Sami Dimassi (UNEP)

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.
Saroj Kumar Jha (World Bank)

Saroj Kumar Jha

World Bank
Regional Director for Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Syria
Saroj Kumar Jha is the World Bank Regional Director for Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Jordan and Syria, since July 2017. Before his appointment, Saroj was Senior Director of the Fragility, Conflict and Violence Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Earlier, he was the Bank’s Regional Director for Central Asia and also served as the Global Manager for the Disaster Risk Management Practice and as Head of the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), which he founded in 2006.
Taina Christiansen

Taina Christiansen

UN-Habitat
Head of UN-Habitat Office in Lebanon
Taina Christiansen assumed leadership of UN-Habitat’s Country Programme in September 2019. She previously served at UN-Habitat’s Headquarters in Nairobi, where she worked in the Office of the Executive Director and later in External Relations, as well as peacekeeping missions in Mali and DR Congo, and UNAIDS and ITC in Geneva. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations and a MA in International Peace Studies. She has one daughter.
Yeran Kejijian (UNV)

Yeran Kejijian

UNV
Country Coordinator
Yeran Kejijian (Lebanon) took up her appointment as the Country Coordinator of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme in Lebanon in 2017. She has contributed to the gradual expansion of the programme in Lebanon making it one of the largest in the Arab States and the MENA region in terms of number of mobilised UN Volunteers. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School of Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. She completed her undergraduate degree in Business Administration at Université Saint Joseph (Beirut).