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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
3 April 2005

Press Release No. HQ/G/10/2005
3 April 2005

Karen Koning AbuZayd Named Acting
Commissioner-General of UNRWA


Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has named Karen Koning AbuZayd as Acting Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

Ms. AbuZayd, who has been UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General since August 2000, will hold the post until a successor to Peter Hansen is found. Mr Annan told Ms AbuZayd: “These are challenging times for UNRWA. I am, however, confident that with the support of your able staff, you will carry out the responsibilities of running UNRWA during this interim period with success and unflinching dedication.”

As UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General, Ms. AbuZayd has had a key role in the Agency’s response to the humanitarian emergency caused by the conflict in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since late 2000. She has also been leading the evolution of the Agency’s relationship with donors and other stakeholders.

Before joining UNRWA Ms AbuZayd, an American national, worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for 19 years. In that time she worked on emergencies across Africa, was UNHCR’s chief of mission in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war and was Chef de Cabinet to High Commissioner Sadako Ogata and Regional representative for the US and Caribbean.

Previous to the UN, Ms. AbuZayd lectured in Political Science and Islamic Studies at Makerere University in Uganda and at Juba University in Southern Sudan. She is married to a Sudanese Professor and has two children.

The next Commissioner-General of UNRWA will be appointed by the Secretary-General. Letters have been sent to all member states of the United Nations requesting nominations.


For more information please call Paul McCann on 08 677 7526

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