Press Release
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


22 January 1996

VIENNA, 22 January (UNRWA) -- Peter Hansen, of Denmark, today assumed his post as Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He succeeds Ilter Turkmen, of Turkey, who retires after five years as the Agency's Commissioner-General.

As Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Mr. Hansen heads the largest United Nations agency in terms of staff. The 22,000 employees of UNRWA, almost entirely Palestinian, provide education, health, relief and social services to more than 3.2 million registered Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Hansen, 54, comes to UNRWA from the United Nations Secretariat in New York, where he has served as Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator since March 1994. He was Executive Director of the Commission on Global Governance, Geneva (1992-1994). He has also served, since 1993, as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the Ad hoc Liaison Committee established to follow up the Washington Conference in support of the Middle East peace process. In addition, he has undertaken official missions to UNRWA's area of operations on a number of occasions, at the request of the Secretary-General.

Mr. Hansen was the Executive Director of the then United Nations Centre on Transnational Corporations (1985-1992); Assistant Secretary-General for Programme Planning and Coordination (1978-1985); and the Secretary-General's representative to the Food Aid and Policies Committee of the World Food Programme (1990-1992).

During his tenure at the United Nations, he has served as team leader of the United Nations 1992 mission to Somalia; Chairman of the Consultative Committee on Substantive Questions of the Administrative Committee on Coordination and of the Appointment and Promotion Board; and a member of the Programme Budgeting Board.
Mr. Hansen has, since 1978, been on leave from his professorship of international relations at Odense University, Denmark, and was previously Chairman of the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University.

Mr. Hansen studied in Denmark and the United States. He completed his graduate and post-graduate work at Aarhus University in 1966. He is the author of several books and numerous articles in scholarly journals.

Born in Denmark on 2 June 1941, Mr. Hansen is married and has three children.

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*This release supersedes Press Release SG/A/573-BIO/2839 of 11 February 1994.

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