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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
6 January 2015




06 January 2015
East Jerusalem

الأمين العام يعين ساندرا ميتشيل لمنصب نائب المفوض العام للأونروا

UNRWA welcomes the appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of Sandra Mitchell as Assistant Secretary-General to serve as Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She will replace Margot Ellis.

The Secretary-General and UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl expressed their gratitude for Ms. Ellis’ dedicated service to the Palestine refugees over the past five years, in particular for her leadership in implementing the UNRWA mandate in Syria.

Ms. Mitchell brings to the position a wealth of senior-level experience, as well as previous experience with UNRWA. Currently the Vice-President of International Programs of the International Rescue Committee, she looks back at nearly 20 years of experience in international peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian and electoral field missions, including seven years within the United Nations system. She also held senior management roles at UNRWA from 2011 to 2013; first as the Director of UNRWA Operations in Jordan and later as Chief of Staff. Previously she spent four years as Director of Elections with UNAMI in Iraq.

Welcoming the Secretary-General’s appointment, Commissioner-General Krähenbühl stated, “Ms. Mitchell’s long-year experience in the humanitarian field, including four years with UNRWA, will be invaluable in the challenging times that lie ahead. As a team, we very much look forward to drawing on this experience and welcome her to the UNRWA family.” Reacting to her appointment, Ms. Mitchell said, “I am very excited at the prospect of returning to work for UNRWA as Deputy Commissioner-General and am grateful to be given the chance to contribute to the very important and rewarding work of the Agency at this time.”

Ms. Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Washington State University and a Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law.

Born in 1962, she is married.


UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 35 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 240 2659
+972 (0)2 589 0267 sends e-mail)

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
+972 (0)54 216 8295
+972 (0)2 589 0724

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