UNHCR names academic as new deputy high commissioner

News Stories, 2 December 2009

© Georgetown Law
T. Alexander Aleinikoff, who was appointed as UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

GENEVA, December 2 (UNHCR) T. Alexander Aleinikoff, dean of the law school at Georgetown University in the United States and previously a senior official in the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), was named on Wednesday as the new United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

"Mr. Aleinikoff brings a rich combination of skills and experience that will serve refugees and UNHCR extremely well," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres

"His career involves work for government in managerial and advisory capacities, serving on intergovernmental bodies on migration and human rights issues and managing the largest law school in the United States," Guterres said. "He was previously involved with UNHCR for its Global Consultations on international protection and is already well-known to many in our organization."

Aleinikoff, who is expected to take up his post on February 1 next year, succeeds L. Craig Johnstone. His appointment, in consultation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, was announced following an extensive search and interviews with several candidates.

"I am honoured to be joining UNHCR, an organization I have admired for many years. I look forward to contributing to UNHCR's work on behalf of more than 34 million refugees, internally displaced and other persons of concern around the world," said Aleinikoff.

Since 2005, the academic has been Executive Vice President of Georgetown University and Dean of the Georgetown University Law Centre. As such, he oversees all aspects of the law centre's operations and advises on university-wide programmes. He has been a professor of law at Georgetown since 1997.

From 1995 to 1997, Aleinikoff served as Executive Associate Commissioner for Programmes at the INS, overseeing programme development. Prior to that, he was general counsel for the INS from 1994 to 1995, participating in major decisions that included reform of the US asylum process.

While at Georgetown, Aleinikoff co-chaired the Immigration Policy Review Team for President Barack Obama's transition.

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