T. Alexander Aleinikoff assumes duties as Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees

T. Alexander Aleinikoff, previously dean of Georgetown University's law school, assumes his duties as UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

High Commissioner António Guterres (right) introduces the new Deputy High Commissioner T. Alexander Aleinikoff to staff.  © UNHCR/S.Hopper

GENEVA , February 1 (UNHCR) - T. Alexander Aleinikoff, previously dean of the law school at Georgetown University in the United States, on Monday assumed the duties of UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

"I am delighted to welcome Mr. Aleinikoff to UNHCR," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. "His proven leadership and rich combination of skills will significantly assist the organization in achieving its objectives."

After arriving at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva on Monday, Aleinikoff told staff he was delighted to start his duties as Deputy High Commissioner and to work with them. "The reputation of UNHCR has never been stronger, its work is recognized around the world and there are plenty of new challenges for us to tackle together," he said, adding that he would "work my hardest to continue the mission [of UNHCR] and the protection of human rights and for victims of violence and persecution around the world."

Aleinikoff had been Executive Vice President of Georgetown University and dean of the Georgetown University Law Centre since 2005 and has been a professor of law at Georgetown since 1997. He is an expert in refugee, immigration and citizenship law and policy.

Previously, Aleinikoff was General Counsel for the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in 1994-95, participating in major decisions that included reform of the US asylum process. From 1995 to 1997 he was Executive Associate Commissioner for Programmes at the INS, overseeing programme development.

While at Georgetown, Aleinikoff co-chaired the Immigration Policy Review Team for President Barack Obama's transition. He was also a consultant to the UN refugee agency for its global consultations on international protection and is well-known to many UNHCR staff.

Aleinikoff, whose appointment was announced in November, succeeds L. Craig Johnstone.