Senior Executive Team
The Senior Executive Team (SET) brings together the most senior leaders within UNHCR.
Drawing on their expertise in protection, operations and management, its members advise the High Commissioner on matters of strategic importance, both to support his decision making on high-level political analysis and to strengthen his capacity to provide strategic direction to the organization.
SET members share responsibility for the implementation of the decisions taken by the High Commissioner and play a critical role in supporting the overall institutional coherence and maintaining unity of purpose across the management structure.
The SET comprises the High Commissioner, the Deputy High Commissioner, the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations and the Chef de Cabinet. Additional senior staff members may be invited to join the SET to share their expertise on a particular topic of relevance. The High Commissioner chairs the SET and may request that it convene in his absence to deliberate on specific issues and to provide their collective advice for his final decision.
Kelly T. Clements, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
Kelly T. Clements joined UNHCR as Deputy High Commissioner on 6 July 2015. Clements has been closely involved with refugee and displacement issues throughout her three decade career.
Before joining UNHCR, Clements was a member of the Senior Executive Service, serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) where she was responsible for humanitarian issues in Asia and the Middle East and global policy and budget. In 2014, she was Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon.
From 1993 to 1996, Clements served at the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on a Foreign Service appointment. She was Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs in 1997-1998. Clements served as a Senior Emergency Officer for Europe, the Newly Independent States, and the Americas, and later as Balkans Assistance Coordinator; she was deployed to Albania in 1999. She worked for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangladesh in 1992.
Clements holds a B.A. in International Studies and an M.A. in Urban Affairs from Virginia Tech, USA. She is a national of the United States of America.
Statements by the Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
Raouf Mazou, Assistant High Commissioner for Operations
Raouf Mazou took up his appointment as UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations on 1 February 2020, having joined the organisation in 1991. His various assignments have enabled him to garner expertise in such areas as emergency response, repatriation, and the development of strategies aimed at bridging the gap between relief and development.
Mazou previously served as Director of UNHCR’s Africa Bureau in 2019 and as UNHCR Representative in Kenya for over five years. In the four years immediately preceding this assignment, he was a Deputy Director in the Africa Bureau, covering the East and Horn of Africa. Other senior positions he has held at UNHCR include Deputy Director of the Division of Operations Support and Head of the Emergency and Security Service, a role in which he oversaw the organization’s global emergency management and staff security interests.
Mazou joined UNHCR in 1991 in the Great Lakes Region and subsequently served in West Africa, supporting the agency’s response to the Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugee crises. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. He is fluent in English and French.
Statements by the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations
UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection
Gillian Triggs is a UN Assistant Secretary-General and Assistant High Commissioner for Protection with UNHCR, taking up her appointment in September 2019. She is a public international lawyer who has held a number of appointments in service to human rights and the refugee cause, including as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Gillian oversees UNHCR’s protection work in support of millions of refugees, asylum-seekers, those who have been forcibly displaced within their own country and stateless.
A dual national of Britain and Australia, Gillian has held a number of leadership roles, including as Director of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, President of the Asian Development Bank Administrative Tribunal, Chair of the UN Independent Expert Panel of Inquiry into Abuse of Office and Harassment in UNAIDS, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Challis Professor (Emerita) of International Law at the University of Sydney, and Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne.
Gillian has supported many not-for-profit groups, including most recently as Chair of Justice Connect, that connects 10,000 lawyers to provide pro bono advice to asylum-seekers and others needing legal support. She is also the author of many books and papers on international law, including ‘International Law: Contemporary Principles and Practice, (2nd ed. 2011) and Speaking Up (2018).
In July 2021 Gillian was awarded a Ruth Bader Ginsberg Inaugural Medal of Honour in recognition of her fight for the rule of law and gender equality.
Statements by the Assistant High Commissioner for Protection