Caroline van Buren took up her function as UNHCR Kenya Representative in April 2022. Ms. van Buren joined UNHCR in 1993 in Geneva, Switzerland. Most recently, she held the position of UNHCR Representative in Afghanistan, and prior to that, UNHCR Representative in Somalia. She has also held various other positions with UNHCR in the USA (Washington), Bosnia, Liberia, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Hungary and Slovenia.
In 1998 and from 2004 to 2009, Ms. van Buren was on loan from UNHCR to the United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations in Sierra Leone and in Liberia, where she worked in the Rule of Law Division.
Ms. van Buren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley (1988) and a Juris Doctor Degree from Boston University School of Law (1991). She is a national of Suriname and is married to Joseph F. Brent.
Mr. Martin Gottwald took up his function as Deputy Representative on 20 April 2021. He has 28 years of professional experience, including with the European Union (European Commission, European Parliament, ECHO) in Belgium, Montenegro, and Albania; as leadership development coordinator for OCHA in Geneva; and 10 assignments with UNHCR in Guatemala, Venezuela, Colombia, Burundi, Kosovo, Malaysia, and HQ. His assignments for UNHCR included senior management positions as well as protection, durable solutions and training.
Mr. Gottwald studied law (PhD), political science (MA), senior management (post-graduate certificate) and business administration (MBA) in Austria, France, Belgium, and the UK. He also obtained professional certificates for administering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory and the HOGAN personality assessments. Equally, as a certified facilitator, he designed and facilitated strategic planning events such as the Humanitarian Coordinators and DSRSG retreats in Montreux, Switzerland.
Outside work, Mr. Gottwald has a passion for complexity science, creative writing (including academic writing), endurance sports and music. More information on his profile can be found on www.linkedin.com/in/martin-gottwald-a2a2a16
Mr. Edward Benson became Head of the Risk Management, Compliance and Quality Unit in UNHCR Kenya 5 August 2019. In this function, Mr. Benson is responsible for strengthening the operations’ systems, structures, procedures and personnel capacities to manage enterprise and operational risks including, amongst other things, the risk of fraud, corruption and exploitation.
Mr. Benson comes with over 16 years of experience with UNHCR, having served across Asia, Africa and Europe. Many of his posts have involved leadership and coordination of field operations in conflict and natural disaster settings, some high risk. He’s also held various liaison functions with State & non-state actors and his previous designation covered South-East Asia. Further details on these roles can be found at www.linkedin.com/in/edwardhbenson.
Outside the UN, he’s consulted for the Red Cross & was a Visiting Fellow at Oxford when he needed a break from frontline humanitarian work, plus time and distance to think critically about the international community’s efforts to achieve meaningful impact for affected populations. His years of work and research have shown him that while alleviation of immediate suffering is often by necessity at the forefront of our efforts, the vision must, however challenging, remain focused on solutions that allow the displaced to feel a sense of dignity, achieve self-reliance and rebuild their lives. Equally it is frequently social, political and economic factors that drive migration flows and without a collective understanding and willingness to address these will efforts to deliver viable solutions fall short of the mark.