Ms. Fathiaa Abdalla comes with three decades of experience having held senior leadership positions in UNHCR, UNICEF, Save the Children, OXFAM and MSF, in HQ, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Ms. Abdalla was appointed as Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kenya on 13 February 2019. Prior to this she served as the UNHCR Representative to Afghanistan. Other senior positions she has held in UNHCR include: Deputy Representative for UNHCR in Iran and Yemen, and Head of Operations in Western Sahara.
Having served UNHCR since the year 2000 in various capacities both in Headquarters and the field Ms. Abdalla has managed diverse portfolios, provided able leadership and a practical, results- oriented approach in complex and demanding operations. She has built strong relationships with government interlocutors and others; consistently pursuing solutions in periods of political uncertainty and volatile security environments.
Ms. Abdalla was educated in Khartoum, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. She holds a M.Sc from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University, United Kingdom.
Ms. Ivana Unluova took up the position as the Assistant Representative (Programme) with UNHCR Kenya in December 2016, following five years with the operation in the capacity of Senior Programme Officer. Between 2008 and 2011, she was the Manager of the Common Humanitarian Fund with UN OCHA Somalia. In her other assignments with UNHCR since 1997, she served in programme management capacity with UNHCR Somalia and Tanzania, as well as in External Relations function with UNHCR Europe Bureau, including in the Kosovo operation.
Prior to joining UNHCR, Ms. Unluova had worked with the Government of Norway, Directorate for Immigration, as Senior Executive for local integration and also voluntary return programming for refugees.
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.