Mireille Girard, Representative
Mireille Girard has served as Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon since July 2015. Prior to taking up her assignment in Lebanon, she served as Representative for UNHCR in Thailand and South Sudan.
Mireille’s career in UNHCR spans over 24 years and includes a range of functions both at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in country operations in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Mireille specializes in international protection and emergency humanitarian responses.
Mireille Girard graduated in Public International Law, Political Sciences, and Asian Studies. She speaks French, English, Chinese and Spanish.
Karolina Lindholm Billing, Deputy Representative (Protection)
Karolina Lindholm Billing has served as Deputy Representative (Protection) for UNHCR in Lebanon since January 2017. She has worked for UNHCR since 1999 in various management, legal and protection policy functions, in field operations and at Headquarters.
Her latest assignments in UNHCR include Deputy Regional Representative in Northern Europe, Senior Protection Officer in Zambia, and Senior Liaison Officer (Human Rights) in the Division of International Protection at UNHCR’s Headquarters.
Karolina holds a Master in Law degree, with a specialization in human rights and refugee law from the University of Stockholm. She speaks Swedish and English, and basic French, and is married with three children.
Emmanuel Gignac, Deputy Representative (Operations)
Emmanuel Gignac is Deputy Representative (Operations) for UNHCR in Lebanon since October 2016. He has cumulated close to 25 years of experience working on refugee issues and with UNHCR in a variety of situations and countries throughout the world.
His latest functions in UNHCR include Emergency Coordinator in Serbia (2015), Operation Manager and Coordinator for northern Iraq (2014-2015), Chief of Mission in Libya (2011-2014), Senior Emergency Coordinator in Pakistan (2010-2011) and Deputy Representative (Operations) in Chad (2008-2010).
Emmanuel holds a Master’s in Philosophy and a Diploma of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences from universities in Montreal and Paris respectively.
He is Canadian, and speaks French, English and Spanish. Emmanuel is married and has three children.
Laura Almirall has served as the Head of the Mount Lebanon Field Office since July 2016. Laura has 20 years of experience working on refugee issues and human rights. Prior to taking her assignment in Lebanon, she served with UNHCR in the Regional Office for Southern Africa (2006-2009) and in Pakistan (2009-2005) in various protection functions. Before joining UNHCR, she worked with the United Nations Mission for Guatemala (2003-2000) and with the Irish Refugee Council in Dublin (2000-1997).
Laura is a law graduate from the University of Barcelona and holds a Master in International Peace Studies from Trinity College Dublin. She speaks Spanish, Catalan and English. Laura lives in Beirut with her husband and three sons.
Cameron Rashleigh has served as the Head of Field Office at UNHCR Tyre, South Lebanon since January 2018. Cameron has worked with UNHCR since 2007 in a range of functions at UNHCR’s Headquarters, and in country and field operations in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa, including the emergency responses in Tunisia and South Sudan.
Prior to taking up his assignment in Lebanon, Cameron worked on protection and national security issues with the Division of International Protection at UNHCR’s Headquarters, and on asylum and legal issues at UNHCR’s Regional Office for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
Ita Schuette has served as the Head of UNHCR’s Office in North Lebanon since November 2016. She has been actively involved in displacement issues for over 20 years. After working with an NGO in the USA on the resettlement of refugees, Ita joined the UNHCR office in Washington D.C., and was later appointed to serve in crisis areas including Darfur, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Yemen.
Ita attended university in Germany and China, and holds an MA in History and East Asian Studies.
Josep Zapater has served as the Head of the Bekaa Sub-office for UNHCR since July 2016. Previously, he served in several field operations and at Headquarters. His latest assignments have included Head of Field Office in Pasto (Colombia), Protection Officer in Herat (Afghanistan), Senior Protection Officer in the Division of International Protection at UNHCR’s Headquarters in Geneva, Protection Cluster Coordinator in the Central African Republic and Head of Sub-office in Bertoua, Cameroon.
Josep holds bachelor degrees in Philosophy and International Relations, as well as a postgraduate diploma in International Humanitarian Law. He speaks Catalan, Spanish, French, English and Persian.