Ayaki Ito, Representative
Ayaki Ito joined UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Lebanon as Representative on 25 January 2021. Prior to taking up his assignment in Lebanon, Ayaki served as Representative for UNHCR in Syria.
Ayaki’s career in UNHCR spans over 29 years and includes a wide range of functions both at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and in country operations on the Asian, African, European and Middle Eastern continents.
Ayaki graduated in International Human Rights Law. He speaks Japanese, English and French.
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.
Ioli Kimyachi, Deputy Representative (Operations)
Ioli Kimyachi joined UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in Lebanon as Deputy Representative (Operations) in January 2021. Ioli has 37 years of experience working for the United Nations. She has worked for UNHCR since 1993 in various field Operations and at Headquarters. Her latest assignments in UNHCR include Representative in Burkina Faso, Representative in Ghana, Deputy Representative in Liberia and Chief of the Career Management Support Section at UNHCR’s headquarters.
Prior joining UNHCR, she has worked at the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination for Afghanistan (UNOCA) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ioli holds a University Diploma in Technology from the University Institute of Technology in Strasbourg, France and a First Certificate of Cambridge in English Language and Computer from Bletchington Park College in the United Kingdom. She speaks Greek, Turkish, English, French and Spanish.
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 and in Pakistan in various protection functions. Before joining UNHCR, she worked with the United Nations Mission for Guatemala and with the Irish Refugee Council in Ireland.
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.
Francis Teoh is the Head of Field Office in Tyre since August 2020.
He joined UNHCR as a Field Officer in Saudi Arabia 1992-95 in the aftermath of the 1st Gulf War. He then moved on to the next crises in the Balkans as Resettlement Officer in Serbia 1995-98 and Head of FO in Kosovo 1998-2000. He also served inTurkey as Senior Durable Solutions Officer 2001-05; Senior Protection Officer in Bangladesh 2006-08; Senior Regional Protection Officer in Indonesia and China 2008-15. From 2016, he assumed the role of Representative in China before joining the Afghanistan operation in 2018 as Sr. Operations Manager prior to his arrival in Lebanon.
Francis has also led three emergency deployments as the Team Leader at the Turkish/Iraqi border, Darfur and in Aceh during the Asian Tsunami response. With a career spanning some 27 years, he brings to the team a rich UNHCR experience having worked in various operations in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Anne Dolan is the Head of the Tripoli Sub-Office: Anne joined UNHCR in 1999, as Associate Repatriation Officer in Monrovia, Liberia. Since then, she has had a varied career. She worked in Sierra Leone as Associate Field Officer and then became Head of Office in Tabou, Cote D’Ivoire, and later in Kibuye, Rwanda.
She worked as Programme Officer in Kabul, Afghanistan, and then as Senior Donor Relations Officer in UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva. In 2014, she worked in the Lebanon operation as Snr. External Relations Officer, which she continued in Amman. For the last four years she was Head of Office, first in Suleimaniyah, followed by Duhok, Iraq, before joining the Lebanon operation in June 2019.
Gwendoline Mensah joined the Lebanon operation as the Head of Sub-Office Zahle in August 2020.
Gwendoline has 15 years of experience with UNHCR in a variety of operations, including in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Gwendoline has a protection background, having served, as Repatriation Officer in the Republic of Congo, Field Officer (Protection) in Central African Republic, Head of Mogadishu Office/Senior Protection Officer in Somalia, Protection Cluster Coordinator in Afghanistan, Senior Protection Officer in Pakistan, and Assistant Representative (Protection) in Yemen.
Prior to joining UNHCR, Gwendoline worked as a Solicitor in a corporate law firm in the City in London.