UN Secretary-General swears-in new UNON Director General
April 1, 2011
Nairobi – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia as the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).
Ms. Zewde is the first person to be appointed to the newly created position as head of the Organization’s Nairobi Office, at the Under-Secretary-General level.
In his remarks during the swearing-in ceremony, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the General Assembly for upgrading the UN office in Nairobi.
“It is now appropriate to have a person solely dedicated to UNON. Ms. Zewde, as a colleague, brings to UNON rich experience not only as a long-serving diplomat for her country, but as a world ambassador and distinguished African who knows the continent and is a renowned public servant of the United Nations,” he acknowledged.
Ms. Zewde noted: “it is a great honour for me and for the women, in particular African women. As you have seen the Secretary-General has committed himself to appointing more women to senior positions. This is a proof of this commitment not only to me but through other women colleagues who have been appointed to such positions. I know the expectations from all of you including the Secretary-General and I have no reason to fail. This is a very important and the only headquarters in the developing world and we have to make it function to be the best organization”.
She assured the Secretary-General and all invited guests that she would do whatever is possible to make the UN Headquarters in Nairobi efficient and more cohesive.
Prior to her new appointment, Ms Zewde was Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA). She has been Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). She has also served as Director General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, posts that she held since 2006.
Ms. Zewde was Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco (2002-2006). From 1993 to 2002, she served as Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), and to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea (1989-1993).
Ms. Zewde is a natural sciences graduate of the University of Montpellier, France. She is fluent in Amharic, French and English.
Born on 21 February 1950, she has two sons.