UN appoints heads of relief agency for Palestinian refugees

10:49, January 21, 2010      

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Wednesday the appointments of commissioner- general and deputy commissioner-general for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Filippo Grandi, who is a national of Italy, will serve as commissioner-general for UNRWA and Margot B. Ellis, an American national, will serve as deputy commissioner-general.

A statement released here by Ban's spokesperson said that Grandi is a "strong advocate for the rights and dignity of Palestine refugees" and will bring to his new position "energy, leadership and understanding of humanitarian issues."

Grandi had been the deputy commissioner-general for UNRWAR since September 2005.

"Prior to joining UNRWA, Mr. Grandi distinguished himself in a variety of headquarters and field functions encompassing refugee assistance, protection, emergency management, donor relations and humanitarian and political affairs," the statement read.

Grandi once served as the UN secretary-general's deputy special representative at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

He served in various positions with the office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), including chief of mission in Afghanistan and chief of staff in the High Commissioner 's Executive office.

The new deputy-commissioner general, Ellis, has been USAID's Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia since July 2008 and has held various senior positions with USAID, including mission director in Kampala, Uganda, and deputy mission director for West Bank and Gaza, among many others.

Source: Xinhua
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