Ms Gita Sabharwal was appointed as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Thailand on 15 March 2020. Ms Sabharwal has close to three decades of development experience working across multiple country contexts in Asia. Her work has focused specifically on peacebuilding, governance and social policy, while generating and applying empirical and big data analysis to deal with emerging development challenges. Ms Sabharwal holds a master’s degree in Development Management from the University of Wales, UK and is the author of numerous policy papers on South and South-East Asia. She speaks English and Hindi.
Ms Atsuko Okuda is the Regional Director of ITU in Bangkok. Prior to the new assignment, she was the Chief of the ICT and Development Section of ESCAP in Bangkok from 2015. Ms Okuda also served the ESCWA in Beirut as the Chief of the Governance and State Building Section and as the Team Leader responsible for ESCWA Knowledge Management. Ms Okuda obtained a BA from Kyoto University, MA from Helsinki University, and is enrolled as a research fellow on e-governance at the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology. Her academic articles on broadband and AI were published by the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy.
Mr Badar Farrukh joined the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Regional Office in Thailand in 2018. He started his UN career working for the Office of the Prosecutor in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. In 2006, he joined the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal. He also worked with the United Nations African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, where he managed human rights teams. He served as a sworn police officer in the Police Service of Pakistan for 15 years attaining the designation of Senior Superintendent of Police. He holds a Master of Laws degree in Human Rights and Criminal Justice from Aberdeen University, Scotland.
Dr Daniel Kertesz has been working with the World Health Organization since 1997. Most recently, Dr Kertesz was the WHO Representative in Mozambique (2012-2016). During this period, he was deployed to serve as the WHO Representative a.i. in Sierra Leone (August 2014-March 2015) to lead WHO’s Ebola response activities within the country. Dr Kertesz is a medical doctor specialized in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He holds a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Ms Duangkamol Ponchamni is a National Programme Officer with UNFPA Thailand since 2007. Prior to UNFPA, Duangkamol was a Country Director for Handicap International, Thailand Programme, a Director for Asia and Pacific Development Communication Training Center a manager for the Safe the Children Fund (UK) on Disability Inclusion and Community Based Rehabilitation. She has consultancy experience with the Thai Government and Universities. Duangkamol is a trained social worker. She graduated from Delhi School of Social Work, University of Delhi in 1987 with bachelor degree in education (social studies) in 1984 from Srinakarinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Ms. Géraldine Ansart is the Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Thailand since October 2020. She has more than 15 years of experience in humanitarian aid and development programming. Previously she was the IOM Syria Crisis Coordinator; she led the IOM ECHO partnership team in Brussels and worked as a Migration and Development Specialist covering the Great Lakes region of Africa. Ms Ansart holds a degree in Public Law as well as Political Sciences and a master’s degree in International Administration from Sorbonne University.
Mr Giuseppe De Vincentiis has been serving as the UNHCR Representative in Thailand, to which function he was appointed in 2018. Prior taking up his assignment in Thailand, he was UNHCR Representative in Myanmar. Mr De Vincentiis has some 30 years of experience with UNHCR and has served in various roles in China, Geneva, Viet Nam, Cambodia and Iran. He was also based in Italy on secondment to UNDP. He is a lawyer by background and completed his education at the Faculty of Law at the University of Naples. Mr De Vincentiis is a citizen of Italy. He is married and has two children.
Mr Graeme Buckley has held the post of Director of the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team for East and South-East Asia and the Pacific and ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao People’s Democratic Republic since 2017. Mr Buckley began his career at the ILO as Senior Specialist on Poverty Reduction Strategies in 2006. Prior to joining the ILO, he spent seven years working as an economic advisor at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Department for International Development. Mr Buckley holds a PhD in development economics, a master’s degree in Business Administration and a first degree in economics.
Ms Isabelle Louis is the Deputy Regional Director at UNEP’s Asia and the Pacific Office. Prior to this, she was Asia Pacific Regional Director at WWF International. She has over 25 years of experience in sustainable development and natural resource management as well as in programme operations and management, multi-stakeholder and partnership engagement and multidisciplinary team management. She currently oversees UNEP’s programme of work and facilitates partnerships to support UN Member States in the Asia Pacific region. Ms Louis holds a BSc and PhD in Botany and Plant Pathology from Sheffield University in the United Kingdom and experienced a Teaching Fellowship at the National University of Singapore and a Post Doctorate Fellowship at Harvard University.
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Mr Kim, a national of the Republic of Korea, has a long and distinguished career in public service. He joined FAO in 2013 as Director of South-South Cooperation and Resource Mobilization Division and immediately prior to his present appointment, he had been serving as FAO’s Deputy Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Thailand. Just prior to joining FAO, Mr Kim served as the Deputy Minister for Trade at the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MIFAFF) in the Republic of Korea (2010 to 2013). Mr Kim was awarded a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University in the United States, and holds a Bachelor of Economics from Korea University.
Mr Julien Garsany is the UNODC Deputy Regional Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific. He is supporting countries respond to organized crime, terrorism, corruption, financial crimes, trafficking in human beings, arms and drugs, and strengthen criminal justice, and prevention and treatment of drug use and HIV/AIDS. From 2014-2018, he was the Deputy Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa in Egypt. Mr Garsany has a master’s degree in Defence, International Security and Economic Intelligence from the Nice - Sophia Antipolis University and another master’s in advanced international studies from the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Mr Garsany is a French citizen.
Ms Kyungsun Kim is the UNICEF Representative in Thailand since in January 2021. Prior to this, she served as the UNICEF Representative in Panama. Between 2012 and 2016, Ms Kim served as a Senior Advisor at UNICEF in New York, managing external relations and partnerships. Until 2012, Ms Kim served in Khartoum, Sudan, as Senior Programme Specialist with UNICEF. Before joining UNICEF in 2001 as a Junior Professional Officer, Ms Kim worked for the Korea Foundation supporting research on the peacebuilding between the two Koreas. She has a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. Ms Kim is a Korean national who is married with two daughters and a son.
Ms Patchara Benjarattanaporn assumed the position of UNAIDS Country Director for Thailand since 1 August 2017. Previously, she served as Strategic Information Adviser at UNAIDS Thailand Country Office. Prior to joining the UN, Ms Benjarattanaporn worked with various international organizations; USAID Regional Development Mission, Population Council/Regional Office and Family Health International /Regional Office, managing strategic information and regional HIV-related activities in Myanmar, China, Laos, Thailand and Papua New Guinea. Ms Benjarattanaporn holds a Doctoral degree in Demography and a Master's degree in Population and Social Research. She is a Thai national.
Mr Renaud Meyer started his assignment as UNDP Resident Representative to Thailand in March 2019. Prior to that, Mr Meyer served as the Country Director for UNDP Nepal from January 2015. Before joining the United Nations, Mr Meyer worked in Tunisia for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A French citizen, Renaud holds a Master’s in International Relations and Development Studies from the University of Strasbourg and graduated from the Institut D’Etudes Politiques of Strasbourg. He also completed a one-year programme of studies at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
Ms Samina Kadwani heads the UNOPS Multi-Country Office out of Bangkok, which oversees Thailand, Indonesia and the Pacific Countries. Ms Kadwani has been with UNOPS for over 20 years and has held several positions with the organisation in the areas of programme management, business development and client relationship management covering several geographical areas including New York, Copenhagen, Geneva and Bangkok. Ms Kadwani is a certified project management specialist with vast experience in managing large programmes and has studied in India and the US.
Ms Sarah Knibbs has been working in the Asia Pacific region for the last 25 years, with a range of organisations including UN Women, UNFPA, DFID China, Save the Children Fund, VSO and the Khmer HIV/AIDS NGO Alliance. Her work has focused on gender, violence against women, HIV, youth issues, and sexual and reproductive health and rights. Ms Knibbs joined UN Women Cambodia in 2014 and has been the acting Country Representative since January 2018. Sarah is from the UK and studied History at Oxford for her first degree, later taking an MSc in Development Management specialising in Population and Reproductive Health at the University of Wales Swansea.
Ms Shalina Miah is the Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific of the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme. Previously, she was leading the Partnerships Unit in UNV in Bonn. Shalina joined UNV after serving as the Regional Office Manager for UNCDF in Bangkok. Prior to joining UNCDF, Shalina held the position of Co-Financing Agreements Specialist in UNDP in New York. Before joining the UN, she served as Legal Counsel in Manila at the Asian Development Bank and in Washington DC at the World Bank. Shalina has over 20 years of experience both in the private sector and multilateral organizations. Shalina holds three Master’s degrees in: International Trade Law from King’s College University; European Business Law from La Sorbonne in Paris, France; and, Corporate Law from University Catholique of Louvain in Belgium.
Mr Shigeru Aoyagi is the Director of the UNESCO Office in Bangkok and Representative to Thailand, Myanmar, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Singapore. He has been associated with UNESCO since 1984 through educational and cultural programmes of the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre. Mr Aoyagi joined the UNESCO in 2002 as Chief of the Literacy and Non-Formal Education in Paris. Mr Aoyagi was Director of the UNESCO Office in Kabul and Representative to Afghanistan. He initiated a large scale literacy project of Empowerment of Literacy in Afghanistan. In 2012, Mr Aoyagi took up the post of Director of the UNESCO Office in New Delhi, and Representative to India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. He led the development of SAARC Framework for Action for Education 2030.
Mr Stein R. Hansen is an Economist who has been working in international development for 27 years. Since February 2017, he is the Regional Director and Representative of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization Regional Office in Bangkok, Thailand, where he also represents UNIDO in the UNSDG Asia Pacific Regional Directors group, and the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism. Stein R. Hansen holds a Master of Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University with focus on international development. He is also a Senior Executive Fellow of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He is married and has three children.
Ms Sylvie Bétemps Cochin is a Senior Trade Promotion Officer, Office for Asia and The Pacific, at the International Trade Centre (ITC). Sylvie has more than 19 years of experience in international trade development, project design and management, fundraising, trade-related technical assistance and trade capacity building in Asia and Africa. Previously, she was the Adviser for a large regional trade and economic integration programme in Africa. She was also responsible for managing regional projects, supporting south-south trade promotion, institutional strengthening and the competitiveness of small and medium sized enterprises in Asia and Africa. Sylvie has a master degree from the Institute of Political Economy, France.
As a Sustainable Urbanization Specialist with UN-Habitat, Mr Tam Hoang supports UN inter-agency collaboration in Asia and the Pacific region. Presently, the main focus of his work is supporting interventions on resilience, transport and urban planning, while also strengthening non-health HLP and WASH policies in the context of COVID-19. Prior to joining UN-Habitat, he worked for UNESCO in Indonesia, as well as, supporting UN DRR. Mr Hoang completed his BA (Hons) in Engineering and BA in Commerce from the University of Sydney; while holding post-graduate qualifications in Disaster Risk Management from Fiji National University, as well as, Education and Training from Swinburne University of Technology.
Mr. Timothy Wilcox is currently the manager of UNDRR activities in South-East Asia and was the former Head of Office for UNDRR’s Sub-Regional Office for the Pacific based in Suva, Fiji for five years. Prior to this, he served in the Australian Aid Program for many years managing Australian disaster mitigation, response, and recovery efforts in the Pacific. He also managed humanitarian policy, disaster risk reduction, regional pandemic and health programs. Familiar with the diverse challenges of natural hazards and disasters, he also served for seven years in the emergency services in Australia and holds qualifications in both Emergency Management and Human Services.