Bringing 29 years of experience to the United Nations, Mr. Ola Almgren held several leadership positions in the coordination of humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, and peace and security. His most recent position was Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, prior to which he served as Director of Political Affairs and Head of the New York Office of the Joint Mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the elimination of the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic. Mr. Almgren was previously Chief of Staff of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) from 2010 to 2013, and Head of the Integrated Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for that Mission, from 2009 until 2010. He also served in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (2006-2009). Prior to that, the Government of Sweden seconded Mr. Almgren to the Council of the European Union, where he assisted in the development of civilian crisis management doctrine and capacities. Mr. Almgren holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from the Stockholm School of Economics.
Mr. Akio Nakayama assumed the current position as the Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Country Office in Myanmar from July, 2017. Prior to that, Mr. Nakayama served as Senior Regional Adviser for Asia and the Pacific at IOM Geneva from 2010. Mr. Nakayama joined IOM in Manila, Philippines in 1996 as an Associate Expert. He worked for the IOM Country Office in Belgrade, Serbia, as an Operations Officer from 1998 to 1999 and the IOM Pristina Office, Kosovo, as a Programme Officer from 1999 to 2000. During this period, he also had a short-term assignment to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina as an Operations Officer. Then he was assigned to the IOM Country Office in Islamabad, Pakistan as a Programme Officer from 2000 to 2001 and was transferred to IOM Geneva as a Donor Relations Officer from 2001 to 2004. He also served as the Chief of Mission in Tokyo, Japan from 2004 to 2010. Mr. Nakayama holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from the Australian National University.
Ms. Alessandra Dentice was appointed as UNICEF Deputy Representative to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in February 2020. Prior to joining UNICEF Myanmar, she worked with the UNICEF Syria Office as Deputy Representative and also worked with the following UNICEF Offices in Mali, DRC, Rwanda and Malawi, holding various roles. Before UNICEF, she worked in various roles with different organizations and institutions such as: Electoral Commission, IOM, CEPS, ECAS and CICS.
She holds a Master’s Degree in Education in Culture, Values and Education from McGill University, Canada. In 1991 she received a Master’s Degree from Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali (LUISS) in Rome, Italy, having majored in Political Science.
She is a national of Italy.
Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim
Andrew Kirkwood has been the Director and Representative for UNOPS in Myanmar since 2017. He is a Canadian with a background as a professional engineer and development planner. He has more than 25 years of experience in the areas of infrastructure, rural development and programme management in Africa and in Asia. Mr. Kirkwood has worked with the United Nations, NGOs, and the private sector. He joined UNOPS in 2011 as the Fund Director for the Livelihoods and Food Security Fund (LIFT), which is now serving nearly half of the rural population of Myanmar. Before joining UNOPS, Mr. Kirkwood worked for Save the Children in country leadership positions in Myanmar (2004-2011) and Ethiopia (2000-2002). He has also worked in Burkina Faso, Mali, Angola and in the Great Lakes region of central Africa.
Benedikt Hofmann took up his functions as UNODC Country Manager for Myanmar in August 2020. Prior to his arrival in Myanmar, Benedikt, a national of Austria, served as Programme Officer in the Office of the Director, Division for Operations, in UNODC Vienna headquarters, where he focused on strategic programme planning, enhancing UN partnerships, and strengthening impact of UNODC field operations around the world. Before that, he oversaw programme development and management in Eastern Africa and the Middle East and North Africa region, with the UNODC Regional Section for Africa and the Middle East.
In 2015 and 2016, Benedikt was posted in the UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, leading regional programme monitoring and reporting, and coordinating core operations for the region. Before his time in Bangkok, he had served in various capacities with the UNODC Regional Sections for Africa and the Middle East as well as West and Central Asia, with a focus on programme development and operations support in Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.
Benedikt holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from University of Vienna, Austria. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and found on twitter as @benihofmann.
Bijay Bahadur Karmacharya was born in Kathmandu in 1966. He graduated with distinction in Engineering in 1990 and Master’s degree with distinction in Resource Engineering from the University of Karlsruhe, Germany 1996. He has had more than 27 years combined experience in the field of Development in various capacities starting with the National Government GTZ and the United Nations. Served last 15 years for UN-Habitat in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia and currently in Myanmar as the Head of Agency since September 2012. He has led large and complex National Programs that are aimed at community infrastructure development, improving lives and livelihoods of rural and urban poor, food security, employment creation, poverty alleviation etc., and has had long experience in Community Driven Development both in post disaster and post conflict environment. Bijay Karmacharya worked in most diversified programmes of UN-Habitat and a member or UNCT in all four countries of his posting and has been a participant of UNDAF process.
Mr. Donglin LI, Liaison Officer/Representative, started his posting with the ILO Liaison Office in Myanmar in August 2019. He was transferred from the ILO Pacific Office based in Fiji covering eleven ILO countries and was the Director of the Office for almost three years. Mr Li was the Country Director of the ILO Office for Sri Lanka and the Maldives for five and a half years from 2011-2016, the Country Director of the ILO Office for Pakistan for six and a half years from 2004-2011, and the Senior Adviser to the Regional Director for the ILO Regional Office in Bangkok for two and a half years from 2002-2004. In 2010, the Government of Pakistan conferred on him the President Award in recognition of his team excellent services to the People of Pakistan. In 2019, he received TEAMWORK ILO Recognition Award from the ILO Director-General. Mr Li was the Director-general of International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of China before joining the ILO. Mr Li holds a Master Degree in MBA from Heriot-Watt University in UK. He was a Visiting Scholar in the Cooper Union, NY, USA in 1987, Bachelor Degree from the East China University of Science and Technology in 1982 in Shanghai.
A national of the Republic of Korea, Ms. Hai Kyung Jun has extensive experience in partnership building with the public and private sectors, intergovernmental affairs, and research & analysis.
She started her professional career at the United Nations as Associate Fundraising Officer and Donor Relations Officer at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva (2001-2006). Thereafter, she served as Donor Relations Specialist at UNICEF Office for Japan and the Republic of Korea, in Tokyo Japan (2006-2009), and as Senior Advisor, at the Multilateral Affairs Division in UNICEF Headquarters in New York (2009-2012). Back in her home agency, she served as Special Advisor at the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, UNHCR Headquarters (2012), and subsequently as Assistant Representative (Programme) for UNHCR in Afghanistan (2013-2014). She then represented UNICEF in Santiago de Chile (2014-2018). Prior to taking up the position as UNHCR Representative in Myanmar in November 2020, she served as Director and Secretary of the UNICEF Executive Board at UNICEF Headquarters in New York.
Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Jun worked with the Ministry of Finance and Economy of the Republic of Korea, private companies and the academic institutions.
She studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, United State of America (Political Science, Master Science) and Seoul National University, Republic of Korea (International Relations, Bachelor of Arts in Political Science).
James Rodehaver has headed the Myanmar Team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in the South East Asia Region Office in Bangkok since January 2020. A lawyer by profession, James has over 25 years of experience working on complex human rights issues in conflict and post-conflict situations, having previously served as the Coordinator of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria (2014-2020), Deputy Director of the Human Rights Unit of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (2010-2014) and Director of the Human Rights presences of the OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2005-2010) and Kosovo. James also served with the UN assistance missions in Sierra Leone (1999-2000), Kosovo (2000-2004) and Liberia (2004-2005).
Mr. Rodehaver graduated with high honors from Ohio University’s History Department and Contemporary History Institute. Thereafter he obtained his Juris Doctor from Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia winning the Frederic L. Kirgis prize in Public international Law. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Human Rights Law Centre of Nottingham University and was recognized as a Notable Alumni of Ohio University in 2019.
Humanitarian Affairs Officer and Regional Coordinator
Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts Programme
UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
Lisa is the Humanitarian Affairs Officer and Regional Coordinator for the Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts programme at UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. She has undertaken research and practice in disaster and conflict risk reduction, resilience building, humanitarian response and risk-informed development programming for environmental outcomes with several UN agencies, working in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, North America and Europe. As ROAP Regional Coordinator, Lisa has a special interest in ecosystems-based disaster risk reduction, environmental security and water management issues.
She holds an MSc in Disaster Management and Sustainable Development from the UK and a PhD focusing on chronic crisis management from the University of Western Australia and University College London.
Marie Spaak has worked in the field of humanitarian affairs for 30 years, in a variety of progressive roles with OCHA, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), UNHCR, and as an independent evaluator. She has served with OCHA in Indonesia, Geneva, the Russian Federation, Haiti, Yemen, the Commonwealth of Dominica and, prior to Myanmar, in Mali. Marie has also carried out strategic and operational evaluations for the CERF secretariat, OCHA, ECHO, and WFP as an independent evaluator. She worked for ECHO in the former Yugoslavia, Brussels, Rwanda and Bangladesh. Marie began her career in humanitarian affairs with UNHCR in Belgium in 1987, prior to working for three years as the Deputy Director of a non-governmental organization supporting non-governmental organizations in Europe understand how European Union institutions function and how to make their voices heard at this level. Ms. Spaak, a Belgian national, is an anthropology undergraduate from Bryn Mawr College (USA) and holds a post-graduate diploma in international cooperation project cycle management from the Universidad Abierta de Cataluña (Spain).
Min Jeong Kim is Head of UNESCO and leads a dedicated team to support educational development and reform; media development for freedom of expression and right to information; and the preservation of cultural heritage and diversity in Myanmar. Prior to her current position, she was Head of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) Secretariat and Policy Advisor to the One UN Secretariat on Post 2015 Development Planning in New York, USA. She previously worked in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as Chief of UNESCO Education Programme for the Indian Ocean countries; and in Beirut, Lebanon, as the UNESCO Regional Programme Coordinator for Education in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She also served in the Executive Office of the Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France. She had been a journalist, a teacher and a human rights activist in her home country, Republic of Korea.
Ms Kim holds an Executive Masters in International Management from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, a Masters in Political Science from Yonsei University, and a Bachelors in English Literature from Seoul National University, Republic of Korea.
Mr Nicolas Burniat was appointed as UN Women Representative in Myanmar in March 2019.
Prior to this appointment, Mr Burniat served from 2014 to early 2019, in turn, as Deputy Representative and then Representative a.i. for UN Women’s Fiji Multi-Country Office which covers 14 countries and territories in the Pacific. Mr Burniat initially joined UN Women in 2011 in New York where he served as Special Assistant to UN Women’s first and second Executive Directors and Under-Secretary General, Ms Michelle Bachelet and Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngucka until 2014.
Prior to joining UN Women, Mr Burniat worked from 2009 to 2010 for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations where he followed human rights and gender, co-chaired the European Union General Assembly Third Committee Working Group during the Belgian Presidency of the EU and chaired the CSW Working Group on Communications on the Status of Women. From 2007 to 2008 he worked as Pennoyer Fellow/Senior Associate for the US based NGO Human Rights First.
Mr Burniat started his career with the United Nations as a lawyer with the International Court of Justice, the main judicial organ of the United Nations, based in The Netherlands, where he served from 2001 to 2007 in different capacities including as legal officer and as Special Assistant to the President of the Court.
Mr Burniat, is a Belgian citizen. He holds a Master’s Degree in Law and two Advanced Masters in Private and Public International Law from the Université Libre de Bruxelles as well as an LLM from New York University.
From a social science background, the Director of the UNAIDS Country Office (UCO) in Myanmar, Oussama Tawil, has worked on HIV at national, regional and global level since 1988, with an overall focus on the continuum of prevention, treatment and care through a public health and development perspective. This has involved work on HIV prevention among at-risk, vulnerable and socially excluded communities in the following regions: West and Central Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and Asia and the Pacific. Following earlier contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO), Oussama Tawil has been part of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) since 1996. Prior to his arrival in Myanmar, his last two assignments have been to lead and coordinate UNAIDS' efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan (2008-12) and India (2013-17).
Paul Luchtenberg has served as the Country Coordinator for UNCDF in Myanmar since 2013. Previously he served as the Senior Operations Officer covering the East Asia and Pacific region for the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Before that he was a microfinance implementer serving as the CEO of AMK in Cambodia. He has more than 25 years of experience in Microfinance and Financial Inclusion playing a variety of roles from implementer, Technical Assistance provider, funder, board member and equity investor. He holds an MBA from Eastern University and has also been a part of the writing of a number of books and articles on microfinance and financial inclusion. Paul is passionate about ensuring microfinance and financial inclusion maximize benefits to clients, he serves on the Social Performance Task Force board and was a founding board member of the SMART campaign for client protection.
Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan (Rama) assumed his charge as UNFPA Representative in Myanmar starting Dec 05, 2018. Mr. Balakrishnan has more than 20 years of development coordination experience in varied political contexts including the Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East North Africa (MENA) Region. Prior to arriving in Myanmar, Mr. Balakrishnan served as the UNFPA Representative in Iraq, between 2015-2018, where he managed the largest UNFPA programme globally. More recently he was attached to UNFPA HQ on a special assignment supporting the transition of the UNFPA Humanitarian and Fragile Context Branch (HFCB) to the Humanitarian Office architecture. His earlier assignments include, Deputy Regional Director, UN Women Asia Pacific Regional Office (2012-2015); UNDP Deputy Resident Representative, Libya (2007-2012); UNDP (UNV Volunteers, Bonn) Management Specialist (2003-2007). Mr. Balakrishnan is an Indian national and holds twin masters in Natural Resources Management and Population Studies.
Mr Somsak Pipoppinyo was appointed on 2 March 2021 as the FAO Representative ad interim Myanmar. Prior to this appointment, Somsak served as the FAO Representative in Nepal and Bhutan from 2013 to 2020. He led the design and implementation of FAO’s programmes for both countries given priorities to improving food and nutrition security, enhance agriculture productivity, protect environment and conserve natural resources, promote climate-resilient practices, and reduce rural poor.
Before joining FAO, Somsak had 16-year working career with the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, Indonesia, covered a wide range of regional and global issues, among others: trade promotion and market integration, finance and capital markets, transport and connectivity, information and communication technology (ICT), narrowing development gaps, food security, food safety, bio-fuel, environment, climate actions, forestry, biodiversity, genetically modified organism (GMO), plant and animal diseases, and pandemic preparedness. His last post before he left ASAEN was the Director of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) for Finance, Industry and Infrastructure Integration.
Somsak is a Thai national, holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree in Fisheries Biology, Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand, a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, U.S.A. and a Ph.D. in Aquatic Environment and Fisheries Management, Auburn University, Alabama, U.S.A.
Stephen Anderson is a USA national born in Nairobi, Kenya who grew up mostly in eastern Africa. He studied at Georgetown University and the American University in Cairo.
He has served with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) most of his professional career. He joined WFP in 1989 in Sudan and subsequently served in Ethiopia, Rome (WFP Headquarters), with short-term emergency stints in Kenya and in southern Africa.
He had held senior management positions with WFP in the Philippines (2008 - 2013) Japan Office (2013 - 2016) and in Yemen (2017 - August 2019), with a short-term contribution to the WFP emergency response to the Nepal earthquake (2015).
In October 2019, he assumed the role of WFP Representative and Country Director in Myanmar.
He is married and has three children.
Sylvie Bétemps Cochin
Senior Trade Promotion Officer and Country Manager for Myanmar
Sylvie Bétemps Cochin is Senior Trade Promotion Officer, Country Manager for Myanmar, within the Office for Asia and The Pacific, at the International Trade Centre (ITC). Sylvie Bétemps Cochin has more than 17 years of experience in international trade, project management and trade-related technical assistance in Asia and Africa. She is responsible for a portfolio of 14 Asian countries, including least developed countries (LDCs), for which she leads country coordination and client relationships. She has managed and developed multi-disciplinary trade-related technical assistance projects in Asia, including in Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. 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 (SMEs) in Asia and Africa.
Mr. Titon Mitra, an Australian national, is a senior development professional with over 30 years of experience.
Prior to his appointment as UNDP Myanmar Resident Representative, he served in a number of roles in the UN: as UNDP Resident Representative in Philippines, the Senior Strategic Planning Adviser and Head of the Integrated Coordination Office for Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq; and Senior Strategic Adviser to the UN on the Bangsamoro Peace process in the Philippines.
Mr. Mitra was also formerly a senior official in the Australian Government, having served as the Minister Counsellor and Head of the aid program to the Philippines; and as an Assistant Secretary with AusAID managing large and complex bilateral aid programmes focused on social development, economic reform, governance, and infrastructure in Sri Lanka, the Maldives, China, Indonesia, and Timor- Leste.
He has also led humanitarian responses in Africa, South Asia, South East Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific, as Global Emergency Director for CARE International.