New director for UNRWA in Syria

17 January 2012

17 January 2012
Damascus, Syria

Mr. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, a national from Ghana, assumed his duties as Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Syrian Arab Republic on 16 January 2012.

Michael joined UNRWA Headquarters Gaza in 2004 as Assistant Director of Operations and has served the Agency since 2006 as Director of the Executive Office.

Michael comes to Syria with considerable experience serving refugees in the field and at Headquarters. His move to UNRWA followed a 14-year career with UNHCR in various senior field and emergency roles in Asia and Africa, including in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Indonesia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. He has also worked at a senior level in UNHCR’s headquarters in Geneva and in its London office.

Beyond his UN experience, Michael pursues an interest in international negotiations and alternative dispute resolution. He is currently an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

A lawyer by profession, Michael holds an LL.B (Hons, 1983) and was called to the Ghana Bar in 1985. He taught international law in the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana before pursuing graduate studies in the United States, and holds LL.M degrees from Temple University, Philadelphia (1987) and Harvard Law School (1990).

For further information please contact:

Hala Mukhles                           
Mobile: + 963 (0)940 888103               

Background Information

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at more than US$ 106  million.

For more information, please contact: