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 funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions, and financial support has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, deepening poverty and conflict. As a result, the UNRWA General Fund, which supports core essential services and most staffing costs, operates with a large deficit. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large deficits, are funded through separate funding portals. 

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

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