Secretary-General Appoints New Deputy Commissioner-General

21 January 2010

20 January 2010

The Secretary-General has today appointed Ms Margot B. Ellis as Deputy Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). She takes over from Mr Filippo Grandi, whose appointment as Deputy Commissioner-General of UNRWA ends on 19 January 2010.

Ms Ellis, an American national, brings a wealth of senior-level experience to her new function. Since July 2008, Ms Ellis has been USAID‘s Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia. Prior to this appointment, she spent 21 years, from 1987 to 2008, in various senior positions with USAID, including Mission Director - Kampala, Uganda; Deputy Mission Director - West Bank and Gaza; Director, Private Enterprise Office - West Bank and Gaza; Director Private Sector Division - Pretoria, South Africa; and Program Officer - Harare, Zimbabwe.

Between 1977 and 1987 Ms Ellis worked in the private sector with a number of leading companies, including as Senior Program Director for Finance and International Business at the American Management Association; Financial Projects Advisor to the Controller for JP Morgan Chase Corporation; Senior Staff Associate for General Motors Corporation; and Supervisor and Senior Financial Analyst for Ford Motor Corporation.

Ms. Ellis holds a Bachelor degree (Honors) in Economics and Public Policy from Cornell University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Columbia University School of Business. Born in 1953, she is married and has two children.

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.

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