New Director for UNRWA Syria

01 October 2009

01 October 2009


Mr. Roger Hearn, an Australian national, today assumed his duties as Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the Syrian Arab Republic. Mr. Hearn rejoins UNRWA after having served as Senior External Relations Officer at the Agency’s Headquarters in Gaza from 2002 to 2004.

Prior to his current appointment, Hearn was based in Cairo with CARE International as its Regional Director, Middle East and Europe. Mr. Hearn has also served senior leadership positions in policy development and planning with the UN in Timor-Leste (UNTAET), Oxfam International, the World Health Organization and the Victorian Parliament.

Mr. Hearn holds a bachelor‘s degree in Social Work, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Public Administration, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Melbourne, Australia.

UNRWA provides education, healthcare, social services, shelter, and micro-credit services to over 450,000 Palestine refugees in Syria.

For further information please contact:

Hala Mukhles - UNRWA Public Information Office in Syria
Tel: 0940888103

Background Information

UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, 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 and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

For more information, please contact: