UNRWA Appoints New Director of Affairs in Syria

17 February 2019
Michael Amanya, a Ugandan national, is the new Director of UNRWA Affairs in Syria. © 2018 UNRWA Photo by Taghrid Mohammad

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has appointed Mr. Amanya Michael Ebye, a Ugandan national, to the position of  Director of UNRWA Affairs in the Syrian Arab Republic as of 15 February 2019. Mr. Amanya joined UNRWA in March 2017 as Deputy Director of Programmes, Syria Field Office. In that role, he supervised the development and implementation of programmes for the 438,000 Palestine refugees in Syria. 

“I am excited to be able to continue building on our work with and for the Palestine refugee community of Syria.  After eight years of conflict, Palestine refugees continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups in  Syria with immense humanitarian needs,” Amanya said. “I look forward to ensuring that UNRWA continues to provide quality services and emergency assistance to support Palestine refugees.” 

Amanya has spent more than 25 years working in the humanitarian assistance field, including with the International Rescue Committee and ActionAid. He was the first  Regional Director for the Middle East for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) between 2007 and 2010. Subsequently, he became the IRC's Regional Director for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2012 and led a programme that provided assistance to 2.5 million displaced and vulnerable Congolese. Earlier deployments with IRC and ActionAid saw him develop and implement programmes in response to the Rwandan genocide, Darfur conflict, the refugee crisis in Western Tanzania and internal displacement in Northen and Western Uganda.

Amanya received his Bachelor of Arts in social work and social administration and Master of Arts in social sector planning and management from Makerere University in Uganda. He and his wife Fiona have two children, Phillip (21) and Elizabeth (17).

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 5.4 million Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA across its five fields of operation. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank, including East Jerusalem 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:

Sami Mshasha
Director of Communications, Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: 
+972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: 
+972 (0)258 90724