Madame Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia was appointed as the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) by the Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, on 11 March 2011.
Madame Zewde is the first person to be appointed to the newly created position as head of the Organization’s Nairobi Office, at the Under-Secretary-General level.
Madame Zewde brings to this position more than two decades of experience at the national, regional and international levels. Prior to taking up her functions as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Madame Zewde served as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic.
A career diplomat, Madame Zewde served as Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa from 2006 to 2009. She also served as Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia from 2006-2009. Prior to that appointment, Madame Zewde was Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco (2002 until 2006). She also served as Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) from 1993 to 2002, and Ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea from 1989 to 1993.
Ms. Zewde is a natural sciences graduate of the University of Montpellier, France. She is fluent in Amharic, French and English.
Born on 21 February 1950, Madame Zewde has two sons.
The United Nations Office at Nairobi, the UN headquarters in Africa, was established by the General Assembly in 1996. The office is headed by a Director-General, at the Under-Secretary-General level, serves as the representative office of the Secretary-General in Nairobi and performs representation and liaison functions with permanent missions, the host-country and other Governments, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations in Nairobi, as well as other organizations of the United Nations system in Kenya; facilitates cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations; provides administrative and other support services to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat); provides joint and common services to other organizations of the United Nations system in Kenya, as applicable; and manages and implements the programmes of administration, conference services and public information and provides security and safety services for United Nations staff and facilities in the United Nations Office at Nairobi.