Our Team in Palestine

Muhannad Hadi

Muhannad Hadi

Deputy Special Coordinator, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
Having served since 2020 as the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, Mr. Hadi brings more than 30 years of extensive international experience in humanitarian affairs and development work. Prior to this, Mr. Hadi served as the World Food Programme (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, the WFP Regional Emergency Coordinator for the Syria Crisis, and the WFP Representative/Country Director in Syria. Mr. Hadi began his career in 1990 with the International Committee of the Red Cross and has since worked for WFP in Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Italy, Jordan, Egypt, and Syria.

Mr. Hadi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Economics from the University of Alabama, USA, and a Postgraduate Award in Management and Business Studies from the University of Warwick, United Kingdom.
Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East , UNRWA

Philippe Lazzarini

Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Mr. Philippe Lazzarini was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in March 2020. He has served as the Deputy UN Special Coordinator (UNSCOL) and as Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon.
With over 30 years of professional experience, including with the United Nations, the private sector and the International Committee of the Red Cross. Mr. Lazzarini is a graduate of the University of Neuchatel and of the University of Lausanne, and is married with four children.
Sarah Poole, Special Representative of the Administrator, UNDP

Sarah Poole

Special Representative of the Administrator
Ms. Sarah Poole was appointed as Special Representative of the Administrator for UNDP’s Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People in August 2023. Preceding her current appointment, Ms. Poole served as UNDP’s Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States region since 2018, including her tenure as Regional Director ad interim from February 2020 to 2021. Ms. Poole brings 30 years of experience working globally in development and humanitarian contexts. Since 1999, she has served in numerous leadership positions in UNDP.
Zeyad Elshakra, Head of Country Programme, UN-Habitat

Zeyad Elshakra

Head of Country Programme
As an engineer and urban development practitioner, Mr. Zeyad Elshakra has more than thirty years of professional experience in development issues, including teaching, research, analytical and advisory services and programme administration in the fields of housing, urban development and management, institutional development and capacity building. Mr. Elshakra has a wide expertise in innovative participatory and responsive solutions to urbanization and housing challenges. Mr. Elshakra has more than 20 years of experience working for international organizations. Mr. Elshakra holds a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia, United States of America.
Dr. Ciro Fiorillo, Head of Officem FAO

Ciro Fiorillo

Head of Office, FAO Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Dr. Ciro Fiorillo is an agricultural development economist with extensive experience in supporting public economic policy making in food security and agriculture.
As Head of the FAO Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he leads a team of about 70 people working from East Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza City to deliver a USD 78 million program bridging humanitarian responses and development interventions aimed at protecting and promoting the resilience of farmers and herders, and making the agri-food system more inclusive, resilient and sustainable, thereby improving the well-being of Palestinians.
He previously worked in Bangladesh, Syria and Mozambique.

Olivia Tecosky

Olivia has over 20 years’ experience working with donors, the UN and NGOs in development and humanitarian action across a number of regions, including several years in the Middle East and Africa. Most recently, as Director of UNOPS Humanitarian Advisory Team to the Famine Relief Fund, Olivia guided the programmatic and operational setup of this rapid response funding mechanism to help avert widespread famine in Yemen and Ethiopia. Prior to this she was a Senior Advisor working with USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance. Within the United Nations family, Olivia previously served in various senior management roles supporting humanitarian operations with OCHA in UNHQ New York, oPt and Kenya, and contributed to the UN’s development assistance portfolio with the Resident Coordinator’s Office in Sudan and with UNSCO in Jerusalem, where she was seconded to the Office of the Quartet Representative.
Noha Abdul-Aziz Bawazir, Head of UNESCO Office in Ramallah and UNESCO Representative to Palestine, UNESCO

Noha Abdul-Aziz Bawazir

Head of UNESCO Office in Ramallah and UNESCO Representative to Palestine
Noha Abdoul-Aziz Bawazir is the Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Palestine since 2020. She holds a Master's Degree in Political History from Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle, and MPHIL in International Relations and Political Sciences from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Internationales (EHEI, Paris). Noha has an extensive experience at UNESCO having held several different positions. Prior to being appointed in Palestine, she was the Chief of the Arab States Unit within the Sector for Priority Africa and External Relations at UNESCO Headquarters, in charge of the Relations with the Member States of the Arab region and at the Bureau For Strategic Planning before that.
Frida Khan-ILO

Frida Khan

Representative for the International Labour Organization (ILO)
Frida is a development sector professional with 30 years’ experience working with the government of Pakistan and the United Nations, including UNDP, UN Women and ILO. She has worked in Pakistan, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Jordan and is currently posted to the Occupied Palestinian Territory as the Representative of the ILO in Jerusalem. She has previously worked as the Country Coordinator for the ILO In Jordan, the Regional Gender Specialist for the ILO Regional office for the Arab States, and governance project manager for UNDP, and held several senior positions in the government of Pakistan. Her areas of expertise are skills development, gender equality, and governance. She has several publications including on the impact of overseas development aid on gender equality, the gender pay gap, and skills development and entrepreneurship. She holds an MSc in Development Planning and Administration from University College London, U.K. and is currently pursuing an MA in Creative Writing with the Open University, U.K.
AHMED ELFARRA , Head of UNIDO Programme Office in Palestine, UNIDO

Ahmed Elfarra

Head of UNIDO Programme Office in Palestine
Serving since 2014 as UNIDO Head of Office in Palestine, Mr. ELFARRA has over 23 years of operational and leadership experience of international and national organizations. For the public sector, Mr. ELFARRA formulated the final PA E-Government Strategy that was endorsed in 2006. He also served as Senior Economic Advisor with the ILO’s regional Office in Beirut and operated as Chief Representative to the Agreement on Movement and Access between Israel and the PA. As founder of PALiNVEST Corporation, Mr. ElFarra collaborated with various multinational organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, for advancing socio-economic conditions in the region. He is an MBA graduate of the Craig Business School of Fresno, California in 2003.
Lucia Elmi, Special Representative

Lucia Elmi

Special Representative
Ms. Elmi is the Special Representative responsible for managing programmes and operations covering humanitarian, development, and normative areas of activity for UNICEF State of Palestine.
Prior to assuming her current responsibilities in August 2020, Lucia served as Representative of UNICEF in Mali from 2017 to 2020 leading the implementation of a large humanitarian and development Country Programme of Cooperation in partnership with the Government and civil society. From 2014 to 2017, Lucia was Representative of UNICEF in Tajikistan. As such, she provided the overall direction for the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the UNICEF Country Programme of Cooperation. In 2011-2014, she served as Representative to Mauritania leading the UNICEF team and the Country Programme of Cooperation with the Government of Mauritania addressing development, humanitarian and early recovery issues.
From 2009 to 2011, Lucia was the Chief of the Humanitarian Field Support Section, Office of Emergency Programmes with UNICEF New York Headquarters. In this capacity, she was responsible for the formulation of goals, objectives and strategies for the UNICEF Humanitarian Field Support. Prior to this, Lucia has held various positions within UNICEF New York Headquarters, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Lebanon and Amman.
Prior to joining UNICEF, from 1996 to 1998, Lucia served as Head of Office and Project Manager in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina with the Italian Consortium of Solidarity and later as Area Coordinator for Kosovo region in Pristina. In this capacity, she developed and implemented programmes in Early Childhood Development psychosocial support for the support of refugee and internally displaced persons.
Lucia is a national of Italy. In 1997, she obtained her Master’s degree cum laude in Political Science with a diploma in Analysis and Management of International Relations from the University of Bologna, Faculty of Political Sciences in Bologna, Italy. In 1993-1994 she was also a full-time Erasmus student at the School of African and Asian Studies at the University of Sussex in Brighton, United Kingdom.
Ajith Sunghay

Ajith Sunghay

Head of Office
Ajith Sunghay is the Head of OHCHR Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He has 22 years of UN experience. Prior to joining OHCHR OPT as its Head, he was a Team Leader for Peace and Security in Africa and Asia in OHCHR’s New York Office. Before that he lead the Human Rights Due Diligence work in New York, after having been the Team Leader of the Israel/Palestine cluster in the Middle East and North Africa section at headquarters in Geneva. Prior to being a cluster lead, he worked in Asia Pacific section in Geneva, covering a number of countries in the region.
He has served in Palestine as a Human Rights Officer in OHCHR Ramallah Office from 2008-2010.
From 2001-2007 he held field positions with UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Sudan, Eritrea, Sierra Leone and Ghana. He is an international lawyer by profession, and holds a Masters in Law from the University of Oxford, UK and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Contemporary War from King’s College, University of London, UK.”
Christa Ketting

Christa Ketting

Country Director Ad Interim
Christa Ketting is the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) Country Director Ad Interim for Palestine based in IFAD’s sub-regional office in Cairo. She joined IFAD in 2016 and has since held multiple technical and programme roles globally. She is an experienced agricultural programme manager with specialisations in value chain development and social inclusion. A national of the Netherlands, Ms. Ketting possesses two master’s degrees in political science from the University of Amsterdam and in Development Studies from the Université Libre de Bruxelles.
Dominic Allen

Dominic Allen

Representative for the State of Palestine
Since July 2022, Mr. Dominic Allen has been serving as UNFPA Representative for the State of Palestine. Mr. Allen - a dual national of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland - brings nearly 20 years of experience in the UN system. Before taking up this role, Mr. Allen served at UNFPA Headquarters (2019-2022) as Global Programme Coordinator and additionally Chief a.i. for Operational Support and Quality Assurance - striving for excellence in country programming. Prior to joining UNFPA, Mr. Allen worked for the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme as Chief of the New York Office & UN System Affairs (2016-2019) and as Strategic Management Specialist in UNV’s Executive Office (2012-2016). Mr. Allen had joined UNV from the UN Development Operations Coordination Office (2008-2012) where he was Policy Specialist and additionally Policy Advisor a.i. for Country Support and Leadership Development Coordination – leading work on the UN Resident Coordinator system. Mr. Allen started his UN career with the World Health Organization, serving at the Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean in Cairo (2006-2008), the Iraq Country Office (2004-2006) and Headquarters (2003-2004) - all assignments focusing on emergency and humanitarian action. Before joining the UN, Mr. Allen worked
in the private and public sectors. Mr. Allen holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Huddersfield. Mr. Allen is married and has two children.
Maryse Guimond, Special Representative

Maryse Guimond

UN Women
Special Representative
Prior to joining UN Women Palestine Country Office as the UN Women Special Representative in August 2018, Ms. Guimond was the SDG Advisor for UN Women Arab States. From January to August 2018, she also served as UN Women Arab States Deputy Regional Director a.i. From 2013 and 2016, Ms Guimond was the Regional Programme Manager of the joint EU-UN Women Spring Forward for Women in the Arab States. Ms. Guimond has over 25 years of experience in development; she has managed regional/country portfolios and programmes. She has held postings in the Middle East and North Africa, the Caribbean and in West Africa. Prior to joining the UN system, she worked for various international development agencies, including Oxfam, Save the Children and Plan International. Her work has focused on gender equality and women’s empowerment (political and economic), governance, human rights (women and children rights), and the provision of basic social services (education, protection, and health). She holds a Master’s in political science, international relations.
Matthew Hollingworth

Matthew Hollingworth

Country Director Ad Interim
Mr. Matthew Hollingworth currently serves as the Country Director ad interim of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Palestine. With over 20 years of dedicated service to WFP, he brings extensive experience to his role, and has previously held positions as Representative & Country Director of WFP in Ukraine, South Sudan, Sudan, and Syria. He also served in various challenging environments, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, and at WFP headquarters in Rome, leading teams & supporting communities facing some of the world's most pressing crises.
Rik Peeperkorn, WHO Representative

Rik Peeperkorn

WHO Representative
Dr. Rik Peeperkorn was appointed as the World Health Organization (WHO) representative for occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt) in March 2021. Before being assigned to Jerusalem, Rik was the WHO Representative to Afghanistan (2013- 2021), leading the ONE UN support for Health in the Humanitarian & Development area including COVID-19. A Dutch national, he comes with over 30 years of experience in the field of International Public Health and Diplomacy working in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Dr Rik Peeperkorn received his MD from the University of Amsterdam (1986) and obtained his MPH from Johns Hopkins University-School of Public Health (1992).
Sami Dimassi

Sami Dimassi

UNEP Representative, Regional Director for West Asia Office
With over 20 years of experience in management Mr. Dimassi has extensive experience in multi-lateral and international relations, corporate and policy reform, intergovernmental affairs, strategy design and private sector engagement. Mr. Sami Dimassi joined the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia as Director and Regional Representative in 2017. He held several senior positions in the UN System, such as Senior ICT Advisor, Head of the Innovation Branch, Deputy Director of the Science division, Director of Private Sector Engagement, and Acting Director of Corporate Services all within UNEP. A Lebanese-Canadian national, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from Ottawa University and a master’s in Management from Waterloo University in Canada.