More about Amin Awad

Director of the Bureau for the Middle East and North Africa, Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Syria and Iraq Situations

Amin Awad has been engaged in humanitarian diplomacy and humanitarian action with the United Nations for 30 years and has distinguished himself in some of the most challenging field operations in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia.

Awad has held a series of leadership positions in the field and at headquarters during many of the mega-crises of the 1990s, including the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the Former Yugoslavia. Also, during the first and second Gulf Wars, he handled complex political negotiations in cooperation with cross-atlantic security and military institutions, namely NATO and the OSCE, as well as regional institutions, such as the EU, OIC and the Arab League.

Awad also served in leadership roles in Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and South Asia. He also managed operations in Africa (the Kenya-Somalia cross border operation). He served extensively in the Middle East, in Yemen during the Somali boat people crisis, in Iraq and in Jordan, where he also served as Regional Coordinator for the Iraq crisis during the 2003 war.

On several occasions, Awad has held positions as Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator (Tajikistan, FYR Macedonia, Sri Lanka). Furthermore, Amin Awad has contributed to the UN reform process, pushing forward the Secretary-General’s agenda at the policy development and field implementation stages, with reforms in the humanitarian agenda, security and technical areas. His expertise also encompasses emergency management, refugee assistance, inter-agency coordination, as well as political negotiation and development cooperation.

Awad is currently serving in a dual capacity as the UN Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Syria and Iraq Situations and as Director of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Bureau at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) based in Geneva, Switzerland. In this capacity, he leads the UN Refugee Agency’s humanitarian response in the Middle East and North Africa and is responsible for over $20 billion over the past four-five years. He coordinates over 9,000 staff and 270 partners, in close coordination with the respective governments, delivering protection and humanitarian aid to some 20 million displaced people in the region (Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Western Sahara) in the context of some of the most severe displacement crises of the century.

Awad holds a BA in Political Science and completed higher studies in International Development Administration.