Room 108 - School of International Studies
Via Tommaso Gar, 14 - Trento
As part of the series of seminars on “Making an International Career. Which Way from Here? Conversations with Professional Practitioners”, the School of International Studies organizes a talk with Filippo Grandi - former Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
A life on the front lines of humanitarian work with th the United Nations
Chair: prof. Paolo Foradori
Filippo Grandi is one of the highest ranking diplomats in the United Nations system with a 30-year-long very distinguish career in humanitarian operations. His last appointment was as Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), from 2010 to 2014, after having served as UNRWA’s Deputy Commissioner-General since October 2005.
Mr. Grandi, an Italian national born, has been engaged in refugee and humanitarian work for the past 30 years, 24 of which have been with the United Nations. Prior to joining UNRWA, he distinguished himself in a variety of headquarters and field functions encompassing refugee assistance, protection, emergency management, donor relations and humanitarian and political affairs.
From May 2004, Grandi was Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General responsible for political affairs at the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), where he took responsibility for the electoral process, for the disarmament, demobilisation and integration programme, and for human rights issues, in particular the verification of the exercise of political rights relating to presidential and parliamentary elections. Prior to that, Grandi was Chief of Mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Afghanistan, a position he held for almost three years. From 1997 to 2001, he served in the Executive Office of UNHCR in Geneva, as Special Assistant of the High Commissioner and then Chief of Staff.
Grandi joined UNHCR in 1988. For three years he worked in refugee programmes in Sudan, and was then involved in the humanitarian emergency response in Syria, Turkey and Iraq during and after the first Gulf War. Subsequently, as an Emergency Officer, he led emergency operations in Kenya, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, the Great Lakes of Central Africa (including the Burundi refugee crisis in 1993 and the Goma operation in the summer of 1994), Yemen and Afghanistan, among others. After a two-year headquarters assignment dealing with some of UNHCR’s main donors, especially the European Commission, Grandi was Field Coordinator for UN humanitarian activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo during its 1996 – 1997 civil war. His early experience prior to joining the UN included work with non-governmental organisations carrying out refugee programmes in Thailand and Italy.