New York, 18 December 2021 (TDI): Catherine M. Russell will take the helm of the United Nations Children’s Fund as its new Executive Director. UNICEF is a branch of the United Nations organization that promotes the rights and well-being of children throughout the world by providing advocacy, policy analysis, and direct aid for children all over the globe.
Catherine M. Russell is also currently serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S Department of State. She is an accomplished diplomat, journalist, and advocate with more than 25 years of experience working on human rights issues around the world. Her diverse background includes humanitarian work with refugees in Bosnia and Kosovo, public service on behalf of Afghan women under Taliban rule, and extensive work on post-conflict reconciliation issues across Europe after the Balkan Wars. These are just some of the accomplishments that make her qualified to be in the position she is now.
The tweet to commemorate her new position was posted by the Executive Director of UN Women, Sima Behous.
Thank you to @unicefchief Henrietta Fore for your leadership and partnership.
Congratulations to Catherine M. Russell on being named the new @UNICEF Executive Director. We look forward to working with you to uplift young girls’ talents and together shape a better world.
— Sima Bahous (@unwomenchief) December 16, 2021
Catherine M. Russell’s Accomplishments
Catherine M. Russell has had a successful career in the foreign service, working primarily on human rights issues.
She served as United States Ambassador to Burundi from 2011-2013, where she negotiated an end to the civil war by overseeing Burundian presidential elections in 2010 and successfully assisted with post-conflict reconciliation efforts across Africa’s Great Lakes Region.
Prior to her time as ambassador, Catherine was responsible for Afghan women’s affairs as country director for Afghanistan (2006-2007) and as senior advisor to the U.S special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan (2003-2006).
In 2001, Catherine worked with refugees in Bosnia and Kosovo with the International Rescue Committee and then became the IRC’s representative to Skopje, Macedonia (2001-2003).
Beginning her career as a journalist covering Central America and then she went on to work with grassroots organizations helping Afghan women during Taliban rule (1989-2001).
Catherine M. Russell’s work has been recognized by organizations such as the “Foreign Policy’s 2012 Global Thinkers,” and “The New York Times”‘ “Women in the World: Top 100.” Surely her addition to UNICEF will reap great benefits for children across the world as well as the UN organization.