António Guterres Catapults Zainab Bangura to UN Director-General

Zainab Hawa Bangura

By Foday Moriba Conteh

The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on 30 December 2019 announced the appointment of Zainab Hawa Bangura of Sierra Leone as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON).

António Guterres went further to extend his appreciation and gratitude to Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), who will continue to serve as Acting Director-General until Ms. Bangura assumes this position.

Ms. Bangura, a relentless advocate for conflict resolution and reconciliation, and human rights champion, was most recently Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict from 2012 to 2017.  She began her United Nations career in the United Nations Mission in Liberia, where she was responsible for the management of the largest civilian component of the Mission, including promoting capacity-building of government institutions and community reconciliation.

She was Minister of Health and Sanitation (2010-2012) and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (2007-2010) for the Government of Sierra Leone.  Ms. Bangura has also served as Executive Director of the National Accountability Groups as well as Coordinator and Co-founder of the Campaign for Good Governance.

She holds a bachelor’s degree from Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and advanced diplomas in insurance management from the University of London and Nottingham University.


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