Our Team in Bahrain

Khaled El Mekwad

Khaled El Mekwad

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bahrain
Mr Khaled El Mekwad, from Egypt, has devoted over 30 years to public service. Prior to his current position, he served as UNIDO Regional Representative for Southern Africa based in Pretoria covering ten SADC countries, UNIDO Representative in Sudan with coverage for Djibouti & Yemen, and UNIDO Representative Lebanon with coverage for Jordan & Syria. During 14 years in the UN system, he addressed Industrial & Socio-economic Development, Environment, Poverty Reduction, Human Rights & Post-war recovery in the Middle East & Africa.

Prior to the UN, he pursued an extensive Diplomatic career in his national capacity for 19 years where he served as Alternate Representative at the Permanent Mission of Egypt to the UN in Vienna, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Egypt in Dakar, and Political Officer at the Mission of Egypt to the EU in Brussels.

He obtained two post-graduate Diplomas in International Relations from the National School of Administration in Paris and the Institute for Diplomatic Studies of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Cairo. Mr El Mekwad also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from Cairo University. In addition to Arabic, his mother tongue, he speaks fluent English & French.
AbdulHakim Elwaer

AbdulHakim Elwaer

Assistant-Director General & Regional Representative of the Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa
Mr. Elwaer, a national of Libya, holds a Ph.D. of Philosophy in Environmental Chemistry from Sheffield University, the United Kingdom, a Post Graduate Diploma in Organizational Leadership from the Gestalt Centre of Organizations and Systems Development in the United States, and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering and Science Technology from the University of Sabha in Libya.
Mr. Elwaer served as Secretary of the Environmental General Authority (Minister of Environment) of the Government of Libya in Tripoli and was elected President of the African Ministerial Congress on Environment (AMCEN) from 2004 to 2006.
In 2007, he joined the African Union as Director for Human Resources, Science and Technology, and became Director for Administration and Human Resources Management in 2009.
During his career at the African Union (AU), Dr. Elwaer has supervised and managed the Establishment of several African unique initiatives and institutions.
Before joining FAO, he served as Adviser to the President on Global Advocacy and Partnerships at the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he also served as the IsDB Spokesperson and Director of Cooperation, Partnerships, Regional Integration, and Resource Mobilization from 2014 to 2017. He was further appointed IsDB’s Sherpa at G20 and Head of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).
عادل درويش

Adel Darwish

Representative Regional Director for Arab States
Adel Darwish serves as Director of the ITU Regional Office for Arab States, covering 22 Arab countries. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the field of telecommunications, spanning incumbent operator, startup operator, and regulator. In his different roles, Mr Darwish has been involved with international relations, including ICANN, GSMA, the GCC Council, the League of Arab States, Arab Regulatory Network (AREGNET), and SAMENA Council.
أحمد بن الأسود

Ahmed Ben Lassoued

Mr. Ben Lassoued has over 15 years of experience in communications and journalism. He joined the Department of Global Communications from the United Nations Development Coordination Office, where he provided communication support to United Nations country teams worldwide, including in Africa and the Arab region.

Previously, he worked with the United Nations in various development and humanitarian settings as well as for the Government of Tunisia and the media. Mr. Ben Lassoued has developed and implemented multimedia information campaigns and communications strategies, including crisis communications. He has built strong partnerships with United Nations agencies, governmental institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

Mr. Ben Lassoued is a former student of contemporary philosophy (Magistère) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He also holds a research master’s degree in history of philosophy from the Paris-Sorbonne University.
Christian Hainzl

Christian Hainzl

Regional Manager
Christian has more than 25 years of experience in program management, strategic leadership, and policy advice. His professional expertise and leadership path includes a broad range of development and management areas, including governance and decentralization, human rights, community-driven development, social cohesion and peacebuilding, and civil society and media support. For the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), he was heading governance and local development programs in countries in transition in Asia and Eastern Europe and was also serving at the UN Volunteers headquarter in Germany. He holds a Ph.D. in law and a postgraduate diploma in international relations. With his team in the Arab region, he is promoting and enabling volunteerism within the UN system as a means to implement the 2030 Agenda.
Eltayeb Yagoub Adam

Eltayeb Adam

Regional Representative for the Gulf States
As UNICEF Regional Representative for the Gulf States since April 2018, Mr Adam is responsible for managing and supervising UNICEF’s work, providing leadership and vision to the UNICEF country programme teams in planning and implementing local programmes and in managing and leveraging resources for the achievement of results and fulfilment of the rights of children. He was priviously UNICEF Chief Field Office for several operations in Mogadishu and Garowe, Somalia; in Qamishly, Syria; and in Sanaa, Yemen (2012-2018). Before joining UNICEF, Mr Adam has worked with UNDP in Abu Dhabi and Khartoum, and with Oxfam in Djakarta and Sana'a.
Fernanda Lonardoni

Fernanda Maria Lonardoni

Head of Country Programme
Dr. Fernanda Lonardoni is Head of Country Programme in the Kingdom of Bahrain. She holds a PhD in Urban Sociology and International Development from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Since joining UN-Habitat in January 2014, she has served as a policy advisor in the housing department, as special assistant at the Executive Office and, most recently, as the Coordinator of the World Urban Forum, UN-Habitat’s leading initiative and premier global conference on cities. In the past 10 years, she has managed normative and operational projects at national and local levels, advising ministers, mayors and high-level decision makers in more than 10 countries. Prior to UN-Habitat she worked as a Programme Manager and Lead Researcher at the Cooperation and Development Centre (CODEV) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, and with the World Bank as an Urban and Housing expert.
UNDP Bahrain Resident Representative

Firas Gharaibeh

Resident Representative a.i.
Before joining Bahrain UNDP Country Office as Resident Representative a.i., Mr Gharaibeh was Country Programme Advisor with the Regional Bureau for Arab States at UNDP headquarters in New York. He served as Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) in Saudi Arabia Country Office from November 2013 to July 2019. He also worked as Deputy Resident Representative in Bahrain (2008 – July 2012). Firas was assigned to UNDP Country Office in Syria as DRR from July to October 2012, after which, he went to a one-year assignment with UN-Women Office in South Sudan/Juba. Firas joined UNDP in 1991 as a Senior Programme Officer at UNDP office in Amman.
He holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Jordan.
He is married with three children.
Hashim Hussein

Hashim Hussein

Head of the UNIDO-ITPO and Director of AICEI
Dr. Hashim S. Hussein is the Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – Investment & Technology Promotion Office (UNIDO-ITPO) and Director of the Arab International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Investment Training (AICEI) – Kingdom of Bahrain. He’s had extensive experience of over 20 years in SME and Entrepreneurship development and he is an international advocate for Women’s Economic Empowerment.
Dr Hussein holds a PhD (Honors) in International Law from the Universite de Nantes, France; and has obtained a Doctoral Research Programme from the University of Maryland at College Park, Centre for International Development and Conflict Management (CIDCM).
Hatem Aly

Hatem Aly

Representative for GCC Countries
Judge Hatem Aly, a former Senior Judge and Chief Prosecutor in Egypt, has over 20 years of experience in the areas of criminal justice and crime prevention. He previously served as a Senior Crime Prevention Expert at UNODC Headquarters in Vienna. He was also a Representative for the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights (SII) for the Middle East region and for Afghanistan. He holds a degree in International Criminal Law (ICL) from the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights in Italy as well as an ICL Diploma in International Cooperation in Penal Matters from the International Human Rights Law Institute in Chicago, USA.
Hesham Elsayed Abdelghany Moussa

Hesham Elsayed Abdelghany Moussa

Regional Representative
Dr. Hesham is the Regional Representative of World Meteorological Organization for Arab Region. He has extensive experience in programs and projects contributing to the achievement of MDGs and SDGs in developing countries in both Africa and Asia, including in Implementing number of regional climate and water-related programs and pgrading technical and human capacities of multi-countries. He has more than 25 years of experience in water resources management and development, mostly in regional and international entities. Dr. Hesham holds a Ph.D. in Water Resources Planning and Management.
Karl Kulessa

Karl Kulessa

Representative for the GCC countries
A German national, Mr Kulessa has worked with UNFPA since 1992. Since 2004 he has been UNFPA Country Representative in various countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).
As a Representative to Turkey, aside from the regular country program, his office managed a major humanitarian portfolio covering support to Syrian refugees inside Turkey and cross-border operations. Mr Kulessa has also covered Georgia and Azerbaijan as Country Director.
Mr Kulessa holds a Master of Arts in History (specializing in American foreign policy).
Khaled Khalifa

Khaled Khalifa

Regional Representative
Mr Khlaifa has 20 years of experience in relief and development. He has led humanitarian operations in various settings of natural disasters and complex emergencies, including in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Libya and Pakistan. He Holds an MA degree in English Literature & Humanities from Minia University in Egypt, an MSc in Sustainable Development from the University of London, and a Project Management Diploma from Aalborg Technical School, Denmark.
مازن شاقورة

Mazen Shaqoura

Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa
Mr. Mazen Shaqoura is currently the Regional Representative for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. He has over 25 years of experience with the United Nations in human rights, rule of law, democratic development, good governance and program management. In his previous incarnations, Mr. Shaqoura was deployed in Tunis, Bahrain, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Lebanon and Sudan. Mr. Shaqoura is fluent in Arabic, English and French and holds a Master of Arts in Diplomacy.
Mohammed Zarkani

Mohammed Zarkani

Chief of Mission
Mohamed El Zarkani is the Chief of Mission of IOM in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Mohamed acquired his BA in International Relations from Webster University in the Netherlands in 2004. Since joining IOM in 2013, he has served as programme manager for a community stabilization initiative covering Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and as Head of Programmes in IOM Kuwait, managing projects in human development and labour mobility, as well as migrant protection and assistance. Since joining IOM Bahrain in 2018, Mohamed has been responsible for developing and promoting the full range of IOM services according to the priorities of the Government of Bahrain. Leveraging Bahrain’s role as a Regional Centre for Excellence in combatting Trafficking in Persons, Mohamed has also established IOM technical support programmes with the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization in UAE. Mohamed served as the UN Resident Coordinator a.i in the Kingdom of Bahrain from November 2020 to April 2022. He is married and has two daughters.
Mounir Tabet

Mounir Tabet

Deputy Executive Secretary
Mr Mounir Tabet (Canada) took up his official functions as Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCWA in September 2018. Prior to this, he served as the UNDP Country Director for Iraq (2016-2018). He also served as the UN & UNDP Resident Coordinator in Tunisia (2013- 2016) and UNDP Country Director in Egypt (2007-2013). From 2004-2007 he was the Senior Program Advisor in the Regional Bureau for the Arab States in UNDP HQ in New York.
Previously, Mr Tabet was Edward S. Mason fellow at Harvard University – the Kennedy School of Government. There, he completed a Masters degree in Public Administration. He also holds a Masters degree in Economics from the University of Ottawa.
Ruba Jaradat

Ruba Jaradat

Regional Director
Ruba Jaradat is the ILO Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Arab States. Since she assumed her current post at the ILO in November 2015, the Regional Office has seen over an 8-fold increase in its Development Cooperation portfolio budget, as well as the development and signing-into-force of six Decent Work Country Programmes and the expansion of its policy-related support to constituents across the region. She holds a PhD in Management and International Development from the UK.
Salah Khaled

Salah Khaled

Director of UNESCO Doha Office UNESCO Representative to the Gulf States and Yemen
Mr Khaled’s career with the United Nations began in 1993, with the Operational Unit for Development Assistance (OUDA), a UNDP and Ministry of Foreign Affairs programme in Egypt, and subsequently at the UNICEF Office in Cairo from 1995 to 2001. He joined UNESCO in 2001 taking up several key positions in the Middle East, Asia, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa, including some post-conflict and post-disaster countries such as Iraq and South Sudan.
Before joining the UNESCO Doha Office for the Gulf States and Yemen, Mr Khaled latest post was Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for Central Africa based in Yaoundé (Cameroon) and UNESCO Representative to Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Sao Tome and Principe.
A graduate of the American University in Cairo with a BA in Political Sciences and an MBA in Human Development from the Arab Academy in Alexandria, he speaks fluently English, French, and Spanish in addition to his maternal Arabic. Mr Khaled is married and has a son and a daughter.
Sami Dimassi

Sami Dimassi

Director and Regional Representative of UNEP Regional Office for West Asia
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.
Sujit Kumar Mohanty

Sujit Kumar Mohanty

Chief of UNDRR Regional Office for Arab States
Sujit Kumar Mohanty is the Chief of United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Regional Office for Arab States.
Before coming to Egypt, he worked as the Head a.i and Regional Platform Coordinator for the UNDRR Asia Pacific office in Bangkok, Thailand (2011-2017) and in Geneva (2006-2011). Sujit has over 20 years of experience in the field of disaster risk management; humanitarian coordination; development; climate change and worked with number of United Nations organizations such as UNOCHA, UNDP and UNDRR.
Prior to UNDRR, he worked with UNOCHA in Sri Lanka as a Chief Technical Adviser for Risk Information Systems in 2005 and as a Manager, Disaster Information Systems in UNDP, India (2000-2005).
Sujit is an Indian national, holding dual master’s degrees in business administration and computer science.
Susanne Mikhail

Susanne Mikhail

UN Women
Regional Director
Ms Susanne Mikhail brings over 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian work in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, including with the UN. She notably served as the Director, Humanitarian Affairs, Department of Middle East, Asia and Humanitarian Affairs at SIDA; Head of Office and Resident Programme Coordinator with UNICEF in South Sudan; Regional Advisor for MENA at ‘End Child Prostitution and Trafficking International’ (ECPAT).
A national of Sweden and Egypt, Susanne holds a master of arts degree in political science from the Uppsala University of Sweden.
Dr. Tasnim Atatrah

Tasnim Atatrah

WHO Representative and Head of Office
Dr. Tasnim is a public health specialist, medical doctor, and policy fellow, who has worked in 12 countries spanning the Middle East, North Africa, and the European Region, in various capacities. She has led emergency operations and public health humanitarian responses for Gaza, Syria, and Libya. In addition, she has mobilized resources and led interventions to promote health wellbeing for refugees and migrants in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. She also oversaw the development of National Health Strategies in line with the 2030 Agenda in Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan and led interventions to strengthen health emergency preparedness and health systems in Central Asia. In doing so, she served as acting WHO representative in Kyrgyzstan (2018-2019), Tajikistan (2019), and Turkmenistan (2021).

Dr. Tasnim Atatrah’s latest assignment was in Kyrgyzstan, as Central Asia Hub Coordinator where she led the hub programme in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Her academic background includes a Doctorate in Medicine, a Master’s degree in public health and Epidemiology from Al-Quds University, a Diploma in Project Management from Bethlehem University, a High Diploma in Management of Health programs from Liverpool School for Tropical Medicine, and a Policy Fellowship from Cambridge University.