Dr. Saja Farooq Abdullah Appointed as New UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan

Dr. Abdullah presented her accreditation letter to Mr. Yalchin Rafiyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, marking the commencement of her tenure

31 January 2024
meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister

BAKU, Azerbaijan, 31 January 2024 - Dr. Saja Farooq Abdullah has officially assumed her role as the UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan.

Dr. Abdullah presented her accreditation letter to Mr. Yalchin Rafiyev, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, marking the commencement of her tenure.

“It is a great honor and privilege to start my assignment as UNICEF Representative in Azerbaijan, helping to create a better future for the children in the country," said Dr. Abdullah.

"I look forward to working with the Government of Azerbaijan and partners to advance  our support for children, particularly in areas of health, education, child protection, and climate. As the country is preparing to host COP29, UNICEF is ready to partner with COP29 presidency to ensure that children and youth are at the center of this important climate event,” highlights the newly appointed UNICEF Representative.

During the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Yalchin Rafiyev acknowledged the partnership with UNICEF and expressed hope that collaboration will continue in different sectors to promote the wellbeing of children and young people in Azerbaijan.

‘“You arrived in the country in a historic moment that Azerbaijan is preparing for COP29.  As UNICEF and its scope of activities is one of focus areas, we would be pleased to cooperate and partner in bringing up initiatives or joint events, especially regarding climate education for children and youth”, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Dr. Abdullah brings over 26 years of international experience in Management and Humanitarian Coordination, Health and Nutrition, and Early Childhood Development with international NGOs, UN agencies and governments.

Dr. Abdullah worked in UNICEF Türkiye, UNICEF Maldives, the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman, Jordan, UNICEF Sudan and UNICEF Yemen, where she led various programmes for children. She also served in UNICEF Bangladesh as Chief of Field Services and coordinated the work of six field offices, from where she joined UNICEF Azerbaijan.

Dr. Abdullah is a national of Iraq. She holds a bachelor's degree in General Medicine and Surgery from the University of Baghdad, a master's degree in Community Health Science from the National University of Malaysia and a postgraduate diploma in Public Health from the University of Basrah.

Under Dr. Abdullah's leadership, UNICEF Azerbaijan remains committed to expanding its work for children and young people in the country. Together with the government and partners, UNICEF will continue its efforts to advance child rights and reach all children with primary health, social protection, and quality education.

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