Regional director of UNICEF office in the Middle East and North Africa
Ms. Adele Khodr assumed her role as UNICEF Regional Director the Middle East and North Africa in March 2022.
Ms. Khodr has been working with UNICEF since 1990. With over 30 years of service in UNICEF, she brings strong and dynamic leadership skills and strategic management experience combined with a deep understanding of UNICEF’s work in both emergency and development contexts across four of UNICEF’s seven regions. Her foundation expertise is in child protection.
Adele started her career in UNICEF Lebanon, and then moved to UNICEF Sudan where she headed the Child Protection Section from 2002 to 2005. She then moved to the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia where she worked on child trafficking. From 2006-2008, she served as Deputy Representative in Sierra Leone, West Africa.
Adele moved in 2008 to UNICEF India to head the largest UNICEF field office in the world, namely in Uttar Pradesh, serving a population of 200 million persons with a focus on polio eradication, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection with special focus on child labour. She conducted policy dialogue and advocacy with the state government and other partners for enhancement of child rights and women in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Adele worked as UNICEF Representative in Cote d’Ivoire between October 2013 and April 2016 where she headed an office of nearly 110 staff, with a special focus on child and maternal health, nutrition, and child protection.
Right after Cote d’Ivoire, Ms. Khodr was appointed as the UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan from June 2016 to April 2019. UNICEF’s programme in Afghanistan is among the top ten UNICEF programmes in the world. The work involved humanitarian action, as well as work on polio eradication and children impacted by armed conflict. After Afghanistan, Adele moved in May 2019 to become the UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia where she served until September 2021. Her work involved leading both humanitarian and development action in one of UNICEF’s largest three programmes in Africa.
Prior to joining UNICEF, Adele was a lecturer in Sociology and Anthropology at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the Lebanese American University from 1987 to 1994, overlapping with her work at UNICEF.
A national of Lebanon, she completed her studies at the AUB, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and a Master’s in Social Anthropology.
She is fluent in Arabic, French and English.
Follow Ms. Khodr on Twitter @AdeleKhodr