For information only - not an official document.
Biographical Note   UNIS/SG/A/133
    27 October 2000
  Secretary-General Appoints Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia
As Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund

NEW YORK, 25 October (UN Headquarters) -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of Thoraya Obaid of Saudi Arabia as Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  She succeeds Dr. Nafis Sadik, a national of Pakistan, who held the post since 1987 and to whom the Secretary-General paid tribute today saying she had done "such a remarkable job in her 13 years in office".

The UNFPA is the world's largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries.  Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided more than $4.5 billion in assistance to virtually all developing countries.

Ms. Obaid is no stranger to UNFPA, where she has worked since 1998 as Director of the Division for Arab States and Europe.  Before that she had worked in various positions at the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).  She held the post of Deputy Executive Secretary between 1993 and 1998, and was Officer-in-Charge of ESCWA in 1994 and 1995.  Among other positions, she was Chief of the Social Development and Population Division in 1992 and 1993.  Ms. Obaid has published many articles and presented papers in national, regional and international meetings on issues related to Arab women and the Arab/Muslim social context.

 In her new position, Ms. Obaid will direct UNFPA's population and reproductive health programme, as well as the Fund's relations with the United Nations system and the international community of donors and programme countries.  She will provide leadership for advocacy and fund-raising for the organization's programme and budget, and manage UNFPA's financial and human resources, consisting of approximately 1,000 staff.  The post of Executive Director is at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

 Ms. Obaid studied English Literature and Cultural Anthropology at the Universities of Mills College in California and Wayne State in Detroit, Michigan, where she was awarded a PhD.  She is married and has two daughters.

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