3 January 2006

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Amat Al Aleem Ali Alsoswa of Yemen as Director of UN Development Programme's Bureau for Arab States

NEW YORK, 30 December (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Amat Al Aleem Ali Alsoswa of Yemen as Assistant Secretary-General, Assistant Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Director of its Regional Bureau for Arab States.

Ms. Alsoswa is currently Minister for Human Rights in Yemen, and has served previously as Yemen's ambassador to Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.  From 1997 to 1999, she served as Under-Secretary at Yemen's Ministry of Information.  She will lead 500 UNDP staff covering the 17 country offices in the Arab region, with the eighteenth office located in the Palestinian territories.

Ms. Alsoswa succeeds Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, who, as director of the UNDP Arab States Bureau since 2000 was responsible for the groundbreaking Arab Human Development Reports.  The fourth report in the originally planned four-part series will be published in the spring of 2006.

The intersection of democracy and women's empowerment in the information age has been a focus of Ms. Alsoswa's career.  A long-time proponent of broadening political participation in Yemen, she led the Yemeni Women's' Union before joining the Ministry of Information in 1997 to 1999.  In the international arena, she has worked as a consultant to UNDP and its sister agencies, and has published and lectured widely.  Ms. Alsoswa holds a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from Cairo University and a Master of Arts in international communications from American University in the United States.

In line with the UNDP mandate, the work of the Arab States Bureau has ranged from capacity-building to policy formulation within a region that has a wide diversity of needs due to its varied economic bases.  In addition, the Regional Bureau has taken into consideration the importance of public awareness of development issues in the region.  In recent years, the UNDP's National Human Development Reports have become a prominent resource within many Arab countries -- and in 2002, the first regional Arab Human Development Report was released providing a comparative analysis of the area and highlighting its critical development issues.

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