Leadership

Inspired by the opening words of the United Nations Charter "We the Peoples", the World Federation was created in 1946 - one year after the establishment of the UN.
As it is outlined in our Constitution, the World Federation of United Nations Associations has the following leadership structure:
 

The Plenary Assembly is the supreme organ of WFUNA. It consists of delegations appointed by member UNAs and meets at least once every three years. The responsibilities of the Plenary Assembly are detailed in Article 8 of the Constitution.The Plenary Assembly elects the President, Vice-Presidents (6), Secretary-General, Treasurer and Executive Committee (18 members). The Executive Committee elects its own Chair and Vice Chairs (2). The Plenary Assembly may confer the title of Honorary President upon the recommendation of the Executive Committee.

President

Ambassador Park Soo-gil, prior to his election as President of WFUNA at the 39th Plenary Assembly in August 2009, served as the Republic of Korea’s Ambassador in the Kingdom of Morocco, Canada, to the European Office of the United Nations in Geneva and the UN in New York, from 1984 to 1998.

Secretary-General

Secretary-General

Bonian Golmohammadi was elected Secretary-General of the World Federation of United Nations Associations in August 2009. Previously, Mr. Golmohammadi served as Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of Sweden for eight years.

Treasurer

Treasurer

In March 2009, Sundeep Bhutoria was elected as the Treasurer of the World Federation of United Nations Associations during the 196th Executive Committee meeting held in Ottawa, Canada. Born in Churu in the Shekawati region of Rajasthan (India), Sundeep Bhutoria is a name synonymous with social welfare and cultural integration. View his blog

Chair of Executive Committee

Alexei N Borisov

Chair of the Executive Committee

Alexei N Borisov is the Head of UNESCO Chair on Human Rights and Democracy, MGIMO-University. Mr. Borisov has served as Deputy Chairman and Secretary-General of UNA-Russia. He has also published many works on democracy, terrorism, the UN and NGO movements.

 

Vice Chairs of Executive Committee

Jay Jethwa

Vice-Chair

Jay Jethwa is a medical scientist as well as a corporate lawyer by training. He is admitted as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the High Court of Australia. He holds directorships in a number of healthcare and biotechnology-related companies in Australia and internationally, and spends his time between business communities in Australia, the United Kingdom and India. He has been involved in the UN System in Australia for more than 20 years. Being a great believer in the ideals of the United Nations, Jay has been an active proponent of peaceful resolution of conflicts, and of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, he is keen in ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all. He actively participates in numerous charitable organizations in Australia and overseas. Jay was re-elected to the Executive Committee of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations at its Plenary Assembly in Vancouver, Canada in November 2015.

Vice-Chair

Kathryn White assumed the position of President & CEO of UNA-Canada in December 2003. Previously, Ms. White had been the President of Black & White Inc. Ms. White has published widely on climate change, youth-at-risk, international peace building, conflict resolution and many other topics. She was elected Chair of the Executive Committee in August 2009.

Chair of the Finance Committee

Ramaz Aptsiauri is a cofounder of UNA Georgia. He holds the Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Tbilisi State University, Georgia.

Mr. Aptsiauri served on various executive positions in UNA Georgia since 1995. In 2003, he was awarded the World Tolerance Award by the Friends of United Nations, NYC. He served on the position of the WFUNA Treasurer in 2003-2009. He is an elected member of the WFUNA Executive Committee and Chair of its Finance Committee since 2009.

Vice Presidents

Amb. Chang-beom Cho Photo

Ambassador Chang Beom Cho is Vice President of the UN Association of the Republic of Korea and Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies, Seoul National University. He was Deputy Foreign Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations, Korean Foreign Ministry. Amb. Cho is a career diplomat who has served as the Ambassador of Korea to Australia, the Republic of Austria, and the Czech Republic. He was elected as Vice-President of the WFUNA at its 40th Plenary Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in November 2012.

Aleksander Gabelic

Aleksander Gabelic

Aleksander Gabelic serves as the elected President of the UN Association of Sweden since 2000. Born in 1965 he is a jurist by profession and has a law degree from Lund University. Mr Gabelic has served as a Member of the Swedish Parliament in 2006-2010 and was a candidate of the election to the European Parliament in 2014. He has a background with the National Council of Swedish Youth Organizations among others. He has extensive experience on a number of UN matters relating to peace and security, sustainable development and human rights. 

 

Janet Edna Nyame, Vice-President, WFUNA

Janet Edna Nyame Phillips is a lecturer by profession with thirty eight years teaching experience. She holds a bachelors degree in Vocational and technical education and a masters degree in educational management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. She has been a member of United Nations Association-Ghana since 1991. She was the president of Takoradi Polytechnic chapter, Regional Coordinator, Deputy Secretary General and Secretary General of UNA-GHANA.

Asso. Prof. Dambar Thapa has served UNA of Nepal as its Secretary General over 30 years. He was elected as its President in 2008 and since then he is serving UNA of Nepal as its president. Prof. Thapa was elected as the WFUNA's Vice-President in the Plenary Assembly held in Argentina. 

Christos Theodoulou has been President of UNA- Cyprus since March 2002, and he has been re-elected for a new term of 4 years in February 2008 and in 2012. A member of the UNA since 1969, he was in the Council as an Organizing Commissioner, Vice- President, and Chairman of the Larnaca branch.  Read his thoughts on the passing of Horace Pereira

Executive Committee

Soraya Elena Alvarez Nunez

Soraya Elena Alvarez Nunez was appointed Executive Director of UNA-Cuba in January 2013.

She is the Chief Executive Board of UNA-Cuba with responsibility of budget, staffing and projects. Responsibilities also include representing UNA Cuba at national and international levels. The organization has more than 100 national civil society organizations as members. She works regularly with United Nations agencies in Cuba.

Richard Baguma

Broadcaster with a passion for peace and development, Richard Baguma has been a member of WFUNA Task Force on WSIS. Regional Coordinator for the UN DPI/NGO Exec Committee. Founder, board member UNA Uganda. Was chief host for the WFUNA Regional Academy for Africa bringing African UNAs and other UNAs to Uganda. Holds an MSC in Project Planning and Management and a BA Journalism and Mass Communication. A husband and father.

Emil Elías Chireno Haché is a Dominican Attorney and the current Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic. Emil was appointed by the President of the board of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic and former President of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Leonel Fernández in July 2013.  

Fisher Chiyanike is the President and Founder of the United Nations Association of Zimbabwe. Since its founding in 2002, he has managed to establish 35 UN Clubs in High Schools and 7 University Chapters in Zimbabwe involving students and teachers in UN topical issues and currently in the transition from MDGs to SDGs

Mr. Chiyanike spearheaded and championed advocacy on the Post-2015 Development Agenda in Zimbabwe after Rio+20 Conference in 2012 fully engaging grassroots organizations; high schools and universities in Zimbabwe in The World We Want Campaigns and encouraged the Zimbabweans to cast their votes though ; www.vote.myworld2015.org and by August, 2015 almost 17 500 Zimbabweans had voted and mostly the youths.

Ervin Gömbös

Ervin Gömbös has been the Secretary-General UNA- Hungary since 1981. He has held various leadership positions in WFUNA (Vice-President 1983-87, 1991-95, 2009-, member of the Executive Committee 1987-91, 1995-2009). He is a Professor at the International Business School in Budapest. Earlier he worked for the United Nations Statistical Office in New York for five years. He is the author of two books and co-author or editor of many others and has published some 50 studies on informatics, economics and international relations.

Ali Kiyaei

Ali Kiyaei photo

Ali Kiyaei serves as an Executive Secretary General of the United Nations Association of South Africa since 2011 and is on the board of two business start-ups. He joined the UNA about 5 years ago through a university chapter. Through UNASA he advocates the role of societies taking responsibility of their own communities through the ideas of the UN Millennium Development Goals. He has achieved in expanding the role of the UNA to include new chapters within and around South Africa. His ideas have been on the forefront of the many inter-civil society projects that UNASA implements within its strategic framework.

Helena Laukko

Helena Laukko, UNA-Finland

Helena Laukko is the Executive Director of the UN Association of Finland. She has fifteen years of experience in development cooperation work, including fieldwork in Uganda, and served as Executive Director of the International Solidarity Foundation. She is a member of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, Secretary of the Social Democratic Party’s section for development cooperation, and a member of the Development Policy Committee (2003–2007) and its predecessor the Advisory Board for Relations with Developing Countries (KESU).
 

Liu Zhixian is currently Vice-President and Director-General of the United Nations Association of China (UNA-China) and a member of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Association (WFUNA). He also serves as Chinese Expert for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.

Armine Podosyan has been serving as a President of the United Nations Association of Armenia (AUNA) since 2008 and was elected as member of the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at the 40th WFUNA Plenary Assembly. Ms. Podosyan has an extensive and progressively responsible 20 years experience in the civil society sector and in various organizations such as AUNA, Center for Health Services Research & Development of American University of Armenia Fund, Armenian Center for Integration and Democratization NGO, Young Men’s Christian Association Armenia NGO, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies/International Post-Traumatic Rehabilitation Center. 

Norma Rojas

Norma Rojas has a diverse academic and professional career in both Venezuela and Spain. Ms. Rojas most recently served as the Community Projects Specialist at CIDEU in Barcelona, Spain. She also worked as a Human Ecology Specialist at the International Center of Research and Social Dynamic Studies in Caracas. Ms. Rojas holds an International Diploma in Human Rights from the Technological Center University, Valencia.

Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of UNA-UK

Natalie Samarasinghe joined UNA-UK in 2006, and was appointed Executive Director on 1 July 2013. Natalie leads the UNA-UK staff team in undertaking advocacy and outreach in support of the organisation's mission to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. She works closely with UNA-UK's Chairman, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the Board of Trustees, and key stakeholders to set and implement strategic objectives, lobby decision-makers, provide information and advice, and facilitate campaigning and educational activities. She also acts as editor-in-chief of UNA-UK's print and online resources, including New World magazine. Prior to joining UNA-UK, Natalie worked in various roles in the public, private and education sectors, including for Oxfordshire Social & Health Care and the University of Oxford, and concurrently as a freelance journalist. She has degrees from the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics.

Kari Solholm

Kari Solholm, the Secretary-General of UNA-Norway, has over 24 years experience working for UNA-Norway. During this time, she was a board member of the Norwegian UNESCO-commission, as well as an alternate board member on both the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg. Mrs. Solholm also has over 10 years experience as a teacher.

Cissa Wa Numbe has been as adviser to the the UN Secretary-General's special representative to UN-Africa Union led International Conference for Peace, Security and Development for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Currently, Dr. Cissa Wa Numbe is the Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (UNA-DRC). UNA-DRC has three offices located in the cities of Kinshasa, Goma, and Bukavu, D.R. Congo.

Chris Whatley serves as Executive Director of UNA-USA. Before joining UNF, Chris served as Washington Office Director and Deputy Executive Director of The Council of State Governments (CSG), representing elected officials in all 50 states and the six territories on Capitol Hill and serving as an appointed advisor to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Honorary Presidents

Hans Blix

Klaus Hüfner

Rhyl Jansen

Gregory M. Kovrizhenko

Hilkka Pietilä

Doug Roche

Rena Shashua Hasson

Rena Shashua Hasson, Attorney at law, Member of the Israel Bar Association, was conferred the title of Honorary President at the 41st Plenary Assembly in Vancouver.

In the past, she has served as Vice President of the High Disciplinary Court of the Bar Association and was awarded the Bar Council ‘WOMEN IN LAW’ award in 2009. She also founded and served as CEO of the roof organization of NGO’s in Israel, legal advisor to the Women’s Organizations of Israel and Board member of Bank Leumi. In 2010, she was awarded Honorary Citizen of Ramat Hasharon in Israel.

Rena has been active as board member and Vice President of the WFUNA Executive Committee for the last 25 years.

Mihaly Simai

Androula Vassiliou

Past Honorary Presidents

Mogens Hasdorf
Nelson Mandela
Ram Niwas Mirdha, M.P  
Horace Pereira
Arthur Ross
 

In Memory of...

Hashim Abdul Halim
Malcolm Harper
Axel Wüstenhagen

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