United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Filippo Grandi has been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years – over 26 of which have been as a United Nations official. His focus has mainly been refugee and humanitarian work, addressing the human consequences of several major conflicts of the last three decades, including a number of countries in Africa (especially Sudan and the Great Lakes region), as well as in Southeast Asia and the broader Middle East. From 1997 to 2001 he worked as Special Assistant and then Chief of Staff of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. From 2001 to 2005 he worked in Afghanistan, first with UNHCR and then with the UN political mission as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General. Later assignments, from 2005 till 2014, were with UNRWA, the UN Agency for Palestine refugees – first as Deputy Commissioner-General and then as Commissioner-General of the organisation for four years. On 1 January 2016, he began a 5-year term as UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Filippo graduated with a degree in modern history from the State University of Milan in 1981, and he has an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Issam Fares Institute, American University of Beirut, and an Honorary Associate of the Refugee Studies Centre.
Filippo delivered the 2011 Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture, speaking on 'Waiting for solutions in uncertain times: Palestine refugees in the Middle East context'. He also spoke at the RSC 30th Anniversary Conference in 2012, which focused on the theme of 'Understanding Global Refugee Policy'.