Jemilah Mahmood

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Jemilah Mahmood
Dr. Jemilah Mahmood.jpg
Nationality Malaysian
Occupation Under Secretary General for Partnerships at IFRC, Doctor and humanitarian activist
Spouse(s) Dr Ashar Abdullah

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

MERCY Malaysia

Dr. Jemilah Mahmood is a Malaysian doctor. Since January 2016, she has served as Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).[1] Before joining the IFRC, Dr. Mahmood was the Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations in New York and was previously the Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch at UNFPA in 2011.[2][3] From 1999-2009, she was the President of the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), a medical charity which she founded in June 1999, inspired by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).[4] In 2008, she was one of 16 members appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund.[5]


Mahmood attended Assunta Girls School in Petaling Jaya.[6] She graduated in 1986 as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the National University of Malaysia (UKM), and went on to earn her Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the university in 1992. She became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the United Kingdom, and received training in various subspecialties of gynaecology in the United Kingdom. Jemilah has completed the Program for Executive Development at the International Institute of Management and Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland as well.[7]


She started her career in Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, and was a lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Medical Faculty of UKM until 1995. She also served as a research fellow at Tokyo University, and became a fellow of the UK Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 2004.[8]

From 1995 to 1998, she was the Treasurer for the Malaysian Obstetrical & Gynaecological Organisation. She was also the Vice President for the Malaysian Menopause Organisation from 1999 to 2000.[9] Until 2009, she was an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital in Kuala Lumpur.[9] From 2009 to 2011, Dr Jemilah was in charge of the humanitarian branch of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in New York City, where she directed her efforts toward reproductive health, gender-based violence, and emergency population data.[10]

On May 2014, Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood was appointed to head the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) headquarters in New York. "I am extremely grateful and honoured to be appointed to lead the charge in such an important initiative, and that a Malaysian has been selected for the role," said Dr Jemilah in a statement.[11] About the World Humanitarian Summit which integrates the voices of those rarely heard in the international arena, she explains, "This is done through eight regional consultations with affected people, civil society organisations, academia, governments, the private sector and new donors, to really have global solidarity on the current situation of humanitarian challenges."[12] Based on what she had learned at Teach for Malaysia, she further added, if the problems are universal, then the solutions are shareable. According to Dr Jemilah, the consultation is necessary right now because, "in spite of progress and innovation, humanitarian needs are outpacing the response. This is partly because in protracted crises, such as in Syria, where people are displaced by violence that continues with no end in sight, or in the Sahel, where drought recurs every few years, people’s needs are multi-dimensional."[13]

MERCY Malaysia[edit]

The medical charity founded by Mahmood, MERCY Malaysia, has performed medical charity and medical rescue work in several countries, including Afghanistan and in Indonesia following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.[14]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 2002: Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP) from Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak[15]
  • 2003: First East Asia Women’s Peace Award - Humanitarian Service category[7]
  • 2006: Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award, Morehouse College[16]
  • 2009: Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM) from DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agong [17]
  • 2013: Isa Award for Service to Humanity [18]

Personal life[edit]

Mahmood is married to Dr. Ashar Abdullah, and they have two sons.[19]


  1. ^ Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General, Partnerships, Global Senior Management Team
  2. ^ [1] WHS Middle East & North Africa Consultation Meeting
  3. ^ [2] Visit of Jemilah Mahmood, Chief of the WHS Secretariat, to the EC, 26 November 2014
  4. ^ [3] IMD alumna Jemilah Mahmood receives prestigious ISA Award for Service to Humanity, 03 July 2013
  5. ^ [4] UN Secretary-General appoints new members to Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund, 31 October 2008
  6. ^ "An angel of mercy". 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ [5] Jemilah Mahmood, MD
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Rebuilding lives". The Star (Malaysia). 10 October 2007. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "MERCY Malaysia's Datuk Dr. Jemilah Mahmood Is First Malaysian To Win Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award". MERCY Malaysia. 2006. 
  17. ^ [6]
  18. ^ "Bahrain honours Mercy Malaysia's Dr Jemilah Mahmood for services to humanity". The Star (Malaysia). 2 May 2013. 
  19. ^

External links[edit]