Karen Koning AbuZayd

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Karen Koning AbuZayd (born 1941) is an American diplomat. On 5 January 2016, she was appointed United Nations Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants held in September 2016.[1]

Prior to this she was a Commissioner-General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from June 28, 2005 to January 20, 2010 appointed by Kofi Annan.[2] She was succeeded by her deputy Filippo Grandi.[3] She currently serves on the board of directors of UNRWA USA, a Washington-DC based 501c3 nonprofit which aims to educate the general American public about the situation of Palestine refugees and generate support for UNRWA's work.

Diplomatic career[edit]

AbuZayd worked as chief of mission for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.[2] Before joining to the UN, AbuZayd lectured in Political Science and Islamic Studies.[2] She is married and has two children.[2] She graduated from DePauw University in 1963[4] and is an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Later career[edit]

AbuZayd is a current member of the Board of Directors at the Middle East Policy Council in Washington, D.C.


  1. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Karen AbuZayd of United States Special Adviser". United Nations. 5 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
  3. ^ "Secretary-General Appoints Filippo Grandi of Italy Commissioner-General of UNRWA - Meetings Coverage and Press Releases". United Nations. 20 January 2010.
  4. ^ "Karen Koning AbuZayd '63 Named Interim Commissioner-General of UN Agency". DePauw University. 21 April 2005.

External links[edit]

Positions in intergovernmental organisations
Preceded by
Peter Hansen (Denmark)
Commissioner-General for United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
June 28, 2005–January 20, 2010
Succeeded by
Filippo Grandi (Italy)