Prior to becoming Officer-in-Charge in Turkey in September 2019, Mr. Rodriguez was UN Resident Coordinator in the United Republic of Tanzania from August 2014. Mr. Rodriguez has served in the UN since 1991 when he began his work with UNDP in Kenya and then served in China and Thailand. Over the course of his career with the UN he has held senior level positions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia where he was UNDP Country Director. Additionally, he served as Policy Support Coordinator in UNDP Headquarters in New York where he was responsible for the oversight of UNDP’s Global Programme. Mr. Rodriguez is originally from Chile, but is a citizen of Canada.
Turkey Country Director
Ms. Varbanova assumed the position of Country Director of UN Women Turkey in April 2019. Prior to that, she was Chief Technical Advisor for the UN Women Country Office in Moldova since 2015 and the Representative a.i. in 2017- 2018. Previously, Ms. Varbanova served as Head of Office for the UN Women Programme Office in the Republic of Serbia in 2010-2015 and Head of Office for UNIFEM in North Macedonia in 2008-2010. In 2015, Ms. Varbanova was deployed to Nepal to serve as Gender and Humanitarian Advisor for UN Women’s post-earthquake response. Ms. Varbanova is a national of Bulgaria and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, USA.
Mr. Tomasi was appointed UNDP Resident Representative for Turkey in December 2018. Previously, he served as UNDP Country Director for Turkey from July 2016 to November 2018. He has also held the role of UNDP Deputy Representative in Cuba (2012-2016), in Nicaragua (2008-12), and in the Dominican Republic (2003-2007). With UNDP, he also worked in Panama as Assistant Resident Representative (2002) and in India as Governance Programme Officer (2001). Mr. Tomasi graduated from the University of Sociology in Trento (Italy) and holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London (UK).
Mr. Laukkanen officially began his role as UN Security Advisor for Turkey in September 2016. Previously, he was the Chief SIOC from 2015 to 2016. Mr. Laukkanen joined UN Security in 2001 in UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) with UN Headquarters Security and Safety Service (SSS). From 2004 to 2005 he worked with UNSECOORD in Afghanistan and UNICEF Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) before joining UNDSS in 2005. Since then, he has served in South Sudan, Georgia and Pakistan. Mr. Laukkanen holds Master’s Degree in Political History from the University of Tampere and University of Turku in Finland.
Kadir Ahmet Parla
National Information Officer
Before joining the UN, Parla worked for the Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate General of Press and Information, in various capacities including, Director of Antalya Provincial Office and Acting Director of Information Department. He also worked as the Press Attaché at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C, USA. He has master's degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.
Since 2015, Mr. Kulessa is UNFPA Representative in Turkey and Country Director for Azerbaijan, and Georgia. UNFPA’s portfolio in Turkey also includes a substantial program for Syrian refugees and cross-border operations. A German national, Mr. Kulessa has worked with UNFPA since 1992. After a two-year posting as Junior Professional Officer in New York, focusing on interagency coordination, he moved to the “field” covering countries in Africa and Asia. Since 2004 he has been UNFPA country representative in various countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).
Ms. Lumpp took office as UNHCR Representative in Turkey in October 2017. After her law studies in Germany, she began working for UNHCR in Brussels and Bonn, followed by two assignments in Afghanistan and at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva. In 2006, she was appointed Deputy Regional Representative for Protection in Egypt. Four years later, she joined the UNHCR Regional Office for Southern Europe, also as Deputy Regional Representative, based in Italy and later in Greece. From 2014 onward, she headed the Protection Service in the UNHCR Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), based in Amman, until she moved to Berlin in December 2015 as the UNHCR Representative in Germany.
Head of Office a.i.
Markus Werne, a Swedish and U.S. national, is currently serving as Head of UNOCHA’s Country Office in Turkey, supporting the Syria crisis. Previously he served as Head of UNOCHA Pakistan and Head of UNOCHA’s Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) in Thailand. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Werne has worked with coordination of humanitarian response in various contexts globally. He holds a Master’s Degree in Peace and Conflict Research from Uppsala University in Sweden.
Mr. Grede became WFP Representative for Turkey in September 2017. Before that, he was the Representative in El Salvador. Mr. Grede was WFP Deputy Director in Jakarta, Indonesia (2013-2014) and temporarily served as WFP Interim Deputy Director in Brazzaville, Congo (2013) and WFP Interim Country Director in Mbabane, Swaziland (2012-2013). Before that he was Deputy Chief of Nutrition and HIV/AIDS Policy at WFP’s Headquarters. Prior to joining WFP, he held senior management roles at Boston Consulting Group. Mr. Grede is a German national and is fluent in eight languages. He holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Islamic and Middle Eastern Sciences from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and an MBA from Stanford University.
Mr. Özcan became Director of the ILO Office for Turkey in January 2015. Mr. Özcan started his career at the Hak-İş Trade Union Confederation in 1998. He then worked in the private sector on international business risk consultancy, and in the public sector, contracting and managing EU-funded social and employment projects. During his employment at the EU Delegation to Turkey (2005-2015), Mr. Özcan followed up EU-Turkey accession negotiations in social policy and employment areas. Mr. Özcan studied Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), and obtained masters degrees in International Business and Management from the University of Westminster (London) and in International Relations from Gazi University (Ankara).
Dr. Ursu has more than 15 years of experience in international health coordination and global health development. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Science Degree in Public Health, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, UK and a Master Degree in Health Services Management. Before joining WHO, Dr. Ursu combined his work as an Emergency Doctor specialist with Emergency Medical Services, and was later employed at the Moldova Ministry of Health as Head of the International Relations Office. Dr. Pavel Ursu joined WHO in 2001 and served as Head of WHO’s Moldova Country Office since 2003. During 2010-2015, Dr. Ursu served as WHO Representative in Tajikistan. Since May 2015, Dr. Ursu is WHO Representative in Turkey.
Mr. Duamelle has been UNICEF Representative to Turkey since February 2015. He previously served as UNICEF Representative in Egypt, Sri Lanka and Benin, as well as Executive Officer in the Office of the Executive Director at UNICEF Headquarters in New York. Mr. Duamelle also worked in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office in Kenya. Prior to joining UNICEF, Philippe Duamelle worked with UNDP in Turkey as well as the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq. He holds a graduate degree in Management and Development from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce et de Development, Lyon France; and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Mr. Yilmaz has been UNIDO Country Representative & Director of the UNIDO Centre for Regional Cooperation in Turkey since November 2009, having worked for the OECD Development Centre in Paris as Adviser, Economist-Policy Analyst from 2007 to 2009. Between 2003 and 2007, He was Representative of the Turkish Standards Institute in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and then he was Head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo) Coordination Office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA). He worked at the European Commission-DG Enterprise and Industry in Brussels between 1999-2000. He holds an MBA from Warwick Business School, UK, an MSc in Economics from Hacettepe University, Ankara, and a BSc in Physics from the Middle East Technical University, Ankara.
Mr. Gutu has been FAO Representative for Turkey and Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Asia since 2018. Previously, he served as FAO Representative in Tajikistan (2014-2018). He started his career at Price Waterhouse LLC in 1994. He has held various positions at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry in Moldova and worked at senior levels on several USAID projects related to agribusiness development and agricultural policy. Between 2011 and 2014, he worked as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry in Chisinau, Moldova. Mr. Gutu obtained a master’s degree in Management and a doctorate degree in Economics from the Technical University of Moldova (1995-1998).
Chief of Mission
Mr. Gvilava joined IOM Turkey as Chief of Mission in August 2015. With 27 years of experience implementing and administering IOM’s large-scale emergency and post-crisis projects, Mr. Gvilava has proved his success in strategically planning migration management programmes. His innovative approach to the field of operations, includes an emphasis on effective management of supply chains, promotes programing that is evidence-based and quality oriented. Prior to his assignment in Turkey, Mr. Gvilava was Head of IOM Iraq Regional Hub in Erbil. He has also served in Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Cyprus and Jordan with emergency assignments to Sudan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Myanmar and Lebanon.