The UN Secretary-General has announced Sima Sami Bahous as the new Executive Director of UN Women, with António Guterres describing the new leader as “a champion for women and girls” when announcing her appointment on Monday.
Bahous, a Jordanian national who has served as Jordan’s UN ambassador in New York since 2016, said she will champion gender equality and youth empowerment, as well as be a “keen advocate for quality education, poverty alleviation and inclusive governance”.
Fluent in Arabic, English and French, Bahous has spent the last 35 years leading groups at the grassroots, national, regional and international levels, and will now demonstrate her expertise heading the UN’s gender equality and empowerment entity.
In a formal statement published on Monday, António Guterres described the newly appointed Executive Director as an expert in advancing women’s empowerment and rights, addressing discrimination and violence, and promoting sustainable socio-economic development.
Between 2012 to 2016, Bahous was the Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the UN Development Programme.
Prior to that, she was the Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Social Development Sector at the League of Arab States between 2008 to 2012.
She served as President of the Higher Media Council in Jordan from 2005 to 2008 and as Adviser to King Abdullah II from 2003 to 2005.
She has also worked at UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, and taught development and communication classes at different universities in her birth-country of Jordan.
Guterres added that he was “deeply grateful” to the outgoing Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa, for the “commitment and dedicated service” she showed as head of UN Women.