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Department of Management > 2017 Secretary-General Awards > Ms. Khawla Mattar

Ms. Khawla MattarSG Awards

Winner, 2016 Secretary-General Award in the category of Courage

As the Head of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria in Damascus, Khawla Mattar has been working right in the crucible of the Syrian crisis for years. She upholds the UN Charter in an extremely insecure environment marked by armed conflict.

Mattar SGKhawla led the first international mission into the besieged city of Darayya. Her courageous actions made it possible for UN assistance to reach 4,000 civilians trapped there - after four years of isolation. Countless hours Khawla has been spending in negotiations facilitating the departure from besieged areas of persons in need of life-saving medical care.

In 2015 Khawla travelled to Aleppo, leading a UN convoy into a highly dangerous environment where she spent several days preparing diplomatic and political efforts of the Special Envoy. Khawla has demonstrated sustained courage, fortified by an unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Syrians living under indescribably harsh circumstances. Her exceptional performance in supporting the difficult mission of the UN has helped to define the role of the Office of the Special Envoy in Damascus as a trusted interlocutor that delivers results among stakeholders and beneficiaries.

Khawla regularly travels to volatile areas outside of government control to meet with armed opposition groups and beleaguered populations, sometimes amidst continuing attacks. Her field missions into besieged areas, often at the risk of great personal peril, have enabled the UN to develop more accurate assessments and form better assumptions for the planning of humanitarian and political interventions.

Khawla has built strong and effective working relationships and coordination structures with government officials and humanitarian actors, both within and outside of the UN system. Khawla’s dedication and commitment has allowed the UN to mitigate human suffering amid the most dangerous territories in Syria.

Our congratulations to Khawla Mattar for winning the Secretary-General Award 2016 in the category Courage!

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