THORAYA AHMED OBAID - UNFPA Executive Director, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
Thoraya Ahmed Obaid is the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Ms. Obaid was appointed head of UNFPA in January 2001, with the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. She is the first Saudi Arabian to head a United Nations agency.
Ms. Obaid also serves as Chair of the High-level Committee on Management of the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB). The Committee is the principal United Nations inter-agency body for coordinating administrative and management matters.
Throughout her career, Ms. Obaid has emphasized the importance of development that emerges from the context of each society, taking into consideration the cultural values and religious beliefs that shape people and affect their actions. As UNFPA Executive Director, she has introduced a special focus on culture in the Fund’s development work, thereby linking universal values of human rights to values of human worth promoted by all religions and found in all cultures.
Ms. Obaid is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment and universal access to reproductive health and has received many awards and honors.