Catherine Russell, a senior official of US President Joe Biden’s administration, has been named head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a UN spokesperson announced Friday.
Russell, 60, is currently the director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel and assistant to the president.
Appointed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Russell will replace fellow American Henrietta Fore, who resigned in July to care for her ailing husband.
During her career Russell has advocated for women and girls as a senior advisor on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and as an ambassador for global women’s issues in Barack Obama’s administration, a White House press release said.
“We will miss Cathy. But our loss is UNICEF’s gain, because children around the world will lead richer, safer, and healthier lives as a direct result of Cathy’s leadership in this new role,” the statement said.
UNICEF is a UN agency headed by a board of directors made up of 36 members who represent the five regional groups of United Nations member states: Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, and Europe.
It advocates for children in 190 countries and territories with an overall estimated budget of $22.8 billion for 2018-2021.
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