Director of Corporate Programmes at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Gwi-Yeop Son began her career in Haiti, assisting HIV/AIDS patients with the non-governmental organization Death and Dying Institute. She then worked with the Country Women’s Association of Nigeria, focusing on microfinance schemes, before becoming Assistant to the Managing Director of Lehman Brothers.
In 1994, Ms. Son was posted to Somalia as a Programme Officer with the United Nations (UN) Development Programme (UNDP), marking the beginning of an 18-year period with UNDP. After two years in Somalia, Ms. Son was appointed Assistant Resident Representative of the Governance and Environmental Management Division of UNDP in Lao PDR. In 1998, she moved to New York, spending just over two years as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator with UNDP’s Bureau of Management.
From New York, Ms. Son moved to Timor-Leste (pre-independence), where she served as the Deputy UNDP Representative between April 2000 and January 2002. She briefly returned to New York in 2002, working as a Programme Adviser on Afghanistan, before being appointed as Country Director of UNDP Indonesia, a post she held for just under four years. She moved to Thailand in June 2007 as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.
In May 2011, Ms. Son took up the post of OCHA’s Director of Corporate Programmes. This role involves direct oversight over OCHA’s work on communications, information services and policy development, in addition to its management of the Central Emergency Response Fund – a humanitarian fund established by the UN to enable more timely and reliable humanitarian assistance to those affected by natural disasters and armed conflicts.
Since its creation in 2006, CERF has raised more than $2.8 billion in contributions from Member States, private corporations and individuals, and has disbursed more than $2.5 billion to support humanitarian operations in 85 countries and territories. Ms. Son also has ultimate responsibility for OCHA’s administrative functions.
Ms. Son received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the College of Wooster in 1989, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the School of International and Public Administration of Columbia University in 1993.