New Keynote Speaker

We are pleased to announce that Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa will deliver the Keynote Address at the 2019 Annual Meeting.

The full text of Nardos Bekele-Thomas’ speech is available here.

Nardos Bekele-Thomas

Nardos Bekele-Thomas is currently the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in South Africa.

Prior to this, she served (2016–2017) as the Senior Director of the Office of the Secretary-General, in charge of the overall management of the Office of the Secretary-General, the Office of the Chef de Cabinet and that of the Deputy Secretary-General. Previously, she was the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Kenya. She also served as UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Benin from November 2008 to September 2013.

As Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative, Ms. Bekele-Thomas had the overall responsibility for high-level social, political and economic policy advisory services to the highest Government authorities at national and local levels and to key private sector and civil society actors. She has also been responsible for the overall coordination of collective UN operational activities for development results as well as the delivery of effective UNDP programme of assistance aimed at promoting and supporting pro-poor and inclusive economic growth and development. The primary programmatic focus of her work includes policy dialogue at the highest level of national governance, strategic public-private sector consultations, resource mobilization, pro-poor policy and programme development and implementation at the local and national levels.

Ms. Bekele-Thomas’ professional experience and background in the field of development span a broad spectrum, including private sector development strategies and policies, public policy; decentralized governance and participatory development; public/civil service reform and management; public-private sector strategic partnerships; women and youth leadership; empowerment and employment; and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) for development. She holds a Master’s Degree and a Ph.D. Candidate Certificate in Economic Development, Monetary Economics and Econometrics from New York University (NYU). Ms. Bekele-Thomas is a member of the Group of African Eminent Women. She is the recipient of the prestigious AU/DAF Award of “2015 Woman of Excellence” along with the President of Liberia and former President of Malawi and recipient of the Living Legend Achiever’s Award in recognition of her service and leadership role in the promotion of sustainable human development globally, particularly in Africa. She is the author of several papers and monographs and she is fully bilingual in French and English.