Our Team in Türkiye

Photo of Babatunde Ahonsi

Babatunde A. Ahonsi

Resident Coordinator
Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi is the UN Resident Coordinator in Türkiye. He has more than 25 years of experience in international development. Most recently, he served as UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone until November 2023 and previously as the acting UN Resident Coordinator in China until September 2020. Prior to this, he served as UNFPA Representative in China from January 2017 to June 2020, while concurrently serving as Country Director for Mongolia. He was UNFPA Representative in Ghana from 2014-2016.

Before joining the UN, Dr Ahonsi was the Population Council’s Country Director for Nigeria from 2010 to 2014. He also served as a Trustee of International Women’s Health Coalition, New York (2010-2014) and on the inaugural Board of the UN University’s International Institute for Global Health, Kuala Lumpur (2008-2014). He was a guest researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden in 2009. From 1997 to 2008, he worked as Senior Program Officer of the Ford Foundation in West Africa. He had also lectured at federal universities in Ilorin, Calabar and Lagos, Nigeria during the 1980s and 1990s.

Dr. Ahonsi is a national of Nigeria and holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Sociology (First Class Honors) from the University of Lagos. He also holds a Ph.D. in Population Studies from the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK.
Angela Rosi head shot

Angela Li Rosi

Ms. Angela Li Rosi has been the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Türkiye since December 2023.

She has recently served as UNHCR Deputy Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe from 1 January 2017 until her assignment to Türkiye. During her tenure in the Regional Bureau for Europe, Ms. Angela Li Rosi covered UNHCR’s operations in Western, Northern, South, and Eastern Europe, including UNHCR’s Liaison Offices to the Council of Europe and to the OSCE. She headed two dedicated teams in the Bureau focusing on international protection, operational and policy aspects of UNHCR’s response.

Prior to joining the Regional Bureau for Europe, Ms. Li Rosi was Deputy Representative in Sudan for three years and worked on refugees, IDPs and migration issues. Ms. Li Rosi has served with UNHCR in a variety of different capacities and locations. She has worked as Head of Programme with UNHCR in DRC, the Russian Federation, and as Head of the UNHCR Liaison Office in Austria. She has also previously served in UNHCR’s HQs in Geneva as Head of Policy in the Bureau for Europe and as Senior Policy Adviser in the Policy Development and Evaluation Service, part of UNHCR’s Executive Office.

Her professional career with UNHCR, now spanning over 30 years, has had a constant thread of increased responsibility and variety in job assignments with particular focus in programme and policy development. Prior to joining UNHCR, Ms. Li Rosi worked for the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva.

An Italian national, Ms. Li Rosi graduated from the University of Rome “La Sapienza”. She is married and has two children.
Asya Varbanova

Asya Varbanova

UN Women
Country Director
Ms. Asya Varbanova assumed the position of Country Director of UN Women Türkiye on April 1, 2019. Prior to that, she served as Representative a.i. of the UN Women Country Office in Moldova and Chief Technical Advisor on women’s political participation and women, peace and security for UN Women and UNDP in Moldova (2015-2017). From 2010 to 2015, Ms. Varbanova served as Head of Office for UN Women in the Republic of Serbia, and in 2008-2010, she was Head of Office for the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Office in North Macedonia. Ms. Varbanova joined UNIFEM (which was subsequently merged into UN Women) in 2005. She has extensive experience in the region of Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, managing regional and country-specific programmes on gender-responsive budgeting, women’s economic empowerment, leadership and decision-making, combating violence against women and integrating gender in crisis response. She has overseen the programmatic and financial growth of the UNIFEM/UN Women country offices in North Macedonia, Serbia, Moldova and Türkiye.

Ms. Varbanova is a national of Bulgaria and is fluent in Bulgarian, English, Spanish, Russian, and Serbian. She holds Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of Minnesota, USA.
Dr. Batyr Berdyklychev

Dr. Batyr Berdyklychev

Prior to joining the WHO, Dr Batyr worked as a neurologist in the Scientific Research Institute of Neurology in Turkmenistan. He first joined the WHO in 1996 as the National Head of the WHO Country Office in Turkmenistan. In 2003, Dr Batyr moved to the WHO Regional Office for Europe to work in the Country Support Unit. At the regional level, as a Strategist, he was responsible for evaluating the strategic health needs of countries, developing country work plans, and monitoring these practices. In addition to his duties, Dr Batyr was actively involved in the WHO European Task Force's work on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the development and pilot work of the country's business performance assessment system. In 2003 and 2006 Dr Batyr had temporary assignments as Head of Country Office, a.i. in Ukraine, and Albania respectively. In his post as WHO Representative / Head of Belarus Country Office from 2016 to 2020, Dr Batyr received the honorary award for excellence in health care from the Belarusian Ministry of Health in 2019. As well as being a doctor of medicine with postgraduate expertise in neurology and infectious diseases, Dr Batyr also holds a master's degree in Health Systems Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr Batyr started his new assignment in Turkey on 2 November 2020.”
Gerard Karl Waite

Gerard Karl Waite

IOM Chief of Mission
Mr. Gerard Karl Waite assumed the position of Chief of Mission, IOM Turkey, in September 2021. Mr. Waite has 24 years of experience in migration management. His prior experience with IOM includes serving as Chief of Mission in Iraq, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan. In addition, he held various positions at IOM Sudan, including Darfur Regional Coordinator in Khartoum, Head of Sub-Office in El-Fashir, and Protection Officer in Nyala.

Prior to joining IOM, Mr. Waite served as Program Officer at Transparency International in Germany, Program Coordinator at the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in the West Bank and Jerusalem, and Refugee Support Officer at the Scottish Refugee Council in Scotland.

Mr. Waite holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Anthropology and master’s degree in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, and a master’s degree in Human Rights from the University of London.
Ahmet Parla

Kadir Ahmet Parla

Head of Office
Before joining the UN, Parla worked for the Office of the Prime Minister, Directorate General of Press and Information, in various capacities including, Director of Antalya Provincial Office and Acting Director of Information Department. He also worked as the Press Attaché at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C, USA. He has master's degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University.

Louisa Vinton

Resident Representative
Louisa Vinton is the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Republic of Turkey from May 2021. Vinton is a development professional with more than 30 years of work experience in the region covered by the Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia.

Previously she served as the UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia from November 2018 to March 2021. Earlier she held the dual roles of UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in North Macedonia, from November 2013 to October 2018, and Croatia, from July 2010 to June 2014. Her first post with UNDP was as Division Chief in the Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia in New York, starting in February 2004, where she was responsible for UNDP activities in seven countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine. She also led UN coordination on issues related to the legacy of the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986.

Before joining UNDP, Louisa Vinton worked for the Economist Intelligence Unit for nine years as Editor, Editor in Chief, and the head of the company's Executive Services unit in New York. Between 1988 and 1994 she worked as a Senior Research Analyst for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc., in Munich. She holds a B.A. in Russian Studies from Cornell University and an M.A. in History from the University of Michigan. As well as English, she speaks conversational Croatian, German, Polish and Russian.

Mariam A. Khan

Previously headed the UNFPA Laos office, Ms Khan has over 23 years of diverse experience in leading and managing development programmes, humanitarian response, change management initiatives and working with multicultural teams. She brings a passion for promoting a rights based agenda that focuses on improving lives of women and young people in particular, through culturally sensitive approaches and evidence based methodologies.

Ms. Khan has advanced the ICPD agenda in China, Indonesia, Tanzania, Algeria, Lao PDR as well as through regional Global work when based in UNFPA HQs. She has been recognised and awarded medals for her work by host Governments in numerous countries of assignment. In addition to leading UNFPA offices in multiple regions, countries, her broad based portfolio includes: leading Business process reengineering and communication work, advancing Human Resources initiatives, joint UN initiatives, fostering innovation and serving on a number of Inter agency global and regional platforms.She has been awarded multiple times for her work by Governments and UNFPA.

With two Masters degrees: Sociology and Population Studies, Ms Khan speaks English, Urdu, French, Punjabi and basic Mandarin. She has rich experience of living and working in South and SE Asia, Europe, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa and MENA. She is accompanied by her spouse and two children.
Paolo Marchi

Paolo Marchi

Mr. Marchi was appointed UNICEF Türkiye Country Office Representative in October 2023. He brings to the role a wealth of experience leading teams and managing programmes and partnerships in different humanitarian and development contexts.

Prior to this role, he served as Deputy Representative in various duty stations – in Türkiye since March 2022, preceded by Central African Republic (September 2018/February 2022), and Guyana and Suriname (October 2015/August 2018). He previously led the child protection team in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He began his career with UNICEF in the UNICEF HQ Gender and Rights Unit. Prior to his work with UNICEF, he held different positions with other organizations in Morocco, Sierra Leone, Italy, and Switzerland.

Mr. Marchi holds a LLM in International Human Rights Law from the University of Essex (United Kingdom), and a LLB from the University of Torino (Italy). Mr Marchi is an Italian citizen.
Stephen Cahill

Stephen Cahill

Representative and Country Director
Stephen Cahill joins the WFP Türkiye Country Office as Country Representative after 30 years of experience spanning the humanitarian and private sectors in more than 10 countries. After holding key positions in the private sector across various regions, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, and the Middle East, Stephen joined WFP in 2004 and since then he has worked in several large-scale, complex emergencies including most notably the Ukraine conflict in 2022 and the West Africa Ebola Outbreak (2014-15). Throughout his career with the organization, he devoted his work to enabling WFP’s operations as well as other organizations, putting a clear focus on partnerships as an essential component of humanitarian work and as such a stepping stone to reaching the SDGs. He also played a crucial role in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic by working closely with WHO, UNICEF, and other partners in establishing a worldwide platform for logistics services. This approach culminated with Stephen becoming Director of Humanitarian Logistics Services in 2021, offering critical emergency supply chain support to 900 humanitarian and development partners globally.
Süleyman Yılmaz

Süleyman Yılmaz

Mr. Yilmaz has been UNIDO Country Representative & Director of the UNIDO Centre for Regional Cooperation in Turkey since November 2009, having worked for the OECD Development Centre in Paris as Adviser and Economist-Policy Analyst from 2007 to 2009. Between 2003 and 2007, he was the Representative of Uzbekistan of the Turkish Standards Institution in Tashkent and then he was Head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in Sarajevo. He worked at the European Commission-DG Enterprise and Industry in Brussels between 1999-2000. He holds an MBA from Warwick Business School (United Kingdom), an MSc in Economics from Hacettepe University (Ankara), and a BSc in Physics from the Middle East Technical University (Ankara).
Viorel Gutu

Viorel Gutu

Mr. Gutu has been FAO Representative for Turkey and Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Asia since 2018. Previously, he served as FAO Representative in Tajikistan (2014-2018). He started his career at Price Waterhouse LLC in 1994. He has held various positions at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry in Moldova and worked at senior levels on several USAID projects related to agribusiness development and agricultural policy. Between 2011 and 2014, he worked as Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry in Chisinau, Moldova. Mr. Gutu obtained a master’s degree in Management and a doctorate degree in Economics from the Technical University of Moldova (1995-1998).
ILO Country Director Yasser Hassan

Yasser Ahmed HASSAN

LANGUAGES: Arabic – mother tongue
English – advanced
French – advanced
1989 Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics and Political Science Cairo University
Giza, Egypt
2013-2023 Senior Adviser to the Director-General
Office of the Director-General
Geneva, Switzerland

2008-2012 Counsellor / Minister-Plenipotentiary
Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
Geneva, Switzerland
2004-2008 Director of the UN Specialized Agencies Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Adviser to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology
Cairo, Egypt
2000-2004 First Secretary
Embassy of Egypt in Türkiye
Ankara, Türkiye
1998-2000 Adviser to the Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Cairo, Egypt
1996-1998 Second Secretary
Embassy of Egypt in Pakistan
Islamabad, Pakistan
1994-1996 Third Secretary
Embassy of Egypt in the United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
1991-1994 Diplomatic Attaché
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Cairo, Egypt