Amy Pope Becomes First Woman To Lead International Organization For Migration

In a historic move, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has elected its first-ever female Director General, Ms. Amy E. Pope. The Member States of IOM voted in favor of Ms. Pope during the 6th Special Session of the IOM Council held on May 15, 2023. She will begin her five-year term as Director General on October 1, 2023.

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization working on migration, and operates under the United Nations system. The organization is committed to upholding the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

Nomination and Election of Ms. Pope

Ms. Pope’s nomination for the position of Director General was put forward by the United States of America. She has been serving as the Deputy Director General for Management and Reform at IOM since September 2021. The current Director General, Mr. António Vitorino, was also in the race for the top position.

Ms. Pope’s Vision for IOM

During her tenure as the Deputy Director General, Ms. Pope introduced a series of budgetary, management, and administrative reforms to streamline IOM’s operations, improve internal justice outcomes, and strengthen coordination with the UN system. As the first woman to lead IOM, she aims to continue building on these reforms to ensure that the organization is better equipped to face the challenges of today’s world. Ms. Pope envisions IOM to be an organization that is responsive to the needs of migrants, and continues to uphold their dignity and human rights.

Career Highlights of Ms. Pope

Ms. Pope has had an illustrious career in the public sector. Prior to joining IOM, she served as Senior Advisor on Migration to President Biden in 2021, and as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor from 2015-2017. In these roles, she developed and implemented strategies to manage migration surges, address trafficking in persons, respond to the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, and prepare communities to react to climate crises.

Ms. Pope is a graduate of the Duke University School of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree with honors. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with Honors from Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

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