Our Team in Papua New Guinea

Photo of Adrian Edwards

Adrian Edwards

Regional Representative
Regional Representative, UNHCR Multi-Country Office Canberra. Formerly UNHCR Rep in Montenegro; UNHCR Head of Global News & Media. Background in human rights policy and international journalism. Switzerland, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Sudan & Cambodia with the UN. Vietnam, Hong Kong, South Korea, China in hackdom.

Anna Maalsen

Acting WHO Representative/ Officer-in-Charge
Global Health and Health System Management Specialist: with 15 years international health and development experience working for both multilateral and bilateral organizations in senior advisory, management, policy and research roles. Anna has led, developed and managed a number of complex international health programs/projects, developing comprehensive skills across health strategy & policy, program design, management and evaluation as well as leading institutional level analysis, strategy and change. Advanced rapidly to senior advisory and leadership roles based conceptual ability and strength in establishing connections across organisational areas and programs to enhance policy and program effectiveness. Anna is a transformational leader, successful internal change agent and a highly effective international communicator and builder of strategic partnerships. Anna is deeply committed to sustainability and empowerment of national governments, local organisations and institutions. Key technical skills in health systems, malaria, TB, HIV, primary health care and maternal and child health.
Mr. Bir C. Mandal - Head of FAO Office in PNG

Bir C. Mandal

Head of Office
Mr. Bir C. Mandal has over 33 years of experience with World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Prior to joining as Head of FAO Office in PNG, he worked as Deputy FAO Representative in Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) and Chief Technical Advisor in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. He had also held positions as International Consultant – Deputy Emergency Coordinator as well as Head of Darfur Operations from January 2004 to October 2005 based in Khartoum and Nyala, South Darfur, Sudan; during April 2002–December 2003, he headed FAO Area Office, Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan. He served as International Consultant and Head of WFP Sub-Office in El Fasher, North Darfur, Sudan during 2001–2002. He was Head of Sub-Office, WFP/UN Afghanistan (1997-98); Agronomist/Seed Specialist, FAO/UN Afghanistan (1988-96) based in different parts of Afghanistan and Islamabad; and Assistant Plant Protection Officer, Agriculture Extension and Research Project, Taulihawa, Nepal (1983-88).

Mr. Bir C. Mandal has published over 100 peer-reviewed write-ups/papers and these were highly appreciated by the concerned staff members.
Dr Kamenga

Claudes Kamenga

Dr Claudes Kamenga joined the UN in Papua New Guinea in 2021 after serving as UNICEF Representative in Benin. He has worked as Regional Chief HIV/AIDS for UNICEF West and Central Africa. He brings extensive experience in the field of health and epidemiology, from service delivery to advocacy and disease prevention and control. Dr Kamenga holds a medical degree from the University of Kinshasa School of Medicine and a master’s degree in public health (epidemiology) from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Mr. Dirk Wagener - UN in PNG Resident Coordinator a.i. & UNDP Resident Representative

Dirk Wagener

Resident Coordinator a.i. / UNDP Resident Representative
Mr. Dirk Wagener is the current Resident Coordinator a.i. in Papua New Guinea and also the UNDP Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea. Prior to this appointment, Dirk served in various field and headquarters assignments with UNDP and UNEP in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, including as Coordinator for UNEP’s global Resource Efficiency Programme. He is a development professional with over 20 years of experience and started his UN career in 2002 in Papua New Guinea where he served with UNDP for 5 years. He is passionate about peace, development and environmental sustainability and enjoys being back in Papua New Guinea where his UN career began. Dirk is a national of Germany and holds a Master’s degree in International Agricultural Sciences.
Photo of Ian Rector

Ian Rector

Country Manager
Ian has worked within the United Nations and government development and humanitarian global contexts in more than 40 countries over a career that spans more than 35 years. He first joined the UN System in 1994 as a Regional Advisor with the United Nations Department for Humanitarian Affairs (UNDHA) based in Suva Fiji. In 2014 Ian joined the UNOPS HQ in Copenhagen as Senior DRR and Resilience Advisor and in 2016 relocated to the Asia/Pacific Regional Office in Bangkok to serve as Senior Advisor Infrastructure and Resilience. Ian has served as a front-line coordinator for more than 35 humanitarian responses and currently represents UNOPS on the International Recovery Platform (IRP). He has a Masters in Emergency Management from Charles Sturt University and a Bachelor of Business from the University of Southern Queensland.
Jagdeep Dahiya

Jagdeep Dahiya

Country Lead
Mr. Jagdeep Dahiya is the Financial Inclusion Specialist and representative of UNCDF in PNG. He is an international development professional with over 16 years of experience, working for economic empowerment of vulnerable segments especially women, youth and rural communities. Prior to joining UNCDF, Jagdeep worked across Africa, Asia, Pacific as management consultant dedicated to financial inclusion. Jagdeep had also been a successful entrepreneur and training professional in the earlier days of his career. He holds a Master’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Commerce.
Photo of Marielle Sanders

Marielle Sander

Resident Representative
Marielle Sander joined UNFPA in Haiti, in 2015, after working in several UN agencies including UNDP, IOM and UNICEF. She has worked in Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkey, Russia, Sweden, Haiti, USA, Eritrea, and South Africa. Her current role leading UNFPA is a return to Papua New Guinea, having lived here as a young girl and celebrating the country’s independence in 1975. A passionate advocate for ending gender-based violence, Ms Sander joins the UN in PNG with a mission to support women, girls and young people's rights for a life free from harm and discrimination, in a more sustainable and equal world.
Matin Karimli

Matin Karimli

Director for Pacific Island Countries
As Director for Pacific Island Countries, based in Suva, Fiji, Matin is responsible for supporting eleven ILO member States (Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, Tonga, and Cook Islands). In addition, the Office also provides technical support to non-member Pacific Island States. Originally from the Republic of Azerbaijan, Matin was the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Protection for 6 years prior to joining the office in Fiji.
Ms. Nisha

Ms. Nisha

Director of Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States
Ms. Nisha brings over 30 years of experiences to her current role as the Director of the Office and UNESCO Representative to the Pacific States. Most part of her work has been focused on multi-sector development, humanitarian action, and labour and human rights, peace building, and local, national and regional capacity building. Prior to working with the UNESCO, Nisha worked internationally with Oxfam GB, Christian Aid, UNDP, UNIFEM and the ILO in several countries in East and Horn of Africa, South Asia, and Arab States, and with civil society organizations in India. In the current role as Director, Nisha leads and coordinates UNESCO’s programmatic work covering education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and information and communication.
Mr. Serhan Aktoprak - Chief of IOM Mission in Papua New Guinea

Serhan Aktoprak

Chief of Mission
Mr. Serhan Aktoprak took his functions in October 2021 as Chief of IOM Mission in Papua New Guinea. He has 15 years of experience in the field of migration management. From November 2018 until October 2021, he was the Head of Private Sector Partnerships Unit within International Cooperation and Partnerships Department of IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, responsible for the effective coordination of IOM’s partnership with the private sector globally. He was Chief of Mission (2015-2018), Programme Manager and Officer in Charge (2011-2015), Project Officer (2009-2011) and Legal Officer (2007-2008) with the IOM Mission in Azerbaijan. From 2008 to 2009, he worked as Technical Programme Specialist in the IOM Mission in the Russian Federation.

Holding a Master’s Degree in European Studies, he is the author and co-author of a number of publications in the migration field. Serhan speaks English, Russian, Azerbaijani and Turkish.
Themba Kalua

Themba Kalua

UN Women
Country Representative
Themba joined the UN Women team in Papua New Guinea from the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) in the Regional Office for Africa, where he was the Senior Development Coordination Advisor and Practice Leader for Leave No One Behind (LNOB), Gender Equality and Human Rights since January 2020.

Themba previously worked for UN Women as the Deputy Representative in charge of Programme and Operations in the South Africa Multi-Country Office covering Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and liaison to Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) from 2015 to 2019. In 2019, he worked as UN System Coordination Advisor at UN Women Headquarters in New York, where he coordinated UN Women’s engagement in the repositioning of the UN Development System and supported UNCTs globally in the implementation of UNCT-SWAP gender equality scorecard.

He has worked with several UN agencies in different capacities including UNEP, UNDP, and WFP in Headquarters, Regional Offices and Country Offices. Themba an Executive MBA from University of Cape Town in South Africa, holds a Master of Science degree in Strategic Management with a focus on Change Management from the University of Derby in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Technology from the University of Malawi.
Mr. Vili Seruvakula

Viliame Seruvakula

UNDSS Security Advisor
Mr. Viliame Seruvakula has over 40 years of experience in the field of security and currently serves as the Security Advisor for UNDSS in Papua New Guinea. Previously after 25 years of military service in the Fijian and New Zealand Defense Forces, he has spent the last 15 years with UNDSS working as Field Security Coordination Officer and Chief of Security Information Operations Center in Afghanistan, Security Advisors in Cambodia/Vietnam, Libya, and Timor Leste. Has also worked in emergency operations in Pakistan, Nepal, Iraq, South Syria/Jordan, Mosul, Iraq and Yemen.