Our Team in Papua New Guinea

Mr. Richard S. Howard

Richard Howard

UN Resident Coordinator
Mr Richard Howard is the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea.

Over more than 30 years, he has acquired an impressive portfolio in management and research, economic growth, gender equality and inclusion.

Before taking up his role in PNG, Mr Howard was the United Nations Resident Coordinator ad-interim in Nepal, where he also served as Country Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mr. Howard worked as Senior Regional Specialist with ILO in Thailand. He was Chief Technical Advisor to Private Sector Partnerships on Health for Internal Migrants, in China.

A Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia with research focusing on gender, ethnicity, and national identity, Mr Howard is a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology from the University of Illinois, Chicago and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina.

On 7 December 2022, he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the UN Resident Coordinator for 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.
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 - UNDP Resident Representative

Dirk Wagener

UNDP Resident Representative
Mr. Dirk Wagener is the current 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.
Dr Sevil Huseynova

Dr Sevil Huseynova

Country Representative for Papua New Guinea.
Dr Sevil Huseynova engagement with WHO spans over 17 years where she previously held the posts of WHO Representative for the Solomon Islands from June 2016 until early 2022; WHO Country Liaison Officer for Northern Micronesia (Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Marshal Islands), Medical Officer for TB, HIV, Leprosy and
Communicable Diseases Control Programmes in Baghdad, Iraq and in Kabul, Afghanistan where she led and managed large TB and HIV/AIDS and Leprosy control programmes in complex environments.

A strong advocate for cooperation and action on public health issues at all levels of society, Dr Huseynova has worked extensively with governments, donor partners, service providers and civil society.

Prior to joining WHO, Dr Huseynova served in a number of non-governmental organizations. Among them were Project Hope, a US-based organization with a field office in Kyrgystan, as the country manager and where she worked with a team to establish and strengthen all essential health system components relating TB control including governance, health service delivery, financing, health information and access to essential medicines and technologies and Save the Children and Relief International, USA with a strong focus on capacity building in public health targeting refugee and internally displaced population settings.

Previously, Dr Huseynova has also been engaged in clinical work, research and programme management.

Trained as a pediatrician, Dr Huseynova holds Doctorate of Medicine from the Azerbaijan Medical University and a Masters degree in Public Health from the State University of New York.
Joeena Mariea Simpson _ UNOPS Country Manager, Papua New Guinea

Joeena Simpson

Country Manager
Joeena Simpson is the Country Manager for the United Nations Office of Project Services. As part of the leadership team for the UN in Papua New Guinea, Jo will work in partnership with the PNG Government to respond to four interconnected challenges: sustainable infrastructure, climate change resilience, the empowerment of women in non -traditional roles and emergency response. Jo brings to the role a breadth of experience in infrastructure, social and economic development initiatives, safeguards and essential service delivery in a range of humanitarian contexts and will ensure that the strategic priorities of PNG Government consistently inform UNOPS approach to serving the people of PNG.
She has worked throughout the Pacific, including Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Africa and Asia in a range of international development roles. Prior to joining UNOPS , Jo was the Transport Sector Development Manager under the PNG Australia Partnership for Development where she contributed to sustainable investment in Land, Aviation and Maritime Infrastructure throughout PNG and supported a range of innovative initiatives in public sector governance and in particular, promotion of women to leadership positions. She has a Masters in Technology and Innovation Management from the University of Queensland.
Manoela Manova

Manoela Manova

Country Director
Ms Manoela Manova is the newly appointed UNAIDS Country Director for Papua New Guinea, and took up her assignment on 1st April 2022.
Ms Manova is a development and public health specialist with more than 20 years of experience in development assistance programmes, public health, and HIV, and has served in a variety of leadership positions both at regional and country level in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and the Caribbean. She brings a wealth of experience in the areas of inclusive development and evaluation of National AIDS Strategic Plans, development of Investment Cases and efficiency studies for HIV response, National HIV Sustainability and Transition plans and roadmaps and mobilization of multisectoral partnerships for their implementation. She has worked on introducing Public-Private Partnership for increased access to treatment for PLH and piloting of Social Contracting as a tool to secure government Funding for HIV prevention services among key populations.

Ms Manova is Bulgarian and holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Management from the University of Economy in Bulgaria and Post Graduate Diplomas in International Business and Financial Management from London School of Economics, United Kingdom.
Photo of Marielle Sanders

Marielle Sander

UNFPA Resident Representative
Marielle Sander is the UNFPA Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea.

She 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 Arthur Kalua _ UN Women Country Representative

Themba Arthur Kalua

UN Women
UN Women Country Representative
Themba is the UN Women Country Representative. Prior to coming to PNG, Themba was the Senior Development Coordination Advisor and Practice Leader for Leave No One Behind (LNOB), Gender Equality and Human Rights at UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) in the Regional Office for Africa in Ethiopia. In this role he provided policy and advisory services to UN Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in 54 African countries in the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and SDGs.

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 has an Executive MBA from University of Cape Town in South Africa, 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.