UN Agency Response and Action on COVID-19 (Global Engagement Online Series)

Register Now


01:00 pm


Zoom Webinar



This virtual session will invite leaders within various United Nations agencies to come together to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted their operations and ability to fulfill their mission, along with how each agency is addressing the pandemic.  High-level representatives from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will offer insight into the many ways that the United Nations is ensuring health, wellness, and justice even during the most difficult of times.

This live webcast will begin at 1:00 p.m. EST on April 8, 2020.

Guest Speakers:

Stewart Simonson, Assistant Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)’s office at the United Nations in New York

Mr. Stewart Simonson, from United States of America, was most recently Assistant Director-General for General Management. He brings more than 20 years of experience in corporate governance, risk management and administration that spans across the government, nongovernmental and private sectors. His past roles include serving as Senior Vice President and General Counsel to the Futures Group Global LLC, and most recently, as Legal Advisor for the Crudem Foundation, where he functioned as legal counsel to the foundation and technical advisor to its partner hospital in Haiti.

From 2001 to 2006, he served in the United States Department of Health and Human Services in different capacities, including as Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness. In this role, he served as the Secretary’s principal advisor on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies and coordinated the development of the United States government’s position on the revision of the International Health Regulations. He has degrees in law and political science.

Yesim Oruc, Deputy Director, UNDP, Washington Representation Office

Yesim Oruc joined UNDP Washington in August 2016. She has 20 years’ experience in programs and partnerships in UNDP country offices, including Turkey, Romania, and most recently Albania. As UNDP Country Director in Albania and Resident Representative in Romania, she has led UNDP’s work to reform local governments, municipalities, security sector institutions, and electoral processes. She began her UNDP career in 1996 in the Turkey country Office. She holds a Master’s Degree ín Middle Eastern Studies (Politics) from the American University in Cairo and Bachelor of Arts from Yale University (US). She speaks English, Turkish, and some Arabic and German.


Sarah Craven, Director, UNFPA, Washington Office

A policy advocate and attorney with experience in global health and human rights, Sarah Craven currently serves as the Director of the Washington Office of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. In this role, Sarah advocates for UNFPA’s mandate which envisions a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person can live to their full potential.

Prior to her work at UNFPA, she held positions at the U.S. Department of State and on the legislative staff to U.S. Senators Tim Wirth of Colorado and Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii. She served as a policy advisor to the CEDPA grassroots women’s network during the 1994 International Conference on Population and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.   She is a founding board member of Kakenya’s Dream, an innovative girl’s leadership school in Western Kenya.

Sarah  holds a B.A. from Macalester College, a M.Phil from Cambridge University (UK) and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Public Interest Law Scholar.   She is the proud mother of Anna (age 20) and Jack and Grace (16 year old twins).

Jana Mason, Senior Advisor, U.S. Government and External Relations at UNHCR

Jana Mason is Senior Advisor for External Relations and Government Affairs at the Washington, D.C. office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She represents the agency’s interests with the U.S. government—particularly the State Department and Congress—and with nongovernmental organizations. Before joining UNHCR in 2008, Jana was Director of Government Relations at the International Rescue Committee and was previously the Asia Policy Analyst at the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Jana has worked in the refugee policy arena since 1983, which included a position as assistant refugee coordinator for the State of Virginia. She has a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from the University of Virginia, and a law degree from Georgetown University. 


Megan Gilgan, Deputy Director, Public Partnerships Division, UNICEF

Megan is the Deputy Director of the Public Partnerships Division of UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), responsible for mobilizing more than $ 5 billion in revenues annually.  She has worked in international cooperation for 20 years in some of the most complex situations in the world including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kosovo and South Sudan.  She is known as someone that can navigate politically and operationally complex situations and build, motivate and support diverse global teams.  Before taking on her current role, she was Deputy Chief of Staff for UNICEF’s Executive Director, where she also acted as UNICEF’s Special Coordinator for Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Workplace Harassment, initiating sweeping changes to UNICEF’s management culture, policies and systems.  Megan holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and has published on engagement in complex emergencies.




Rachel Bowen Pittman, Executive Director, United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA)