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Arab States


Abdallah Al Dardari

UN Assistant Secretary General
UNDP Assistant Administrator
Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States

On 14 March 2023, the UN Secretary General appointed Abdallah Al Dardari of Syria as the UN Assistant Secretary General, UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States.

Al Dardari served as UNDP Resident Representative in Afghanistan since 2019, when joining from the World Bank, where he was a Senior Adviser.
He started his professional career in 1986 as an international affairs writer and bureau chief of the pan - Arab newspaper “Al Hayat” and then became the Economist at the London office of the League of Arab States.

From 1994 to 1997, he served as Programme Officer in UNDP Syria country office and then joined the Arab Trade Financing Programme/Arab Monetary Fund group as Chief of the Trade Promotion section.

He was appointed in 2003 as Chairman of the State Planning Commission in Syria, a function he held until 2005, when he became Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs.

He further served as Chief Economist with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in 2011 and later, Deputy Executive Secretary, where he led the efforts for understanding conflict dynamics in the Arab region.

Al Dardari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Richmond College in London, UK, a Master's in International Relations from the University of Southern California, US, and an interdisciplinary PhD in post-conflict reconstruction from Università Iuav di Venezia, Italy.
He also studied international relations at the London School of Economics, UK.
He is fluent in Arabic, English and French, with an understanding of Russian and Turkish.

Ms. Sarah Poole

Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director

Regional Bureau for Arab States
United Nations Development Programme

Ms. Sarah Poole (USA) has been appointed as UNDP’s Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Regional Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States (RBAS) as of February 1, 2018.

Prior to this appointment, Sarah served in UNDP as Deputy Assistant Administrator and Deputy Director of the Bureau for Programme and Policy Support (2015-2017). Previously, Sarah served as the Senior Regional Advisor (2014-2015) and Division Chief in the Regional Bureau for Europe and CIS (2011-2014); Senior Advisor for UN Reform, Partnerships Bureau (2007-2011); and UNDP Deputy Resident Representative for Programme and Operations in Turkey (2004-2007) and Resident Representative a.i (2006). She joined UNDP as the Team Leader for Reintegration and Recovery in the Emergency Response Division in 1999.

Before joining UNDP, Sarah was the Regional Refugee Coordinator with the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro based in Zagreb, Croatia (1998-1999); and the Deputy Refugee Coordinator in Bosnia-Herzegovina, based in Sarajevo (1996-1998). She began her international career with USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, with extensive field work related to humanitarian response in Rwanda, Burundi, and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1994 to 1996.

Sarah holds a Master of Sciences in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan, in Political Science with a minor in French. She served as an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs from 2000-2003, co-developing and co-teaching a graduate seminar on the linkages between conflict, development and peacebuilding; and is currently pursuing a Professional Certificate in Environmental Sustainability and Conservation at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. She is married with two children, and speaks English and French.