The PVE Team is part of the broader Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Responsive Institutions (CPPRI) Team, within UNDP Crisis Bureau. It has its headquarters in New York, USA.
Besides our Global PVE Team, we count on high quality regional and country-level expertise of staff located across five Regional Hubs and 40+ Country Offices, who are at the forefront of operationalising our programming agenda on Preventing Violent Extremism, as part of the broader Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. Our leadership is articulated as follows:
Ms. Okai is the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director, UNDP's Crisis Bureau. She has over 30 years of experience in the Japanese Foreign Service and in the UN, most recently serving as Consul-General of Japan in Vancouver, Canada. She possesses an extensive track record in development, humanitarian response, disaster management and peace building work, at both the strategic and operational levels.
Throughout her career, she has closely engaged in the evolution of international cooperation frameworks in different capacities, including the forging of historic institutional reforms of the international cooperation apparatus in Japan, and implementing innovative financial mechanisms to support a reliable humanitarian funding model as Japan’s Director of Humanitarian Assistance. Ms. Okai has held several diplomatic senior positions worldwide and closely worked with the United Nations Headquarters, both in the Permanent Mission of Japan to the UN and as a Senior Member of the Office of the President of the 66th UN General Assembly. She holds a Master’s of Arts in History of Art, Emmanuel College, Cambridge University and a Bachelor’s degree in Law, Hitotsubashi University, Japan.
Mr. Conway is the Deputy Director, UNDP's Crisis Bureau. Mr. Conway brings a wealth of experience and has many years of distinguished service within the United Nations system, including as Country Director for UNDP Somalia, based in Mogadishu, Strategic Adviser in the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Country Director a.i. for UNDP South Sudan and Deputy Head of Office, as well as Head of Programmes for UNDP Southern Sudan.
Born in 1970, Mr. Conway holds two Master of Arts degrees, from Carleton University and the University of Western Ontario, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, all in Canada.
Mr. Samuel Rizk is the Head of Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding & Responsive Institutions (CPPRI) at the UNDP Crisis Bureau in New York. Prior to this position he has served as the Manager of the UNDP/RBAS Sub-Regional Response Facility (SRF) based in Amman, Jordan, supporting the organization’s regional response to the Syria crisis, in close collaboration with UNHCR. From July 2015 to October 2017, Sam was the UNDP Country Director in Syria, and prior to that, from 2012 to 2015 he served as Senior Programme Advisor with the RBAS in New York.
Mr. Rizk also served as Peace and Development Advisor (PDA) in Sudan (2010-2012) and as Conflict Prevention Advisor in Yemen (2009-2010). He holds a BA in Political Science from Hanover College (Indiana, USA), an MA in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo (AUC), and a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University (2012).
Ms. Nika Saeedi is Team Leader, Prevention of Violent Extremism as part of the CPPRI team. Moreover, she serves as UNDP's global Religion, Hate Speech, and MHPSS focal point, based in New York.
Ms. Saeedi has over 18 years of experience in policy formulation and development, programme design and management, and partnership building across the prevention agenda, including in PVE, peacebuilding, governance, and Women, Peace and Security (WPS). She has worked in a variety of country contexts, especially in Afghanistan, with a proven track record of delivering high quality projects. For instance, her support to the Government of Afghanistan in reformulating local governance led to a 25% increase in Afghan women’s leadership in local governance structure. When in Afghanistan, she also designed and managed a successful family planning project, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health and in coordination with the Ministry of Women's Affairs.