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Steven Lauwerier has been appointed as new Director for Polio Eradication in UNICEF, succeeding Akhil Iyer, in November 2021.
Steven‘s international career covers over 25 years in a wide variety of functions and contexts. He has until recently been Senior Advisor for UNICEF’s Emergency Operations. From 2019 till 2021 he led the Humanitarian Review team that conducted an in-depth review of UNICEF’s humanitarian action and formulated a set of key recommendations that is reshaping UNICEF’s humanitarian capacity globally. Previously, Steven was UNICEF Representative in Somalia where under his leadership, UNICEF moved its Somalia Country Management Team from Nairobi to being fully functional inside Somalia after a 24-year absence. He also led the team successfully responding to the famine threat and a major cholera epidemic in Somalia in 2017. Prior to that he was Representative in Madagascar and Deputy Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire. He also served with the organization in Iran and started his UNICEF career in Southern Somalia.
Over the years he has overseen large scale polio campaigns in response to WPV and cVDPV outbreaks in the field for UNICEF. His first introduction to the polio world was as International Polio Focal point with the World Health Organization leading National Immunization Days in war-torn Somalia in the early 2000s. He also worked for the World Food Programme, CARE US and Médecins Sans Frontières in South Sudan, Kenya, Kosovo, Rwanda and Angola.
Steven is a Belgian national. He earned his Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Ghent and achieved two additional degrees in Cultural Management and Business Administration from the Free University of Brussels. He speaks Dutch, English, French and Spanish.
He is married to Valentina, a passionate malaria expert, and is father to two young children, Teo and Lena.