Ms. Kirsi Madi has over 30 years of experience in the fields of international development, humanitarian action, external relations, partnerships, governance, resource mobilization, inter-agency coordination, intergovernmental processes and organizational development and change.
In May 2016, Ms. Madi was appointed as the Director of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), based in Geneva. In this role, she oversees the strategic vision and direction of the organization, and is responsible for the overall management of the organization. She initiated and led a significant organizational change process after taking up her position.
Ms. Madi’s career in the United Nations started in 1991, as she joined the UNICEF Office of Emergency Programmes to support UNICEF’s emergency response in countries in crisis, including in Liberia, Iraq and the Sudan. From 1993 to 1994, Ms. Madi was on loan to the Secretariat of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) to support the preparation of the First World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction (1994).
From 1994 to 2002, she held positions of progressively increasing responsibility in the UNICEF Office of Emergency Programmes dealing with humanitarian policy issues and as the focal point for UNICEF’s relationship key humanitarian partners fostering improved inter-agency coordination and collaboration.
From 2002 to 2005, Ms. Madi served as the Chief of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Secretariat in the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) facilitating more inclusive coordination among the key international humanitarian agencies, including UN agencies, Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and civil society partners.
From 2005 to 2010, she held the positions of the Assistant Secretary, and then the Secretary of the UNICEF Executive Board, based at UNICEF Headquarters in New York.
In 2010, Ms. Madi was appointed as UNICEF Deputy Regional Director for the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia overseeing and supporting 22 UNICEF country offices across the region. In 2015, she joined UNICEF Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division. She was responsible for UNICEF’s relationship with 19 key UNICEF National Committees with the aim of optimizing the potential and effectiveness of UNICEF’s presence in industrialized countries and maximizing both financial and non-financial contribution of National Committees to UNICEF’s global mission.
Ms. Madi has a M.A. in Political Science with specialization in International Relations and Social Anthropology. Before joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of her native country, Finland, and subsequently the United Nations, she was part of a research project in Calcutta, India, on the question of political mobilization of the urban poor.