Our Team in Kazakhstan

Michaela Friberg-Storey

Michaela Friberg-Storey

United Nations Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan
Ms. Michaela Friberg-Storey is the UN Resident Coordinator for Kazakhstan since November 2020. Prior to it, she has worked on strategic leadership of humanitarian operations and diplomacy for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement through the Swedish Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). She also served as Head of the Security Sector Reform Division of the Agency for Peace, Security and Development (FBA) of the Swedish Government and worked at the Security Policy Department of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She started her international career with Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders). She holds a BA in Political Science from Stockholm University and Master’s degree in Humanitarian Assistance at Uppsala University.
Aidai Kurmanova

Aidai Kurmanova

Head of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Sub-Regional Office for Central Asia
Ms. Aidai Kurmanova started her assignment as the Head of Central Asia Office in Almaty on 2 February 2019. She has 21 years of experience in the field of sustainable development. Prior to joining UNEP, she worked as the State Secretary of the Ministry of Economy of the Kyrgyz Republic for five years. Her main areas of expertise include design and implementation of policies on sustainable economic development. She developed strategic documents on green economy, e-governance, small and medium enterprise. She led the process of nationalizing the Sustainable Development Goals in the Kyrgyz Republic. She has significant practical work experience with the Parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic in improving the environment for business and has promoted draft laws on economic growth. She holds Master degrees on Development Economics from International University of Japan and Public Governance from the Academy of Management under the President of Kyrgyz Republic.

Arthur Van Diesen

UNICEF Representative
Arthur van Diesen is the UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan, where he took up his post on 1 June 2019. Arthur previously served with UNICEF as Regional Social Policy Adviser in the Middle East and North Africa (2015-2019) and as Deputy Representative in Tajikistan (2010-2015). Before joining UNICEF, Arthur worked for DFID, UNDP and various international NGOs. He worked and lived in Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East. Arthur has over twenty-five years of experience in social policy, applied social research, monitoring and evaluation and programme management. He is a sociologist by training, with a Master’s Degree from Tilburg University in The Netherlands. He is a national of The Netherlands, married and is the proud father of three daughters and a son.
Ashita Mittal

Ashita Mittal

UNODC Regional Representative
Ms. Mittal has worked with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for over twenty one years on drugs, transnational organized crime and terrorism, in diverse capacities. Prior to taking her position as the Regional Representative for UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia, that covers the Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the three southern Caucuses Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, she served as the Officer-in-Charge and the Deputy Representative, UNODC Country Office in Afghanistan (COAFG)from 2009 to 2014. She served as the Deputy Representative, UNODC, Regional Office for South Asia, covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka from 1995-2009. Prior to this, she served with the World Food Programme in India, engaging on food security. From 1986 and 1993, she worked extensively with civil society on drug use prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in India and was well recognized for her pioneering work in this field. She also worked on child rights issues among vulnerable street and working children. She also served at an inner city hospital -Alcove Drug and Alcohol Centre, West Jersey Hospital, USA. As a development practitioner and social scientist, her work on policy, advocacy is nuanced with rule of law, justice, health, rights and gender perspectives. She has authored and co-authored several articles, reports and research, especially on drug control issues.
With a Graduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Delhi University in India, Ms. Mittal was also a Fulbright Fellow (1989-90) in USA.
fabio piana

Fabio Piana

OHCHR Regional Representative for Central Asia a.i.
Fabio Piana (Italy) is a lawyer with 20 years of human rights and political affairs experience. He joined OHCHR's Regional Office for Central Asia in June 2022 from the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, where he served since 2019 focusing on national human rights institutions, human rights defenders and civil society, peace, human rights and transitional justice. Prior to that, he served in multiple posts with the OSCE, including as Deputy Head of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan (2015-2018), as Senior Human Dimension Officer at the OSCE Centre in Bishkek (2011-2015), as Human Rights Officer at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR, 2005-2008). He also worked as political officer for the EU Delegation in Armenia (2009-2010) and Country Director for Kyrgyzstan at Freedom House (2010-11). He speaks English, Russian, French, Spanish.
Gabriela Ionascu

Gabriela Ionascu

UNAIDS Country Director for Kazakhstan
Dr. Gabriela Ionascu has joined the UNAIDS Office in Kazakhstan in 2017 as a Strategic Information Adviser and since 2022 she has been appointed Director for UNAIDS Kazakhstan. She brings 25 years of field experience with UNAIDS, most recently in Central Asia, Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe regions. Gabriela is a holder of a Master’s Degree in Public Health. Gabriela has over twenty-five years of experience in HIV/AIDS policy development, fundraising, data base development, epidemiological modelling, monitoring and evaluation and programme management. Gabriela is a national of the Republic of Moldova, her native language is Romanian, and she speaks English, Russian and French. In 2020 Gabriela has been awarded the Medal for Contribution to the Health Care System of Kazakhstan as a recognition of her contribution to the development of the health system in Kazakhstan.
Hans Friedrich Schodder

Hans Friedrich Schodder

UNHCR Representative for Central Asia
Previously Mr. Schodder served as Representative of UNHCR in Serbia, including one year as Resident Coordinator a.i. of the United Nations. In 2012-2015 Mr. Schodder was Deputy Chief of Mission of UNHCR in India, Senior Emergency Coordinator of UNHCR for the Syria Crisis (2014) and Representative of UNHCR in Kyrgyzstan (2008-2012). Mr. Schodder began his career with UNHCR in 1991 in Hong Kong, followed by subsequent assignments in Viet Nam, as Senior Liaison Officer of UNHCR to the OSCE in Vienna (1996-2001) as well as Senior Protection Officer of UNHCR in Ukraine, in Sudan, and in Sri Lanka (2001-2008). He is married with two children and graduated with a BA (hons) in Social Anthropology and Vietnamese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
justin rashid

Justin Allim Rashid

UNDSS Security Advisor
Mr Justin Rashid is the Security Advisor for the United Nations in Kazakhstan since May 2021. Justin joined the UN in 2015 as Field Security Advisor for UNICEF in Yemen, where he worked for three years. After an interval with the World Food Programme in Nigeria, he moved to UNDSS Jordan in 2019, where he served as Security Advisor and became a key figure in the UN’s COVID-19 response. Prior to joining the UN, Justin was a civil servant in the UK. His subsequent international experience includes several years in the Middle East in the private security industry. Justin graduated from the University of Exeter in the UK with a BSc. in Psychology and went on to Master’s degrees from Cornell (Psychology), the University of Westminster (Diplomacy), and the University of Southern California (Communications).
Kairat Nazhmidenov

Kairat Nazhmidenov

FAO Representative
Education: University of International Business (UIB), Kazakh National Agrarian University (KazNAU). At various times, he was an economist at CARANA Corporation (1994-2001), the Asian Development Bank (2002) and the World Bank (2003-2004), as well as an international expert on economics and investment FAO (2004-2019), including at headquarters FAO apartment (Rome, Italy) and the FAO regional office for Europe and Central Asia (Budapest, Hungary). Since 2017, he heads the FAO Liaison and Partnership Bureau in Kazakhstan. He has many years of international experience in 18 countries around the world in economics and investment in the development of the agri-food sector and rural areas, improvement and rehabilitation of forestry and fisheries, sustainable land and water management, the introduction of resource-saving and climate technologies in Eastern Europe (Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Moldova, Serbia, Ukraine, Montenegro), the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), Central and Southeast Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan ZSKA Republic, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, the Philippines).

Katarzyna Wawiernia

UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan
Katarzyna Wawiernia is a native of Poland, serving in the United Nations since 2005. She held Resident Representative Position in UNDP Sao Tome e Principe since April 1, 2019. She also held Resident Coordinator interim function in Sao Tome e Principe for one and a half year.
Prior to this appointment, Katarzyna was UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Malawi (2013-2018). From 2008-2013, she served as UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Guinea-Bissau. From 2005 to 2008, Katarzyna was responsible for capacity building and procurement at UNDP Angola.
Prior to that, Katarzyna worked for five years as a microfinance advisor in the non-governmental sector in South Africa and Mozambique, where she managed income-generating programmes for refugees. She started her career in the corporate sector in Poland in 1996.
Katarzyna holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from the Warsaw School of Economics (Poland) and a Postgraduate Certificate in International Development (specialising in Conflict, Security, and Development) from the University of Birmingham (United Kingdom). She speaks English, Portuguese, French, Spanish, and basic Russian. Katarzyna likes travelling and discovering new cultures. She has volunteerism at her heart and likes being among people in the field. She has two twin daughters.
Maria Dotsenko

Maria Dotsenko

UN Women
UN Women Representative to Kazakhstan
Maria Dotsenko (national of Ukraine) is an international development professional with over 20 years of experience working with the United Nations and other international organizations. Prior to joining UN Women, she worked with the UN Department of Global Communications in the Islamic Republic of Iran and Armenia. Maria also served with the OSCE in Eastern and Central Europe and with the USAID Regional Mission to Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.
Nikita Shabayev

Nikita Shabayev

UNV Country Coordinator
Nikita Shabayev has solid experience of more than 15 years of practical experience in development with public sectors, NGOs and UN. He’s been working in different UN projects from 2015: UN EXPO-2017, youth development under the UNDP Project, UNDP project on Social Inclusion, UNDP project on optimizing the civil service in Kazakhstan, as a UN Volunteer developed Corporate Volunteerism schemes in the South of Kazakhstan,
Nikolay Pomoshchnikov

Nikolay Pomoshchnikov

Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia
Mr. Pomoshchnikov has an extensive experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. Before joining ESCAP in 2011, he was the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to ESCAP. He has the diplomatic rank of Envoy Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (second class). He holds a PhD in Political Science.

Ronny Lindstrom

UNFPA Representative for Kazakhstan, Country Director for Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan
Originally from Sweden, Mr Ronny Lindstrom started his career with UNFPA in Central Asia as Programme Officer covering the Central Asian Republics based in Uzbekistan. He also worked in the Asia and Pacific Division and the Division of Management Services, where among other duties, he served as the secretary of the Contracts Review Committee. He then worked as UNFPA Deputy Representative in China and was then seconded to the CEB Secretariat under the office of the Secretary General in Geneva before returning to UNFPA in Dili, Timor Leste. Mr Lindstrom holds Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and History from Delta State University (USA), MA in Political Science from Mississippi State University (USA), MSc degree in Political Science from University of California (USA), and PhD in Political Science from University of California, Riverside (USA).
skender syla

Skender Syla

WHO Representative and Head of WHO Country Office in Kazakhstan
Dr. Skender Syla has been with WHO for more than 20 years. Prior to his appointment in Kazakhstan, Dr. Syla was WHO Representative in Bulgaria (2017-2022), Head of WHO Pristina Office (2009-2016), and from 2000-2005 held various regional positions as National Professional Officer in the post-conflict reconstruction and health systems development stages at the country level, and later worked at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen.
Prior to joining WHO, he has worked for the humanitarian organization Mother Teresa (1996-1998) and the International Medical Corps (1998-2000) as a physician in the Western Balkans in various humanitarian response programs in support of people affected by humanitarian crises.
He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Pristina and holds a master's degree in international health from the University of Copenhagen.
Talgat Umirzhanov

Talgat Umirzhanov

ILO National Coordinator
Joined the ILO in 1997. Head of External Relations Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 1989 – 1993 Deputy Director of the National Center for Public Opinion and Market Research In 1985- 1989 Senior Editor of Sociological Service of the Kazakh State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting. ILO National Coordinator in Kazakhstan promotes Decent Work Agenda and is responsible for the implementation of Decent Work Country Program for the Republic of Kazakhstan, arranges technical assistance on ratification of ILO conventions, as well as he provides support and development of cooperation between ILO and tripartite partners. Identification of social and economic development priorities for formulation of ILO targeted activities in the country is also his priority; He is member of UNCT and keeps close relationship with other International organizations in the country.
Vlastimil Samek

Vlastimil Samek

Representative of the United Nations Department of Global Communications
Mr. Vlastimil Samek is the Representative of the United Nations Department of Global Communications and the Head of the United Nations Information Office in Kazakhstan. Prior to that he worked for the United Nations as the Representative of the United Nations Department of Public Information and Head of the United Nations Information Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan; Director a. i. of the United Nations Information Centre in Indonesia and Director a. i. of the United Nations Information Centre in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Has more than 30 years of extensive experience in international affairs, diplomacy, economic diplomacy, communications, advocacy and public relations. He joined the United Nations after serving his country in various senior positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, including long-term assignments to Diplomatic Missions in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Mongolia. Holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Economics in Prague (Czech Republic).
Zeynal Hajiyev

Zeynal Hajiyev

IOM Sub-Regional Coordinator for Central Asia, Chief of Mission in Kаzakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan
Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev was appointed as Chief of Mission in IOM Kazakhstan, Coordinator for Central Asia, non-resident Chief of Mission in Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan in October 2019. Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev holds Advanced Diploma in Public Administration from the The Nottingham Trent University, UK (1997) as well as Diploma in Engineering from Moscow Bauman State Technical University, RF (1986). His academic background is coupled with extensive experience in more than 25 years, such countries as Belarus, Iraq, Kosovo. Mr. Zeynal Hajiyev reaffirms his commitment to support the Governments of the Central Asian countries and civil society in preventing and eradicating human trafficking, as well as to ensure safe migration.