Pope is First UN Migration Director

Pope is First UN Migration Director

Former White House advisor Amy E Pope becomes the first woman to head the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Migration Agency.

The Director General-elect Pope, who began her appointment as IOM’s Deputy Director General for Management and Reform in September 2021, was nominated by the United States of America. The incumbent Director General Mr.AntónioVitorino was also a candidate in the election. 

The first woman to lead IOM, Pope will assume the duties of Director General for a five-year term beginning on 1 October 2023.


During her tenure as Deputy Director General, Pope implemented a series of budgetary, management and administrative reforms to optimize IOM’s field delivery and risk management. She also enhanced internal justice outcomes and operational results, and strengthen coordination with the United Nations system. 

Prior to joining IOM, Pope served as the Senior Advisor on Migration to President Biden in 2021, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor from 2015-2017, and as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on Transborder Security from 2013-2015. 

At the White House, she developed and implemented comprehensive strategies to manage migration surges, address trafficking in persons, respond to the Zika and Ebola outbreaks, and prepare communities to react to climate crises. Since then, she has continued to promote dialogue on global migration challenges through her academic writing and work with Chatham House. She also occupied positions at the US Department of Justice and US Senate and was a Partner in the London-based law firm Schillings.

Pope has guided government entities and private sector organizations through organizational change, working with them to better strategize, innovate, and manage risk. She has a strong record of developing staff and building empowered and diverse teams to achieve change. In addition, she has exceptional experience building partnerships and promoting collaboration, working with multilateral organizations, governments, and community stakeholders to develop and execute policies on migration, refugee resettlement, and countering violent extremism.

She graduated magna cum laude from the Duke University School of Law with a Juris Doctor and has a BA in Political Science (with Honors) from the Haverford College in Pennsylvania.


After the vote, Pope said on Twitter that she was “humbled and honoured” to be chosen to lead IOM, and highlighted the need to address “evolving threats posed by climate & conflict.”

“We know that particularly as climate change impacts more communities, even greater numbers of people will be forced to migrate,” she said in her acceptance speech. “And we cannot lose sight of the evidence, which overwhelmingly shows that when migration is well managed — when people have real and meaningful choice to migrate — the whole world benefits.”


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