Michel J.J. Thieren

Dr Michel Thieren began his career in 1989 with Médecins sans Frontières as a physician in Thailand's refugee camps. Since then he has held various positions in WHO and other United Nations agencies.

He is now the Director of the WHO Regional Emergency Program for the Eastern Mediterranean, covering 22 countries in the Magreb, Horn of Africa, Middle-East, and Central Asia. In his tenure, Dr Thieren established the new Emergency Program with an operational structure and mandate, articulated under an innovating Regional Emergency Operation Center, based in Cairo. For the past 6 months, Dr Thieren has been detached to establish the Global Health and Migration Program at WHO, with its endorsement by the World Health Assembly 72 (2019).

Since June 2014, Dr Thieren has served a WHO Representative in Pakistan where his salient achievement has been to bring polio under control, with a case load reduction of 95% in three years. Prior to this, he was PAHO/WHO Representative in Bolivia (2011–2014) and Senior Programme Management Officer/Acting WHO Representative in Cambodia (2008–2011). Dr Thieren has also worked at WHO headquarters within the department of humanitarian action, and the division of epidemiology and statistics. From 1995 to 1996 he was Head of the field office for northern Bosnia, and has also worked (1991-1993) as subregional coordinator for WHO/AMRO's Emergency Relief and Preparedness programme, for Central America (based in Costa-Rica) and Andean America (based in Ecuador).

Dr Thieren's work in emergencies and humanitarian action took him to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he worked as medical coordinator for the UNHCR for the Rwandan refugee crisis (1994), and to Haiti (in 1993 and in 1995), as a Medical Human Rights Observer with the UN/DPKO.

Dr Thieren was a Board Member of Medecins Sans Frontieres (Swiss Section) in 1999-2000, a Member of the WHO Ethic Review Board (2003-6), and a guest editor for OpenDemocracy.Net where he published a dozen of articles on humanitarian practices and policies.

Dr Thieren holds a Doctorate in Medicine and Surgery from the Catholic University of Louvain, Faculty of Medicine, Brussels, as well as Diploma in Tropical Medicine from the Prince Leopold II Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp. Dr Thieren also holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from John Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore.

RESEARCH INTERESTS :

Humanitarian practices; IHL; linkages between health and diplomacy / foreign affairs; dual-use research of concern; health development and peace nexus.


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