U.S. nominee for U.N. migration leader puts people at center of mission

Amy Pope greeting African child (© IOM UN Migration)
Amy Pope visits a refugee camp in South Sudan. (© IOM UN Migration)

Amy Pope, President Biden’s nominee for director general of the United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM), believes the organization needs to meet the challenges of today while harnessing opportunities afforded by safe, orderly and humane migration.

“By working hand-in-hand with its member states,” Pope says, “IOM has the potential to design, coordinate and implement practical and effective solutions for all.”

As deputy director of IOM, Pope has kept people at the heart of its mission, while implementing governance and budget reforms to ensure it is fit for its purpose.

Established in 1951, the Geneva-based IOM is the leading intergovernmental organization on migration. It has 175 member states and eight states with observer status.

IOM also develops responses to the shifting dynamics of migration and shares advice on migration policy and practice. IOM has an annual operating budget of $1.3 billion and more than 18,000 staff spread across more than 150 countries.

Conflict, climate-related disruptions and extreme poverty have displaced more than 100 million people around the world, according to the United Nations. This defining moment in the global approach to migration calls for a new vision, renewed energy and meaningful reform, Pope said.

“I am a person of action, who will get out to the field to listen to migrants and vulnerable people, IOM staff, and member states to determine what works on the ground,” Pope said. “I will also diversify IOM’s resource base by investing in innovation and building private sector ties.”

Amy Pope wearing headscarf while speaking to African women (© IOM UN Migration)
Pope speaks with displaced women in Baidoa, Somalia. (© IOM UN Migration)

As director general, Pope would encourage IOM to help member states manage migration to promote social progress and better standards of life. Creating an organization that is transparent, diverse, accountable and responsive is another of her priorities. She recognizes that IOM’s management affects services to migrants and displaced people as well as members’ confidence in the organization’s work.

Amy Pope standing outside for portrait (U.S. Mission Geneva/Eric Bridiers)
(U.S. Mission Geneva/Eric Bridiers)

“I have strong insights into the organization and have identified strategic and institutional opportunities,” Pope said. “I bring to the organization a wealth of experience in creating and implementing solutions to complex, crisis-driven challenges.”

IOM director generals serve five-year terms. The next election is scheduled for June.