United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
December 10, 2021
Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the Selection of Ambassador Catherine Russell as Executive Director of UNICEF
I applaud the UN Secretary-General’s selection of Ambassador Catherine Russell as Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Ambassador Russell has had an extraordinary career in public service. A passionate and dedicated advocate for children and women globally, she served as the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues for the United States and has been a resounding voice in promoting human rights globally for decades. Ambassador Russell also brings extensive experience delivering high-impact programs that protect women and girls in humanitarian crises and empower underserved communities, as well as building and elevating diverse teams. Her long-standing dedication to children’s rights will be a tremendous asset in executing UNICEF’s critical and far-reaching mandate.
This announcement also marks the departure of Henrietta Fore, who served as the Executive Director since January 1, 2018. Ms. Fore is a dedicated public servant who previously led the U.S. Agency for International Development – the first ever woman to hold this leadership position. She will be deeply missed. I am delighted that the transition from Ms. Fore to Ambassador Russell marks a continuation of American commitment to UNICEF.
The United States is extremely proud to be a devoted partner and leading contributor to UNICEF as it works tirelessly to save children’s lives, defend their rights, and provide them with the ability to reach their potential, from early childhood through adolescence. The compounding threats from armed conflict, migration, the COVID-19 pandemic, and climate change now pose burgeoning risks to vulnerable children around the world. Now – more than ever – the commitment and leadership of Ambassador Russell can help to usher in a safer and more just world for children, ensuring that our future generations of leaders have real opportunities to thrive.