About Michel Gabaudan

Michel Gabaudan became president of Refugees International in September of 2010, leading RI forward in its mission to bring attention and action to refugees and displaced people worldwide. Prior to his role with RI, Michel served as the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) Regional Representative for the United States and the Caribbean. Michel’s career with UNHCR spanned more than 25 years, including international service in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific.

Trained as a medical doctor in addition to holding a master’s degree in tropical public health, Michel spent a decade working in Guyana, Zambia, Brazil, London and Yemen before joining UNHCR as a Field Officer in Thailand in 1978. His UN career took him to field operations in Cameroon and Pakistan as well as several years at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva, where he served as the first public health advisor to the organization.

Subsequently, he served as a Secretary to CIREFCA, the International Conference on Refugees in Central America, where he led a joint UNHCR- UNDP team for a year and a half, supporting peace processes in Latin America. He was then assigned as Charge de Mission in Guatemala where he negotiated the first phases of the return of refugees. In 1995, he was appointed as the Regional Representative in Mexico responsible for all Central American countries. That same year, Michel was the recipient of the Order of the Quetzal, Guatemala’s highest honor. The award was bestowed upon him in appreciation for his involvement in the country's peace process.

He then went on to become head of UNHCR’s funding and donor relations service at headquarters in Geneva. Between 2001 and 2004, Michel was the Regional Representative in Australia. Prior to coming to Washington, he served as the Regional Representative for UNHCR in Beijing.

Op-Eds by Michel Gabaudan:

  • The Rohingya Crisis: Finding a Way Forward Read here
  • Cut Short: The latest threat to int'l peacekeeping is political warfare in Washington Read here   
  • Help Syrians Help Themselves Read here
  • Syrian Refugee Crisis: The View from the Turkish Border Read here
  • Generosity of Arab Donors Works Best Through UN Aid Read here
  • Kenya: Punishing Refugees Won't Stop Terror Attacks Read here
  • Rohingya Must be on Obama's Agenda in Burma Read here
  • As Region Scrambles to Shelter Syrians, Israel Closes the Door Read here
  • From emergency aid to development aid: Agencies are failing to connect Read here
  • An Empty Anniversary for Afghanistan's Displaced Read here
  • Somalia: A Man Made Famine Read here
  • Driven From Burma, Scorne by Bangladesh Read here
  • Libya: What Few People Witness Read here
  • Foreign Aid: The Right Choice Read here
  • Afghan People Need Our Help Now Read here