Nigel Fisher, O.C., O.Ont., M.S.C., LL.D (Hon) has worked for over three decades with the United Nations in 15 countries: with UNICEF for over two decades in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, with which he specialized in the protection of children affected by armed conflict; with the UN Department of Peacekeeping at the rank of Assistant Secretary-General and was responsible for humanitarian recovery operations, both in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban and most recently in Haiti, following the January 2010 earthquake; as Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services; and currently with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria crisis. He is also a former President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, was an adviser to a past Foreign Minister of Canada on children and armed conflict and was Deputy Executive Secretary of the first World Conference on Education for All.
Dr. Fisher’s career has been predominantly in conflict- and crisis-affected countries. In addition to Afghanistan, Haiti and his current functions related to the Syria crisis, he was UNICEF’s Special Representative for Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Central Africa in the immediate aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. He led UNICEF’s response to the first Gulf War in the Middle East, moving to Northern Iraq after the war to restart UNICEF operations there. He likewise led UNICEF’s cross-border operations for Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, until joining the UN peacekeeping mission there in early 2002. He has also been UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Operations and Regional Director for South Asia.
He has spent much of his career on developing and applying standards for the protection of child soldiers and conflict-affected children, as well as on civil-military relations. He has published on issues of trauma recovery, children in armed conflict and basic education. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Victoria, a member of the board of the Children and War Foundation and in 2013, received the Canadian Medical Association’s Medal of Honour for his lifelong commitment to child health.