Dr. Mary Kawar

Director ILO Country Office for Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi

Ms. Mary Kawar has 18 years experience in the ILO holding various positions at the ILO headquarters, Geneva as well as the ILO Regional Office for the Arab States,Beirut – Lebanon,before assuming her current position based in Tanzania. She has expertise in areas related to ILO mandate in labour and employment policies, skills development, informal economy youth and gender equality. She has vast experience in working with UN country Teams, and state institutions, civil society, think tanks and development partners.

Ms. Kawar commenced her professional career at the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation Department in her country, Jordan. She joined the ILO in 1997 as a specialist in women workers and gender questions at the Arab Regional Office in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2002, she became a senior specialist in gender and employment and later in 2004 as a senior employment specialist at the ILO head office in Geneva. Between 2006 and 2007 Ms. Kawar served as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Labour in Jordan.

In 2009, she moved to the Arab Regional Office in Beirut, Lebanon to work as a senior skills and employability specialist and later becoming the senior employment policy specialist for the Arab Region.  Some of her key responsibilities included providing technical support and guidance to member states on the development, implementation and monitoring of employment polies; promote new thinking of macroeconomic policy frameworks to accommodate employment-oriented development as well facilitation the integration of the decent work narrative into National Development Frameworks and sectoral policies. Her most recent responsibility before assuming her role in as Director of ILO for East African countries was leading ILO’s work in responding to the Syrian Refugee Crisis in terms of building resilience in host countries and providing refugees with access to work and decent livelihoods.

As a Jordan national, Ms. Kawar earned her PhD in Development Studies from the London School of Economics having previously completed her Master’s in Social Policy and Planning at the same institution. She also holds a degree in Anthropology from Tufts University in the United States. Given her academic background she has authored several publications in many different areas of decent work, most recently on the labour market dimensions of the Syrian refugee Crisis in Jordan and Lebanon.

Follow Mary on Twitter @mary_kawar