Gabriel Vockel is new Deputy Representative of UNICEF Guyana & Suriname

Gabriel Vockel

Area Representative of UNICEF Guyana and Suriname, Mr. Nicolas Pron has announced the appointment of Mr. Gabriel Vockel of Germany to serve as the Deputy Representative of UNICEF Guyana and Suriname for the next four years.

Mr. Vockel will succeed Mr. Irfan Akhtar of India, to whom the UNICEF Area Representative and the UNICEF Team are extremely grateful for his dedicated services over the past four years in Guyana and Suriname.

“I am extremely delighted to take up this new post as we continue to advance child rights in Guyana and Suriname. I look forward to working with the government and other partners to progressively realize the rights of all children living in both countries,” Mr. Vockel said.

He will now lead the overall programme coordination, planning and implementation across the areas of health, education, child and social protection, behavioral change, and emergency preparedness, to name a few.

The new Deputy Representative assumes the office with a wealth of experience coming as a trained German Judge with a master’s degree in diplomacy from the United Kingdom and a certificate in French Law/Legal French.

Mr. Vockel has previously served as Deputy Representative in Romania since 2018 where he coordinated all programmatic interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as during the unprecedented refugee response amidst war in neighboring Ukraine that saw UNICEF’s presence triple in size amid an unprecedented emergency to which UNICEF responded.

He has also worked with UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa) for almost four years as Child Protection Chief, leading a team of 45 staff preventing and responding to grave child rights violations in and out of armed conflict. Earlier, he served as a UNICEF Child Protection Specialist in Kyrgyzstan, focusing on alternative care reform, justice for children as well as the prevention violence against children.

Prior to that, Mr. Vockel spent over two years with UNICEF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, contributing to the UN’s more global knowledge creation and coordination efforts.

Mr. Vockel started his career with the UN working as a Human Rights Officer in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti and the UN Integrated Office in Burundi from 2008-2010. There, he centered on monitoring and improving the situation of detainees in prisons and police stations, as part of broader efforts around transitional justice and human rights reforms.

Over the next few weeks, Mr. Vockel will be conducting courtesy visits at various ministries including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health, to name a few – as a starting point for a close cooperation. [Press Release]