Quaker United Nations Office Geneva names new Director

Following an international search process, the Quaker UN Office (QUNO) has announced the appointment of Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge as the incoming Director of QUNO Geneva. Nozizwe, a South African national, is a member of the Quaker Community in the Western Cape Meeting. She has a distinguished career in government, civil society and advocacy, as well as an honorary Doctorate of Law from Haverford College, and degrees in microbiology, adult education, social science, and philosophy.

Colm Ó Cuanacháin, clerk of the search committee says: Nozizwe comes to QUNO Geneva as the first African director of any Quaker international agency. QUNO has always strived for all voices to be heard at the United Nations and in the quiet diplomacy we practice; the issues we work on (climate change, human rights – especially those of migrants, sustaining peace, arms control, just and sustainable economic systems) are particularly important right now to the African continent and to the Global South in general.”

Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, the incoming Director says: “I am grateful and privileged to take over executive leadership of an accomplished organization and to carry forward the Quaker tradition of quiet diplomacy at the United Nations. I look forward to working with the Quaker UN Committee, the experienced team at the QUNO Geneva office and listening to and interacting with the worldwide Quaker community. I am proud to be taking over from Jonathan Woolley and previous Directors who have built up such a significant track record. I take over at a time of change in the world, new and intersecting global challenges of COVID 19, global warming, deepening economic inequality and polarization within and between countries. I also come at a time of change of leadership at the QUNO New York Office and other Quaker institutions including FCNL, QCEA and FWCC. I look forward to working with the new leaders in responding to the new challenges and contributing a perspective from the Global South.”

The outgoing Director Jonathan Woolley will retire by year end 2021, with some overlap with Nozizwe. Under his stewardship, QUNO Geneva strengthened and expanded QUNO’s staff team. He also introduced work on the human impacts of climate change that is now central to our endeavours, and reoriented work on global economic issues.

Holly Spencer, QUNO Geneva co-clerk says: Quakers are doing really important work at the United Nations. We are excited to be rising to the urgent challenges of geopolitical crises and changes under new leadership. We are grateful to Jonathan Woolley for his outstanding contribution to international policy and practice as the steward of Quaker engagement with UN decision making in Geneva for over ten years.”

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