Natalia Kanem became the fifth executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in October 2017. Prior to that, she served as UNFPA representative in Tanzania. She is the founding president of ELMA Philanthropies Inc., a private institution focusing on children and youth in Africa. Before that, she worked as a senior associate at the Lloyd Best Institute of the West Indies, focusing on development in the Caribbean.
From 1995 to 2005, Kanem worked at the Ford Foundation, first as a representative for West Africa, pioneering work on women’s reproductive health and sexuality, and later at the Foundation’s headquarters in New York as deputy vice-president for its worldwide peace and social justice programs. Kanem holds a medical degree from Columbia University, a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Washington, Seattle, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, where she studied history and science.
Kanem joined the Dialogue as a Member in 2018.