Geert Cappelaere took up the post of UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa in October 2016.
Mr. Cappelaere joined UNICEF in 1999 and was, until August 2016, the UNICEF Representative in Sudan. He previously served as UNICEF Representative in Yemen (2009-2012) and Sierra Leone (2005 – 2009).
Prior to that, Mr. Cappelaere was Senior Child Protection Advisor at New York Headquarters (1999-2000), Senior Advisor for the Central and Eastern European Regional Office (2000-2002) and UNICEF's first Regional Child Protection Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa (2002-2005).
Before joining UNICEF, he was Chair of the Belgian Royal Commission on Child Abuse and Exploitation and affiliated to the University of Gent. He is author of a number of internationally renowned publications, including 'Children deprived of their Liberty: Rights and Realities'. He actively contributed to the drafting of several international legal instruments in the area of child protection and children’s rights.
Fluent in English, French and Dutch, Mr. Cappelaere holds a Doctorandus in criminology and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and education sciences from the University of Gent.
A national of Belgium, he is married and has three children.