Zainab Bangura profile 800x600 womanleader GWLvoices
Her voice

“Social movements create an opportunity for women to find their voices, to join forces, and to rediscover themselves and their potential and the opportunity they have.”


Ms. Bangura was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as Director-General of UNON on 30 December 2019, at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

Mrs. Bangura has over 30 years of policy, diplomatic and practical experience in the fields of governance, elections, corruption, gender, international cooperation and relations, peace operations, and conflict resolution and reconciliation.

Before joining UNON, Mrs. Bangura was United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict from 2012 to 2017. She served as Minister of Health and Sanitation (2010 to 2012) for the Government of Sierra Leone and was previously Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (2007 to 2010). Previously, she has served as Executive Director of the National Accountability Group(SL) – now Transparency International (SL), as well as Coordinator and Coordinator for Campaign for Good Governance – Sierra Leone

Mrs. Bangura began her United Nations career with on-the-ground experience in peacekeeping operations in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), where she was responsible for management of the largest civilian component of the Mission, including promoting capacity-building of government institutions and community reconciliation.

Mrs. Bangura has been globally acclaimed for her achievements as a civil society, human and women’s rights campaigner and democracy activist. Nominated as one of the 100 most Influential Africans, Mrs. Bangura has been the recipient of many awards, including the IHL Dialogs – Joshua Heinz Award for Humanitarian Achievement, the Human Rights Award from the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the National Endowment for Democracy’s Award, the African American Institute’s Distinguished Alumna Award, the Hillary Rodham Clinton Award for Advancing Women in Peace and Security from Georgetown University, and the Harvard School of Public Health, Kennedy School of Government award for Harvard 2012 Health Leader.

Mrs. Bangura is a former fellow of the Chartered Insurance Institute of London, possessing Diplomas in Insurance Management from the City University Business School of London and Nottingham University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. She also holds Honorary Doctorates in Law (from Syracuse University, USA 2019, Aberdeen University, UK 2015, Oxford Brookes University, UK 2015, Ursini College USA. 2014) and an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters (Florida Atlantic University, USA 2015).