Rebecca Vetharaniam Richards assumed her duties as Chief, Emergencies & Transitions at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in January 2018, responsible for in strategy and partnership development across WFP’s evolving work in Humanitarian, Development and Peace spheres. Rebecca also oversees the Peace and Conflict Office which is focused on growing the organisations past, current and future contribution to ‘peace’.
Prior to this, Ms. Richards served as the Head of the Sub Regional Office for the Middle East, based in Jordan, where she supported WFP’s Syria Crisis Response for five years. This followed her time as Executive Manager to the Executive Directors of the World Food Programme, whom she served for five years.
Rebecca brings twenty years of experience with the United Nations in the fields of political affairs, peacekeeping, emergency response coordination, humanitarian- development reform and policy . Her career began in Pakistan in 1999 as Political Affairs Officer with the Office Special Representative for the Secretary- General (SRSG) for Afghanistan, joining the team for the Bonn Agreement, post September 11 2001 and subsequently moving to Afghanistan to work for the peacekeeping mission.
Rebecca’s political work continued with the Office of the Director General of the United Nations in Geneva until the Tsunami in December 2004 provoked a career shift as she joined the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, with a focus on transitions from emergencies. Since then, Rebecca served during Pakistan Earthquake, Cyclone Nargis Response in Myanmar and the Somalia Crisis, bringing this experience to bear on the development of humanitarian reform policy prior to her joining the World Food Programme in 2008 as a Logistics Officer.
Rebecca is a British national and holds a Master’s in ‘International Peace and Security’ from Kings College London.