UN Relief Agency Chief Karen Koning AbuZayd '63 Lobbies for More Aid
October 29, 2007
October 29, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "The chief of the United Nations agency providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has asked the Canadian government for multi-year funding rather than the current year-to-year support so long-term planning can be facilitated," reports Embassy, Canada's foreign policy newsweekly. "In addition, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner general of the UN Relief and Works Agency, said that while Canada donates almost $25 million annually and is always within the top five or six largest donors to the UNRWA, the organization has been wrestling with serious budget shortfalls for the past few years." AbuZayd is a 1963 graduate of DePauw University.
"What's stressful is that you see people growing poorer, and the whole society growing poorer and more frustrated and more angry and days go by," she says. AbuZayd was in Canada to speak with officials about the "increasing needs of the Palestinian refugees and the miserable conditions on the ground."
Embassy's Jeff Davis writes, "The UNRWA was established in 1948 following the Arab-Israeli conflict and has been the UN's lead provider of humanitarian assistance to Palestinian populations in the occupied territories for almost 60 years. The basic responsibilities of the UNRWA are to provide primary health care and education to the Palestinian population. The UNRWA also provides food aid, some social services and runs a successful microfinance and micro-enterprise program."
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Karen Koning AbuZayd presented the commencement address at her alma mater in May 2007. A summary of that speech, including video and audio clips, can be found in this previous article.Back