Fernandez Saenz

Elisa Fernandez Saenz is the new Deputy Regional Director for the UN Women’s ECA Regional Office as of May 2023. She has 25 years of professional experience and demonstrated commitment to advance gender equality and the empowerment and rights of women and girls worldwide. Elisa has a wealth of corporate and field experience, serving for the past 6 years as Country Representative for UN Women in Vietnam. Prior to her assignment in Vietnam (2017), she served for 5 years as Chief for UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality based New York (2012-2017), managing a grant-making mechanism supporting women’s organizations interventions to promote women’s economic and political empowerment worldwide, with a total portfolio of US $64 million dollars’ worth of grants among 125 programmes in 80 countries. Ms. Fernandez first started as a Programme Specialist for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region for UNIFEM in 2007, and later served as Manager for global programmes on gender and aid effectiveness and financing for gender equality as the organization transitioned into UN Women in 2010. Elisa initiated her career at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington DC in 1998, where she worked for 8 years on the design and implementation of development projects on gender, ending violence against women and women’s economic and political empowerment for Latin America and the Caribbean. Elisa holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy (and Certificate in International Affairs) from the Johns Hopkins University. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Costa Rica.

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