ISTANBUL, TURKEY — Amir Mahmoud Abdulla of Sudan has been named UN coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a program that was introduced on July 22 by Ukraine, Turkey, the Russian Federation and the United Nations to enable the resumption of exports from Ukraine of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizer through “a safe maritime humanitarian corridor.”

He succeeds Frederick Kenney of the United States, who was on loan by the International Maritime Organization as interim coordinator for the United Nations at the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC).

Abdulla has more than 30 years of experience in the areas of humanitarian response and management with the World Food Programme (WFP) as well as specialized expertise in emergency operations, supply chain and security. He most recently was deputy executive director and chief operating officer of the WFP for the past 13 years, overseeing its humanitarian operations around the world.  

Earlier, he held various roles at the WFP both in the field and headquarters.  From 2008 to 2009, he was the WFP’s chief financial officer and director of legal division, managing WFP’s budget in response to fluctuating food and fuel prices and implementing accountability standards. He also was regional director for Southern Africa, regional director for Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, director of budget and project manager for WPF’s corporate information management system.  

Prior to joining the WFP, Abdulla was a branch manager in Juba and Port Sudan for the shipping and forwarding company Transintra and assistant area manager for the Burmeister and Wain Scandinavian Contractor engineering company in the Sudan.  He also taught at the American School and Comboni College in Khartoum.

Abdulla holds a bachelor of science degree from Imperial College, London University.