President of SOS Children's Villages International

Dr. Dereje Wordofa

Dereje Wordofa was elected in June 2021 to a four-year term as President of SOS Children's Villages International by its General Assembly, the organization’s highest governing body. He is the first leader of African origin and the fourth president in the 75-year history of the organization.

Born in 1966 and raised in Ethiopia, Mr. Wordofa witnessed the impact of famine and protracted violent conflict on people, influencing his career choices and commitment to humanitarian work and social justice.

Mr. Wordofa has more than three decades of professional experience in the humanitarian, development and human rights field. He has held strategic and leadership positions in international non-governmental organizations such as Oxfam, Save the Children, and the American Friends Service Committee. In 2014, he joined SOS Children’s Villages as the International Director of the Eastern and Southern Africa region, later becoming the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Africa and the Middle East.

In 2018, Mr. Wordofa left SOS Children’s Villages to serve as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director (Programmes) of the United Nations Population Fund. At the United Nations, he oversaw UNFPA’s programmes worldwide to promote sexual reproductive health and rights, advocating for action on the Sustainable Development Goals on behalf of the UN Secretary-General.

Since returning to SOS Children’s Villages International in 2021, Mr. Wordofa has been committed to continuing and expanding the organization’s reach to support children without parental care and those at risk of losing care. Convinced of the indisputable impact SOS Children’s Villages has had worldwide over the years, he firmly believes that the organization must strengthen and establish new partnerships with governments, civil society organizations, academic institutions, and corporations to address the multidimensional needs of children in vulnerable conditions, especially those who have lost or risk losing parental care.

“We have reached millions of children through our family support, alternative care, advocacy and humanitarian response programmes. However, with about 200 million children in distress worldwide, this cannot be addressed by a single organization. We need to work with others to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of children and young people who are in desperate need of support,” says Mr. Wordofa.

Dereje Wordofa holds a doctorate in Business Administration from the University of Bradford, an MBA from Oxford Brookes University, and an MSc (Econ) in Social Policy Planning in Developing Countries from the London School of Economics. He is married and has two grown-up daughters.

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