About William S. Chemaly
William S. Chemaly is the Principal Adviser in the Office of the United Nations Secretary General Special Adviser on Internal Displacement overseeing negotiations with governments and development cooperation to advance solutions for people displaced by conflicts and disasters.
Prior to his current role Chemaly was heading the Global Protection Cluster, guiding effective and principled protection preparedness and response in over 35 operations with a network of organizations on the frontlines of humanitarian action. He also worked as Senior Policy Advisor in UNHCR, engaging with Member States to operationalize the UN General Assembly New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants in several countries from 2017 until 2019.
Prior to that William was with UN OCHA and worked as Deputy Head of the Regional Office for the Syria Crisis, focusing on strategic planning, conflict analysis and access negotiation into Syria from neighbouring countries, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
William served as Representative of the Danish Refugee Council in Geneva until 2015 bringing the organization’s operational voice to global policymaking and collective advocacy, in particular during the build up to the World Humanitarian Summit.
In 2009, he founded the interagency Joint Internal Displacement Profiling Service (JIPS) and headed its team until 2013, delivering support to humanitarian coordinators and country teams in over 30 operations. The value of displacement profiling and JIPS’ work has been recognized by various UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions.
William has worked for UNHCR in emergency operations in Uganda and Kenya, as well as for OHCHR, CARE International and ILO in Lebanon. Between 2001 and 2005 he worked on forced disappearances with SOLIDE, a local human rights organisation, lobbying with governments and engaging closely with families of the disappeared.
William earned degrees in Economics, International Relations and Human Rights Law from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon, the University of Malta and the National University of Ireland in Galway. He is a visiting fellow at Feinstein International Center of Tufts University and has several publications on humanitarian and protection issues.
William speaks Arabic, French and English. He is married and has two children.