Aruna Francesca Maria Gujral, ICCROM Director-General

ICCROM Director-General, Ms. Aruna Francesca Maria Gujral, was elected by ICCROM's Member States at the 33rd Session of the General Assembly on 3 November 2023, and began her mandate in January 2024. 

Ms Gujral is the 11th Director-General of the Organization, and the first woman in this role. 

She is an accomplished, dynamic, innovative and committed thought leader with more than 20 years of experience in the public and international development sectors whose extensive background and vast experience in complex programme development and management, strategic planning and programming, governance and policy, coupled with remarkable expertise in mobilizing funds and forging multi-stakeholder partnerships, position her as a guiding force for the Organization. 

Ms Gujral, an Italo-Indian with an outstanding multicultural and multilingual background, previously worked for over 18 years at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), where she held several leading roles in multiple countries and regions, and served in several duty stations at the country, sub-regional, regional, and HQ levels. 

In her previous role as Adviser on Strategy and Policy Coherence at the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub in FAO HQ, Ms Gujral provided strategic advice to enhance policy integration and acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda. As Special Adviser to the Deputy Director-General at FAO, she played a key role in transforming the Organization's business model, propelling policy and operational changes, establishing a programmatic approach for greater impact, fostering key partnerships and strategically positioning FAO within the UN Development System Reform. 

In addition, Ms. Gujral's varied career at FAO includes roles such as Strategy and Planning Officer at FAO HQ in Rome, Italy, Programme Development and Resource Mobilization Officer in Cairo, Egypt for the entire NENA Region, Head of the Policy, Planning and Programming Unit in Mogadishu, Somalia and Programme Coordination Officer in Accra, Ghana for the entire Africa Region. This history showcases her ability to successfully align national strategies with effective programmes and nurture decisive partnerships with various stakeholders, including, Governments, Donors, UN Agencies, NGOs, IFIs, and Private Sector partners. 

She was stationed in various countries, including Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, and the Central Africa Republic, which highlights a remarkable ability not only in conceiving cross-sectorial policies and programmes, mainstreaming results-based strategic planning and providing technical assistance on the ground, but also in leading and managing complex programmes and operations, mobilizing significant resources and effectively contributing to policy cohesion and accelerating sustainable transformations through programmatic and systemic-thinking methods. 

Ms Gujral's earlier career includes roles such as Policy Advisor and Project Analyst for the Society for International Development (SID), Multilateral Cooperation Specialist for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Project Manager and Microcredit Specialist for the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, Assistant Professor in International Cooperation at the University of Trieste, Italy and Institutional Relations Specialist and Exhibitions Curator at the Italian Institute of Culture in Paris, France. 

Ms Gujral is truly passionate about and fully committed to accelerating progress through participatory and systems-thinking approaches and propelling well-being, social cohesion, inclusivity, and economic growth for better lives and livelihoods, particularly for youth and women.