The UN’s International Organization for Migration chooses its next director general on Monday, with the current IOM chief Antonio Vitorino being challenged for the job by his deputy Amy Pope. Former Portuguese government minister Vitorino has been running the UN’s migration agency since 2018; US lawyer Pope is a former White House figure who has been at the Geneva-based IOM since 2021.
Here are profiles of the two candidates:
- The 66-year-old is a former deputy prime minister of Portugal who has held the top IOM post for the past five years.
- A politician and a lawyer, Vitorino was Portugal’s defence minister and deputy prime minister from 1995 to 1997 in the government of Antonio Guterres, who is now the UN secretary-general.
- Vitorino was then the European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs from 1999 to 2004.
- IOM member states chose him to lead the organisation in 2018, making him only the second non-American to lead the agency in seven decades.
- Born in Lisbon, Vitorino holds a master’s degree in law and political science from the Lisbon Law School.Standing for the
- Socialist Party, he was first elected to the Portuguese parliament in 1980 and held a junior government role.
- The US lawyer, 49, is the IOM’s deputy director general for management and reform, one of two deputies working under Vitorino.
- Pope, who has spent most of her career focused on migration issues, including within the administration of former US president Barack Obama, started working at IOM in September 2021.
- Her roles include supervising ethics, staff security, financial management, human resources, information technology and legal affairs.“Amy Pope is a transformative leader in international migration policy with demonstrated experience improving complex organisations,” the IOM says.Pope was US President Joe Biden’s senior advisor on migration after he took office in 2021, having served under Obama as senior director on trans-border security (2013-2015) and then deputy homeland security advisor (2015-2017).