Our Team in Lao PDR

Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov

Mr. Bakhodir Burkhanov

The UN Resident Coordinator in Lao PDR
Mr. Bakhodir BURKHANOV (Uzbekistan) has worked for the UN System organizations since 1998 in progressively responsible positions starting as National Officer with UNIDO.

Prior to his appointment as UN Resident Coordinator for Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he headed the RC System Business Management Branch at the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) in New York, overseeing human resources, legal, financial and operational management support for the RC System globally.

In December 2018, he was designated as UNDP Resident Representative for 10 Pacific Island Countries based in Fiji (Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). From 2016 to 2018, he served as Country Director for the Pacific Office in Fiji, and Head of UNDP’s Pacific Regional Policy and Programme (covering 10 Pacific Island Countries, with support to Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau).

Between 2011-2016, he was posted in Viet Nam as Deputy Country Director in a Delivering as One (DaO) context. From 2008 to 2011, he was Deputy Resident Representative in Bhutan, a self-starter DaO country. Prior to that, he served as a Donor Relations Adviser at UNDP Headquarters in New York (2004-2008), covering a donor portfolio including the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

His other postings included Assistant Resident Representative in Papua New Guinea, and Programme Specialist at UNDP HQ in New York covering the Afghanistan desk.

Bakhodir holds an MA degree in Business Administration and a BA (Hons) in Political Sciences and International Relations. He is married with three children.
Mr. Avi Sarkar - Photo

Dr. Avi Sarkar

Regional Advisor - South-East Asia, UBS, GSD, and Head of Office, Lao PDR
Avi Sarkar (India) is the Regional Advisor covering South-East Asia for UN-Habitat. Besides representing UN-Habitat in Lao PDR, Dr. Sarkar also heads the Urban Basic Services Programmes in the South-East Asian region. He has earlier worked as the Regional Coordinator for South-East Asian Region for the Norwegian People’s Aid and has also worked in the private sector as an analyst in a fund management group.

Dr. Sarkar has a PhD in Management and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and in Environmental Economics. He also has an Honors in Physics.
Dr. Bakhtiyor Kadyrov

Dr. Bakhtiyor Kadyrov

UNFPA Representative
Bakhtiyor Kadyrov is a development and humanitarian aid professional, with 21 years of field experience, at different capacities, including leadership and programme management responsibilities with UNFPA in Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Tajikistan.

Bakhtiyor Kadyrov’s assignments with UNFPA Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, Nepal and Tajikistan led to rewarding achievements in leadership roles, including change management, introducing evidence-based programme models and systems of accountability, resource mobilization, advocacy and partnership coordination.

Bakhtiyor has both extensive business development and high level program design and leadership experience.

He acted as Representative a.i./ Officer-in-Charge of UNFPA Syria for two years (2009-2010 & 2011-2012), and the Head of Puntland Field Office in Somalia for more than five years.

In his most recent assignments, he acted as Representative a.i. of UNFPA Pakistan over the period of June 2021-October 2022, spearheading the CO high-level policy advocacy, partnership coordination, the new CPD design and the CO flood response over the period of June 2021-Ocrober 2022. Prior to that he served as the Pakistan CO Deputy Representative for 3 years (2018-2021). This is in addition to the most recent short-term programme management and technical assignment with UNFPA Nepal in February-June 2023.

His hands-on experience, as evident by concrete results over the past years, reflect skill mix in development assistance, resilience building operations and expanding partnership base, advocacy, partnership coordination and policy development. In this respect, it is worth noting that he has significant experience in establishing and maintaining relationships with key internal and external stakeholders from a range of different cultures, from senior government through to community level. This includes hands-on experience in building long-term effective relationships and partnerships with governments, donors and private sector, particularly in areas of capacity development and policy implementation.

Prior to joining the UN System in 2002 Bakhtiyor Kadyrov served as a technical advisor for a non-governmental organization mandated to promote adolescent and youth reproductive health. This is in addition to practicing medicine prior to his technical assignment with the non-governmental organization.

Dr. Bakhtiyor Kadyrov is a Tajikistan national and holds a Medical Diploma with a specialization in General Medicine, as well as PhD Degree in Medical Specialties from the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and Dissertation Council of the Tajik Medical University.
Dr. Pia Rebello Britto

Dr. Pia Rebello Britto

Pia Rebello Britto, Ph.D., Global Chief and Senior Advisor, Early Childhood Development, UNICEF, is internationally renowned for her expertise in early childhood policy and programmes.

Dr. Britto obtained her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Columbia University and prior to joining UNICEF she was an Assistant Professor at Yale University’s Child Study Center.

Dr. Britto is known globally for her expertise in early childhood programmes, policies and advocacy. She has worked extensively with partners to advance the ECD agenda globally, and nationally, to give every child a best start to life. The focus of her work has been on strengthening multi-sectoral programmes for young children and families, measuring of results, mobilizing political commitment, creating a global architecture for ECD and setting technical standards of excellence.

Dr. Britto is the recipient of several national and international awards in recognition for her work and has published numerous books, articles, chapters and reports.
Alex Kremer

Mr. Alex Kremer

World Bank
Country Manager for Laos
Alex Kremer became World Bank Country Manager for Laos in July 2021. He oversees the World Bank’s program in the country and leads policy dialogue with government counterparts, civil society, and other partners.

Alex joined the World Bank in 2005. Before coming to Laos, he was the Country Manager for Belarus (2017-21), Moldova (2014-17), the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan (2010-14). On joining the Bank in 2005, he worked in the Middle East and North Africa region as a Senior Sector Economist. During that time he published several research works on agriculture, the impact of the 2006 war in Lebanon, energy efficiency and lagging regions. He was the lead author of "Poor places, thriving people: how the Middle East and North Africa can overcome spatial disparities" (2010).

Before joining the Bank, Alex worked for the UK Department for International Development in India as National Program Manager, and as an EU official, including as Economic and Political Counsellor in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Alex Kremer holds degrees in Economics from Cambridge and London Universities, a Ph.D. in Economics from London, and a Diploma in Business Administration. He is married with three children and enjoys singing, writing, visiting mountains and foil fencing.
Mr. Ambrosio N. Barros

Mr. Ambrosio N. Barros

IFAD Head of the Mekong Multi-Country Office and Country Director for Laos, Viet Nam, Myanmar and Thailand.
Mr. Ambrosio N. Barros has been appointed IFAD Head of the Mekong Multi-Country Office and Country Director for Laos, Viet Nam, Myanmar and Thailand.
He will be based in Hanoi, Viet Nam, moving from Johannesburg where he headed the IFAD Southern Africa Multi-Country Office. After joining IFAD in 2010, he has mainly led IFAD’s portfolios in various countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Haiti, Malawi and Zambia.
Prior to IFAD, he managed a Master’s Programme at Sciences Po Paris, France, and served as a diplomat for the Angolan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Barros holds a BA in History and Social Sciences as well as two Master’s degrees: one in History of International Relations from Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and another in Public Administration and Public Policy with a specialization in Economic and Political Development from Columbia University in New York, USA.
Mr. David Frend

Mr. David Frend

AML/CFT Adviser and Mentor
Since April 2021, David Frend has been the Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and Financing of Terrorism (GPML), Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Mentor and Advisor for the Mekong Region based in the UNODC Programme Office, Lao PDR. In April 2022, David was appointed the Officer-in-Charge of the UNODC Programme Office Lao PDR.

Previously, David was the GPML AML/CFT Adviser and Mentor in Afghanistan, working out of the UNODC Country Office for Afghanistan. He is an English barrister by professional training, and worked at the independent English and Welsh Bar, the British Army and the Crown Prosecution Service before joining UNODC in September 2018. He is a graduate of both Keele and Bristol Universities with a bachelor’s degree in Law and Politics and a master’s degree in International Law.
Mr. Marc-André Prost

Mr. Marc-André Prost

Country Director, World Food Programme, Lao PDR
Marc is a public health nutritionist with 20 years of experience in humanitarian and development settings in Africa and Latin America designing and implementing food security and nutrition policies and programmes. Prior to joining WFP’s operation in Laos, Marc was WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Haiti, Regional Advisor on nutrition, social protection and HIV for Latin America. Marc worked in protracted emergencies in D.R. Congo, Burundi, Somalia and transitional contexts in Sudan and Haiti. With WFP since 2009, Marc also worked with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and international Non-Governmental organizations. Marc also worked as an investigator at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) on the aetiology of acute malnutrition. He is a graduate in human nutrition from Montpellier University (France) and in epidemiology from LSHTM (UK).
Mr. Viengprasith THIPHASOUDA

Mr. Viengprasith THIPHASOUDA

ILO National Coordinator
Mr. Viengprasith has held the post of ILO Coordinator in Lao PDR since 21 July 2022. Prior to take this position Prasith join ILO as Safe and Fair National Project Coordinator since November 2018.

Prasith graduated from former Soviet Union (Ukraine)-as engineering on Machine et Chain Automobile and also completed his master from Lion (French) on Project Administration and Management, completed his fellowship at School International Training (SIT) in Vermont and Colombia University on project management and public advocacy in USA and has several esteemed degrees and certifications.

Prasith brings with him rich experience having worked in the government such as Ministry of Public Work and Transportation and Ministry of Defence, IOs, INGOs and local CSOs. First started with UN agency was Food Agriculture Organization; Handicap International as deputy director in Laos, National Regulatory Authorisation for unexploded ordnance; Danish Red Cross; The Asia Foundation, Care International and support other local CSO. He has been working on issues of GBC, women’s empowerment, especially specific to vulnerable women and children including women with disabilities, dignified work and migrant women, human trafficking issues in the last three decades. He has huge experience on liaison and coordination with government agencies.
Martine Thérer

Mrs. Martine Thérer

Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Lao PDR
Mrs. Therer, a national of Belgium is an accomplished senior manager, with more than 20 years of
experience of the United Nations system at Headquarters and in the field. She has a strong background
in strategic planning, including UN development planning and programming frameworks, processes and
tools at country level, with a focus on forging partnerships around joint programmes and with a broad
range of stakeholders.

Mrs. Therer has extensive experience in leading high-level policy engagement and working with a
broad range of development actors, including national and local authorities and partners, donors, IFls,
private sector, civil society, and academia. She promoted and provided strategic support on sustainable
development, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, in areas such as inclusive development,
governance, rule of law, environment, climate change, disaster risk management, gender and women
empowerment, innovation and SDG financing. She supported Integrated National Financing Framework
(INFF) and digital transition processes and a strong advocate of South-South Cooperation.

Mrs. Therer has worked in fragile and crisis settings, and politically complex environments, has a
good understanding and experience of humanitarian, development and peace nexus issues and proven
experience in post-disaster needs assessments and recovery, including strengthening resilience and local
governance for disaster risk prevention.

Mrs. Therer recently served as the Deputy Resident Representative in Morocco. She has also had
senior roles for the agency in Tunisia, Haiti, Niger, at UNDP Headquarters, and at the office of the United
Nations Secretary-General, at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Mrs. Therer holds master's degrees in literature and in Journalism and Communication from
Universite de Liege and the Universite libre de Bruxelles, Belgium.
Ms. Eda Kraja

Ms. Eda Kraja

UNOPS Country Manager Cambodia & Lao PDR
Eda Kraja is the Country Manager for Cambodia and Lao PDR since October 2023. She has joined UNOPS South East Asia and the Pacific Multi-Country Office with 15+ years of professional experience in both the private and development sectors, the majority of it within UNOPS, focusing on financial management, infrastructure, partnership development, and technical assistance projects, especially in the areas of health infrastructure and project management. She has a proven track record of optimizing business operations, as well as leading cross-functional teams to execute complex projects in Asia, and the Pacific Regions.

An Albanian/Swiss national, Eda holds an MSc in Business Administration with a focus on Economics and Wealth Management from the University of Geneva.

Ms. Kyung-mee Kim

FAO Representative in Lao PDR
Ms. Kim, a national of the Republic of Korea, FAO Representative to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. She holds a Master of Public Administration from Texas A&M University, College Station, in the United States, and a Master of Arts in English Literature from Korea University in the Republic of Korea.

Ms. Kim has extensive experience in the field of agriculture and rural development. Prior to joining FAO, she served as Senior Director in the Direct Payment Implementation Division of the National Agriculture Product Quality Management Service in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Sejong, Republic of Korea, since May 2023.

Ms. Kim started her career in 1993 as Instructor at Korea University in the Republic of Korea. From 2002 to 2011, she was Deputy Director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Ghwacheon, Republic of Korea. In 2011, she served as Director of the Food Cluster Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Sejong, Republic of Korea. Between 2013 and 2020, she was Senior Director of the Agriculture Commerce Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Sejong, Republic of Korea. From 2020 to 2023, she served as Senior Government Partnership Officer, Public Partnership and Resourcing Division at the World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome, Italy.
Ms. Manithda Sithimolada

Ms. Manithda Sithimolada

Country Coordinator
Manithda Sithimolada is a Country Coordinator for the UNV Programme in Lao PDR since 2020.

She has many years of work experience in a wide range of sectors including international organizations, local NGOs, and private sector. She spent over 10 years (2003 – 2015) working for then Australian Agency for International Development (now Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) in the area of basic and higher education and in managing human resource development program. She worked as a Communications Consultant for the World Bank in 2017 – 2019. She became Vice President of Children’s Home Foundation in 2018 while also taking on a role of General Manager in a private sector.

She graduated in International Relations under Australia Award Scholarship and in Human Resource Development under Fulbright scholarship.
Patricia Ongpin

Ms. Patricia Ongpin

Country Director Cambodia, Lao PDR and Malaysia
Patricia Ongpin is the UNAIDS Country Director of the multi-country office covering Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Malaysia since June 2022.

Ms Ongpin is an international development and public health specialist with over 15 years of experience spanning across Asia, Africa, and Europe. As a strong advocate for equality and leaving no one behind, she has a rich background in coordinating evidence-based decentralized programmes that focus on inclusiveness, partnership, and sustainability.

Ms Ongpin was most recently the Regional Fast Track Advisor for the UNAIDS Regional Support Team in Asia and the Pacific. Prior to this, Ms Ongpin served in UNAIDS as Fast-Track Advisor in Namibia and Strategic Information Advisor for Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Ms Ongpin is a national of Canada. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations, and Bachelor’s Degrees in Economics and International Relations.
Ms. Shareen Tuladhar

Ms. Shareen Tuladhar

Chief of Mission
Shareen Tuladhar was designated as the IOM Chief of Mission in Lao PDR in June 2020.

Ms. Tuladhar has been working with IOM in different capacities since 2015, serving as a Program Manager at IOM Maldives and as Head of the Migrant Protection and Assistance Unit at IOM Azerbaijan.

Prior to taking on this posting in Lao PDR, she worked as a national expert on a mid-term evaluation for a USAID funded trafficking in persons project. She was also actively engaged in research on labour migration and trafficking in persons in Nepal. From 2010 to 2015, she was a program manager at The Asia Foundation’s Nepal Office with a diverse portfolio of managing trafficking in persons and safe migration projects funded by USAID. Prior to this, she worked for a research firm in Nepal focusing on public health.

Ms. Tuladhar holds a Master’s degree in International Business with an emphasis on Economics.