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Christine Knudsen appointed Sphere Project Director

Christine Knudsen“You can count on me to be a strong advocate for quality!” says Christine Knudsen.

Knudsen brings 17 years of experience ranging from humanitarian response to resource mobilisation to advocacy and networking to the post. She has worked with UN and leading humanitarian agencies in some 20 countries.

“Christine demonstrates absolute commitment and passion for humanitarian values and principles,” said Sphere Board Chair Unni Krishnan in welcoming Knudsen to the position.

“Christine joins the Sphere Project at a very exciting time, when decisive steps are being taken to reinforce influence and impact and to strengthen alliances to improve the quality and accountability of humanitarian action,” Krishnan added. “The Sphere Board and staff look forward to working with Christine; we wish her all the best and success in her new role!”

Knudsen has been the Humanitarian Partnerships Manager in the Office of Emergency Programmes at UNICEF in Geneva since 2009. In that capacity, she has negotiated and built common policies on key issues with the UN, the Red Cross and the NGO community. She also managed stand-by emergency deployments involving governmental and civil society organisations as well as the private sector.

Before joining UNICEF, Knudsen was Senior Protection Officer with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and earlier on with Save the Children. She led child protection responses in Sudan, Somalia, Chad, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mozambique and Indonesia. She also worked in Burundi, Gambia, Iraq and in the Russian Federation.

Knudsen chaired InterAction’s Working Group on Protection and was the first chair of the  (INEE).

Commenting on her appointment, Knudsen said: “As a humanitarian practitioner who has been involved with the Sphere standards for over a decade – working on their different versions, applying them and training on them – I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to be part of the leadership of the Project at such an important time, as it moves into the next level.”

For Knudsen, “The Sphere Project can play a significant role by helping the humanitarian community to refocus on delivering quality humanitarian assistance to people affected by disaster or conflict, after so many years focusing on the coordination architecture.”

“You can count on me to be a strong advocate for quality!” she added.

Knudsen succeeds Linda Poteat, whose ad interim appointment in the same position will end in November. “The Sphere Board is deeply grateful to Linda for her commitment and excellent work during a crucial time of transition for Sphere,” Krishnan said.

Poteat has agreed to continue as Interim Director until Knudsen’s arrival and thus provide a smooth handover leading up to the upcoming meeting of the Sphere Project Board, which will take place in New Delhi in November.

Christine Knudsen holds an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies as well as a degree in literature from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV).

Knudsen will be based at the Sphere Project office, which is hosted by the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) in Geneva, Switzerland.