Dr. Suraya Dalil represents a unique profile that encompasses humanitarian leadership, health expertise, and diplomacy with a resolute commitment to human rights and women’s empowerment.
Dr. Dalil is presently a senior advisor focused on multilateral diplomacy to Afghanistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and a member of the Afghanistan Lead Council for Peace that spearheads negotiations with the Taliban in an effort to end the long-term conflict the country has endured. Prior to her current duties, Dr. Dalil served as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva from October 2015 to March 2019. In addition to bi-lateral relations with Switzerland, Dr. Dalil directed Afghanistan’s mission on a number of domains including human rights, migration, economic development, refugees and humanitarian diplomacy. One particularly notable event during her tenure as Permanent Representative was that Afghanistan became a member of the Human Rights Council for the first time in its history.
Throughout her diplomatic career, Dr. Dalil has held leadership roles in a number of governing bodies, namely the Vice-Chair and Chair of the Executive Committee of UNHCR in 2017 and 2018 respectively, and the Presidency of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention in 2018. As the Chair of the Executive Committee, she co-led the multilateral negotiations with Member States and prominent stakeholders to establish the Global Compact on Refugees, a key framework that combines the commitment of all parties on achieving sustainable solutions to refugee situations. Dr. Dalil played a critical part in overseeing the humanitarian operation for the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in May 2018 and advised the Executive Committee of UNHCR on international protection of Rohingyas.
Prior to her position in Geneva, Dr. Dalil was the Minister of Public Health from March 2012 to December 2014 and Acting Minister of Public Health from January 2010 to February 2012. In those capacities, she led complex political and operational efforts to reform health systems throughout the country by ensuring equitable health care with improved quality and access. Among Dr. Dalil’s achievements as Minister of Public Health are a significant reduction in maternal and child mortality, innovative public-private partnership, and result-based financing unprecedented in Afghanistan. Dr. Dalil was the elected representative for developing countries to the Gavi governing board from 2012 to 2014 to steer global and regional commitments on health policy regarding immunization.
A physician by training, Dr. Dalil’s multifaceted background has equipped her with a thorough understanding of international operations. She has worked with UNICEF in Somalia and Afghanistan, following an early career with Medecins Sans Frontiers working with Tajik refugees and later with the International Organization for Migration working to establish and maintain a safe transit program for returnees to Afghanistan.
Dr. Dalil holds a Master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, where she has been a visiting university fellow in recent years.