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UNICRI Director Antonia Marie De Meo

Farewell Reflections by outgoing UNICRI Director, Antonia Marie De Meo

After nearly 4 years as the Director of UNICRI, the time has come for me to leave this gem of an Institute in the UN System.  The period from 2020 until now has been one of the most unique in my professional career – starting in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and ending as the world faces multifaceted crises and conflicts on a scale never before seen.

As the UN’s research and training institute for criminal justice and crime prevention, UNICRI has proven its relevance to combatting crime and promoting peace and security time and again.  

I’d like to reflect on some of my highlights over these years at UNICRI:

  • Delivering UNICRI’s official oral report to ECOSOC from the podium, alongside sister UN research and training institutes, and watching Chile, as Vice President, bang the gavel as the Council adopted its first institutional resolution on UNICRI in its 55-year history.
  • Launching UNICRI’s Strategic Programme Framework for 2023-2026, plus a complementary Gender Strategy, which define our institutional priorities and cross-cutting themes of gender, youth, and climate change.
  • Meeting with Member States across the globe – from our Host Country Italy to Canada, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Moldova, the United States, the European Union, and many others.  UNICRI appreciates all its donors and partners, and I am grateful for the spirit of partnership as we tackled together challenges of crime, justice, and security. 
  • Leading the UN delegation when UNICRI and its partners repatriated priceless 2000-year-old antiquities to Libya that had been stolen decades before.  What a privilege it was to accompany this cultural heritage home to the Libyan people.
  • Celebrating the 5th anniversary of UNICRI’s innovative Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Centre in The Hague. 
  • Re-opening UNICRI’s historic Liaison Office in Rome after a long period of renovation.  
  • Holding an all-staff retreat after the COVID-19 pandemic to support UNICRI’s dedicated personnel around the world.   
  • And participating in UNICRI Board of Trustees meetings in Turin and Rome with eminent experts from around the world who serve this important governance function. I’d particularly like to thank the two Presidents of the Board for their strong support.

UNICRI’s agility and specialized expertise in addressing crime, justice, and security issues of global importance is needed now more than ever by Member States and the UN System.  It’s been a privilege to serve as Director, and I leave with heartfelt thanks to the Institute and its hard-working, committed personnel.  

Thank you.