Mohammad Naciri

Morocco Kuwait UN Women
Mohammad Naciri
Mohammed Naciri 2018.jpg
Naciri at Wilton Park, November, 2018.
Born (1973-07-31) July 31, 1973 (age 47)
OccupationRegional director for the two regional: Arab states and Asia Pacific for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

Mohammad Naciri (Arabic: محمد الناصري, born 31 July 1973‎, romanizedMḥmd ālnāṣry) is the director for the Arab States and Asia Pacific regions for the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).[1] He is the first man to hold the post of regional director within UN Women and the only one thus far. A senior United Nations official, Naciri has served with the UN for more than two decades. Prior to his current appointment, he served as deputy regional director, Arab States, UN Women. He belongs to the Naciri family, a long-standing family in Morocco. Naciri has been engaged in addressing cultural and religious norms from a gendered perspective, creating space for partnerships with religious institutions such as Rabita Mohammedia des Oulémas He has spearheaded work on engaging men and boys as agents of change in the region, including through issuing a report on masculinities – the first of its kind in the Arab World.[2][3] Naciri is a supporter of the arts. He has been supporting young and up and coming artists from the Arab world.

Early life


Naciri was born in Rabat to a Moroccan father and an Egyptian mother. The Naciri family is a long-standing family in Morocco, whose members have held various positions in government, academia and the judiciary. The Naciri family is notably a large and ancient family of Saharan origin, present everywhere in Morocco. They are affiliated with their ancestor Mohamed Ben Nacer (hence their name) founder of the seventeenth century Sufi following bearing their name to Tamegroute and disciple of Abu Hafs Omar Bin Ahmed Al Ansari who instructed him to inculcate the principles of Tariqa Chadhiliyya.[4][5]

Notably, Naciri is the grand-nephew of Mohamed El Mekki Naciri, the former Moroccan ambassador to Libya, minister for religious endowments and the owner and chief editor of Al Alam newspaper, former head of Arrabita Al Mohammadia.[6][7][8][9][10][11][12] He is the nephew of Khalid Naciri, the former minister of communication and the spokesperson of the Moroccan government.[13][14][15] Naciri is also the first cousin of Salaheddine Mezouar, the former foreign minister of Morocco.[16]

His maternal grandfather is Mohamed Ayoub, a senior member of the Egyptian government, a governor of the Eastern governorate from 1970 to 1975, and a founding member of the new delegation party in 1978.[17]

Naciri's parents were travelling when growing up, he received his primary education in different countries, graduating from high school in the United Arab Emirates.


Naciri has a master's degree in public policy and international development from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (United States) in 1997-1999. He has a second master's degree in social anthropology from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) in 1999-2000 where he was a Chevening scholar, and a third masters degree in business administration from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport in Alexandria (Egypt) from 1995-1997.


Naciri began his career as an intern with UNICEF, and has since then stayed in the world of development and human rights.

UN Women

Naciri is an outspoken supporter of women's rights in the region, and the engagement of women in peace processes in particular.[18] Under his leadership, the regional office supported the convening of 45 Yemeni women from different factions to call for an engendered peace process, in his remarks to the meeting, Naciri said, "Yemeni women have an opportunity to contribute in building peace, revitalizing dialogue, and helping Yemen get out from this dark tunnel. We are counting on Yemeni women’s wisdom to create a model that people will follow."[19]

Having been appointed immediately after the Arab spring, much of Naciri's work on gender equality in the region focused on participation and leadership.[20] "We need to look on how can we sustain this participation," Naciri said. "With women, with men, with the country at large, and the government, how can we prove that women's participation is of interest and benefit to the whole society."[21]

Under his leadership, UN Women and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) launched regional research on the costing of violence.[22] He has spearheaded work on engaging men and boys as agents of change in the region, including through issuing a report on masculinities – the first of its kind in the Arab World.[2][3]

Naciri has worked on expanding both the scope and partnerships of the regional office. A new concept note for a partnership initiative between Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), U.N. Women and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on Women and ICTs is already under discussion and, according to Naciri, new expertise in this area will definitely be in demand in the future.[23]

Naciri has successfully established several partnerships with bilateral development partners, including the EU MADAD trust fund for Syria response,[24] Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA),[25] Finland, Japan and the government of Norway to mention a few.

Naciri has been engaged in addressing cultural and religious norms from a gendered perspective, creating space for partnerships with religious institutions such as Rabita Mohammedia des Oulémas. UN Women under his leadership successfully advocated for the abolishment of laws that gave clemency to rapists if they married their victims in Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.[26][27][28]

Dubai Lynx 2015

In 2015 UN Women partnered with Dubai Lynx, the largest regional advertising festival to highlight violence against women, and encouraged young creatives to come up with a video brief on the issue.[29][30][31] The regional office shed light on gender taboos through a mother's day campaign which went viral both in the region and beyond. The campaign, highlighting the shame associated with saying one's mother's name, resulted in thousands posting on social media in honor of their mothers.[32]

UNDP Yemen

From 2009 to 2012, Naciri was the deputy country director of the United Nations Development Programme in Yemen.[33] During this time he managed a comprehensive development portfolio including good governance, poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in line with UNDP strategic priorities and the Yemen development framework.

UNDP Kuwait

He was the acting UNDP Kuwait resident representative in 2008-2009, working on, among other things, women's empowerment and witnessing the election of female parliamentarians[34][35] for the first time in the country's history.[36] He worked on the transparency index, and updating the fiscal policy of the Central Bank of Kuwait. He further worked with Kuwait on the aftermath of the environmental damages caused by the Iraq war through the burning of oil fields.

International Organization for Migration

Naciri first served with the International Organization For Migration (IOM) as a UN Junior Professional Officer Programme in Cambodia. Here he lobbied for recognition of the human trafficking atrocities taking place in the country, including supporting a public hearing in the US congress in 2003 for the US state department trafficking in persons report.[37] Naciri raised US$10 million for IOMs work on trafficking from the US government as a result of this. Following his time in Cambodia, Naciri was appointed as chief of mission for IOM in Kuwait and tasked with establishing IOMs mission in country. During this time he worked closely with Kuwaiti authorities to include domestic workers under the labor code. Naciri was also in charge of IOMs Southern Iraq response from Kuwait. He was also the deputy director for the out of country voting for Iraq during the 2005 elections. In 2006, during the Lebanon war, Naciri was seconded to be the IOM emergency coordinator.

Personal Endeavors

  1. Naciri is a supporter of the arts. In 2008, he was cited by Canvas Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3 in May–June 2008 as one of the youngest patrons of Middle Eastern art.[38][39] He has been supporting young and up and coming artists from the Arab world. He was also featured in the Financial Times profile of his personal art collection and how it relates to his women's rights activism.[40]
  2. In 2001, he was featured with an article in Katya Traboulsi's book "Des Autres/Of Others" in which he wrote about the relationship between art and people.[41]
  3. In April 2018, Naciri gave a TED X talk on being a Male, Muslim, Arab Feminist at Sciences PO Menton campus.[42][43] In May 2018, Naciri spoke at Oxford University on women's empowerment in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
  4. In 2016, Naciri spearheaded the IIFMENA conference, including closing remarks and the launching of the Sharjah declaration.[44][45][46]
  5. In 2017, Naciri and UN Women in partnership with Promundo launched the first regional research on masculinities.[47]
  6. In November 2015, Naciri and six other high-profile personalities performed an internationally acclaimed documentary play, SEVEN, for the first time in Cairo.[48][49][50]
  7. Naciri is an international jury member of the Global award of Women's Empowerment, to be awarded in March 2019.[51]
  8. In June 2018, he was a speaker at POLITICO.[52][53]
  9. In October 2018, he was on the board of Arab Woman Awards 2018, Kuwait.[54][55][56][57]
  10. In November 2018, he was the Columbia European Society and GEG Columbia guest lecturer on EU Involvement in Arab Female Empowerment.[58]
  11. Naciri was a member of the Blues rowing team while at Oxford and is a black belt Shotokan Karate practitioner. He was a member of the Rotaract from 1992 to 1999. From 1993 to 1997 he was a member of AIESEC.


Naciri has been featured in several publications, notably around women's rights.


  1. ^ "We Must Involve Women in Bringing Peace to the Arab Region.", 09/06/2016 (Updated 09 June 2016)
  2. ^ a b "Men and Gender Equality in the Middle East and North Africa". Understanding Masculinities. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  3. ^ a b Britton, Bianca. "Do Arab men support gender equality?". CNN. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  4. ^ "Bibliothèque nationale du Royaume du Maroc (BNRM)". doi:10.1163/_afco_asc_1532. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ SPAULDING, J. (2005). HISTORICAL EXPLORATION OF ISLAMIC SCHOLARSHIP AND EDUCATION The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa. Edited by SCOTT S. REESE. Leiden: Brill, 2004. Pp. xiv 307. €95/$136 (ISBN 90-04-13779-3). The Journal of African History, 46(3), 510-511. doi:10.1017/S002185370523133X
  6. ^ "MAROC CELEBRITES". Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  7. ^ "Mohamed El-Mekki Naciri; Biographie; Veröffentlichungen; Trials; Veröffentlicht Forschungs; Werke ins Arabische übersetzt". (in German). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  8. ^ MATIN, LE. "Le Matin - Les qualités intellectuelles de feu Mekki Naciri, mises en relief". Le Matin (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  9. ^ "Rabita Mohammedia des Oulémas (Mohammadia League of Scholars) | Conseil National des Droits de l'Homme". (in Aragonese). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  10. ^ Hamouda. "Rabita Mohamadia des Oulémas" (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  11. ^ Soft, Visual. "الرابطة المحمدية للعلماء". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  12. ^ "La Rabita Mohammedia des oulémas lance un site pour lutter contre l'extrémisme". (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  13. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Morocco government plays down call for protests". U.S. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  14. ^ The Report: Morocco 2011. Oxford Business Group. 2010. ISBN 9781907065309.
  15. ^ "Nous ne sommes pas à la veille d'une impasse constitutionnelle". Maghress. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  16. ^, CRD -. "Membres du CRD / Salah Eddine MEZOUAR". Archived from the original on 2000-10-02. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  17. ^ "Wafd Party members choose their new leader on Friday - Egypt Today". Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  18. ^ Kanso, Heba. "Violence against women hurts Arab economies, U.N. says". U.S. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  19. ^ "Yemeni women call for their inclusion in peace efforts." - 27 October 2015
  20. ^ "Muslim women reshape their destiny with newfound freedom." - Deseret News - Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
  21. ^ "Womenin Iraq Syria Conflict." CNN.
  22. ^ "UN Women and ESCWA launch project to estimate the cost of violence against women in the Arab Region". ReliefWeb. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  23. ^ "Full speed ahead: 5 ways to optimize women’s economic potential." -19 June 2015
  24. ^ "European Union - UN Women partnership bolsters efforts in response to Syrian crisis". UN Women | Arab States/North Africa. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  25. ^ "Men and Women for Gender Equality". UN Women | Arab States/North Africa. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  26. ^ "Historic day for women in Lebanon as Parliament repeals rape law". UN Women. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  27. ^ Women, U. N. (2017-08-30). "Historic Day For Women In Lebanon As Parliament Repeals Rape Law". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  28. ^ "Lebanon abolishes rape marriage loophole". BBC News. 2017-08-16. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  29. ^ "The ‘7-Day Brief’ Competition rallies creatives in MENA in support of UN Women." - UNWomen - 11 March 2015
  30. ^ "Dubai Lynx and YouTube Team with UN Women for 7-Day Brief Competition." Archived 2016-09-11 at the Wayback Machine - - 14 Jan 2015
  31. ^ "Saudi duo addresses domestic violence in 7-Day Brief for UN Women." - March 18, 2015
  32. ^ "Dubai Lynx 7 Day Brief 2015: UN Women" YouTube -Jan 20, 2015
  33. ^ "UNDP Administrator signed two important projects reaffirming UNDP's support to the Yemen's development." - -Published on 23 Jan 2011
  34. ^ "Elected women sworn in for first time in Kuwaiti parliamentary history." -May 31, 2009
  35. ^ "Kuwait Women MP's, Moment of Great Promise UNDP" -31st of May, 2009
  36. ^ "Elected women sworn in for first time in Kuwaiti parliamentary history". UNDP. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  37. ^ "Subcommittee Hearing: The State Department 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report - Committee on Foreign Affairs". Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  38. ^, Avadh IT Solutions. "Canvas Magazine". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  39. ^ "Paradoxia' Stories: Mohamed Naciri".
  40. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  41. ^ results, search (2011-09-28). Des Autres, Of others (in French). Tamyras Editions. ISBN 9782360860173.
  42. ^ TEDx Talks (2018-05-24), I am a man, I am a Muslim and yes, I am a feminist | Mohammad Naciri | TEDxSciencesPoCampusMenton, retrieved 2018-06-09
  43. ^ "TEDxSciencesPoCampusMenton | TED". Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  44. ^ "IIFMENA Website". (in Arabic). Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  45. ^ "Sawiris Foundation for Social Development › SFSD Participates in "Investing in The Future" Conference, Sharjah, UAE". Sawiris Foundation for Social Development. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  46. ^ "UN Women Adopts 'Sharjah Declaration' for the Rights and Empowerment of Women and Girls". Sharja24. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  47. ^ "Unveiling Key Findings From the International Men and Gender Equality Survey in the Middle East and North Africa – Promundo". Promundo. 2017-04-27. Archived from the original on 2019-02-15. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  48. ^ "Seven on Tour." - VoicesProjects
  49. ^ 19 سبعة فى القاهرة / SEVEN on Tour in Cairo Event's page - Facebook
  50. ^ "The Story of SEVEN." -
  51. ^ Scw Bahrain (2018-05-04), تشكيل لجنة تحكيم جائزة الأميرة سبيكة العالمية لتمكين المرأة, retrieved 2018-06-09
  52. ^ "Mohammad Naciri - Women Rule Summit". Women Rule Summit. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  53. ^ "POLITICO London Playbook: Brussels says no — Italy burns markets — Where's Melania?". POLITICO. 2018-05-30. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  54. ^ "Arab Woman Awards Kuwait 2018 nominations open - Kuwait Times". Kuwait Times. 2018-08-29. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  55. ^ "Arab Woman Awards Kuwait 2018 winners announced - Kuwait Times". Kuwait Times. 2018-10-21. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  56. ^ "Arab Woman Awards Kuwait 2018 winners announced". Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  57. ^ "Women Research and Studies Center". UN Women | Arab States/North Africa. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  58. ^ Society, Columbia European. "Mohammad Naciri: EU Involvement in Arab Female Empowerment - 7 November 2018". Evensi. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  59. ^ "Gulf A airs: What is the mission of UN WOMEN Arab States? Does the organization work di- rectly with Gulf countries? If so, in what ways?" (PDF). Gulf Affairs.
  60. ^ "Activist Reham Al-Bader's death in Yemen shows the dangers women face providing lifelines in conflict". openDemocracy. 2018-02-18. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  61. ^ "UfM interviews Mohammad Naciri - Union for the Mediterranean - UfM". Union for the Mediterranean - UfM. Retrieved 2018-06-09.