UN migration agency elects American as 1st woman director

May 15, 2023, 2:44 AM | Updated: 8:02 am

FILE - Antonio Vitorino, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, speaks t...

FILE - Antonio Vitorino, Director General of the International Organisation for Migration, speaks to The Associated Press in Nairobi, Kenya, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023. International Organization for Migration chief Antonio Vitorino of Portugal faces what is poised to be a tight race against his Biden administration-backed American deputy, Amy Pope, as the Geneva-based organization chooses a new director-general on Monday, May 15, 2023. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi, File)

(AP Photo/Khalil Senosi, File)

GENEVA (AP) — Member countries of the U.N. migration agency on Monday elected Amy Pope of the United States as its next director general.

Pope elbowed aside her boss, Antonio Vitorino of Portugal, to get the job of International Organization for Migration director general and will become the first woman to head the Geneva-based agency that was founded in 1951.

Pope currently serves as Vitorino’s deputy and ran against him for the job. She will start her five-year term on Oct. 1, the IOM said in a statement.

The face-off was unusual in that Pope was looking to unseat her boss in a contest between allies: The United States and Portugal are fellow NATO members.

The U.S. government, which strongly supported Pope’s candidacy, welcomed the news.

“Ms. Pope’s election reflects a broad endorsement by member states of her vision to keep people at the heart of IOM’s mission, while implementing key governance and budget reforms to ensure IOM is prepared to meet the challenges it faces,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Eight of the 10 IOM directors general since the agency was founded 72 years ago have been American.

Vitorino, a former Portuguese government minister, swept into the job in 2018 after IOM member countries rebuffed a candidate put up by the Trump administration, which pulled the U.S. out of the U.N.’s main human rights body, shunned globalism and espoused an “America First” policy that rankled many.

IOM has nearly 19,000 staff members in 171 countries who provide migrants with food, water, shelter and paperwork help, and responds to mass migration crises in places as diverse as the U.S.-Mexico border, the central Mediterranean, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Sudan.


The Butler Farm Show, site of a campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate former Preside...

Associated Press

Gunman in Trump rally attack flew drone over rally site in advance of event, official says

WASHINGTON (AP) — The gunman in the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump is believed to have flown a drone around the Pennsylvania rally site ahead of time in an apparent attempt to scope out the site before the event, a law enforcement official said Saturday. The drone has been recovered by the FBI, […]

4 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump and Melania Trump during the final ...

Associated Press

Trump campaign releases letter on his injury, treatment after last week’s assassination attempt

NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump’s campaign released an update on the former president’s health Saturday, one week after he survived an attempted assassination at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. The memo, from Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, who served as Trump’s White House physician, offers new details on the nature of the GOP nominee’s injuries […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

2024 Election Latest: Growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers call for Biden to drop reelection bid

A rapidly growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers called Friday for President Joe Biden to drop his reelection bid, even as the president insisted he’s read y to return to the campaign trail next week to counter what he called a “dark vision” laid out by Republican Donald Trump. As more Democratic members of Congress urged […]

12 hours ago

An abandoned piano is seen inside of an abandoned apartment in the war-torn UN buffer zone in divid...

Associated Press

AP PHOTOS: Remnants of lives interrupted by war half a century ago captured in Cyprus’ buffer zone

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — A rickety piano leans crookedly against a peeling apartment wall, pots and pans filled with dust rest on a stove that has seen much better days and a book, its pages turning yellow with time, lies open next to a rusty tin can; signs of homes, once teeming with life, but […]

12 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is covered by U.S. Secret Se...

Associated Press

This is how Secret Service protection has changed for presidents over the years

WASHINGTON (AP) — During Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, anyone could come to the White House and see him. Come they did: mothers looking to have their sons released from military service, wives urging that their husbands be freed from prison after resisting the draft, others who simply wanted to meet the president. “Some only wanted comfort […]

14 hours ago

FILE - Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchora...

Associated Press

Alaska election officials to recalculate signatures for ranked vote repeal measure after court order

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A state court judge on Friday disqualified numerous booklets used to gather signatures for an initiative that aims to repeal Alaska’s ranked choice voting system and gave elections officials a deadline to determine if the measure still had sufficient signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The decision by Superior Court […]

19 hours ago

UN migration agency elects American as 1st woman director