UNAMA's senior leadership team consists of Deborah Lyons and Ingrid Hayden.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Deborah Lyons

Deborah Lyons was appointed as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of UNAMA in March 2020 and took up responsibilities in April 2020.

Ms. Lyons succeeded Tadamichi Yamamoto of Japan, who served in that role since 2016. 

Ms. Lyons is a diplomat with 21 years of professional experience in political affairs, international cooperation and economic development. Most recently she served as Ambassador of Canada to Israel and from 2013 until 2016 as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. 

She has held several senior positions with Canada’s Department of Global Affairs, including as Deputy Ambassador at the Embassy of Canada in Washington, Assistant Deputy Minister for Strategic Policy and Planning and Chief Strategist, and directorships covering commercial relations, international finance and technology. She has also worked with Canada’s Department of Natural Resources and Privy Council Office. Prior to joining the Government of Canada, Ms. Lyons owned and managed an environmental consulting firm. 

Ms. Lyons holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and completed studies at the Canadian National Defence College. 


Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political)

Ingrid Hayden

Ingrid Hayden was appointed as the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan in September 2018.

Before taking up her current appointment, Ms. Hayden had been Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Political) in Kabul since January 2018. Before that she was based in New York with the Department of Political Affairs as Head of the Afghanistan Desk since 2014, a position she also held from 2003 to 2007.

Ms. Hayden has extensive experience working in the United Nations in the areas of peace and security, as well as management, with assignments including Afghanistan, Abyei, Chad, Central African Republic, the Sudan, South Sudan and Timor Leste. With more than 25 years of experience in the Organisation, she has held senior positions in the departments of Peacekeeping Operations and Political Affairs, as well as the Executive Office of the Secretary-General. She started her career in the United Nations in the Department of Management. She has undertaken field assignments in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chad, Timor Leste and Darfur.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Hayden served with News Corporation, Price Waterhouse and Coopers Lybranth. A citizen of Australia, she graduated from the University of Queensland and is a Member of the Chartered Accountants Association.