Regional Director for MENA

The Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) oversees all IFRC assistance and advice to National Societies in the MENA region, ensuring effective disaster and crisis risk management and encouraging regional cooperation between members.

Hossam Elsharkawi

  • IFRC MENA Regional Office
    Beirut, Hazmiyeh
    Mount Lebanon Governorate, Lebanon

Dr. Hossam Elsharkawi has more than 30 years’ experience in the humanitarian sector. His career has included assignments in more than 35 countries, comprising volunteer and professional roles across the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Dr. Elsharkawi leads the efforts of the IFRC in the Middle East and North Africa—a region comprising 17 countries with a total population of more than 500 million people. Crises include protracted wars, natural disasters, malaria, cholera, dengue, and COVID-19. He and his team focus on strengthening local health preparedness and response, water, sanitation and hygiene, volunteer mobilization, emergency medical services, psychosocial support, food and non-food aid, and targeted assistance to refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people. 

Dr. Elsharkawi always seeks to reach people and communities in ‘last mile’ settings and forgotten disasters where access is challenging due to physical challenges, insecurity, stigma and marginalization. As resources are always limited, he prioritizes assistance to the most vulnerable: women, children, sick/wounded, disabled, detainees, and the elderly. 

Dr. Elsharkawi was formerly Vice President of Health in Emergencies, Learning and Innovation at the Canadian Red Cross, where he led the preparedness and response for complex humanitarian emergencies. He has also previously worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) to develop guidance for medical teams responding to health emergencies in armed conflict and insecure environments.

Dr. Elsharkawi received his PhD in Health Management/Public Health from City, University of London. He received a Certificate in Health/Health Care Administration/Management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and his Bachelor of Science from the University of Alberta.

Alongside his role at the IFRC, he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia and guest faculty at McGill where he teaches disaster response and health care in complex humanitarian crises.