Image of Yvette Stevens next to a wall

Ambassador Yvette Stevens will showcase the contribution of black people to modern science and technology over the ages. This would not only be restricted to well-known names in science and technology, but contributions of indigenous African knowledge and techniques to modern day science.

Ambassador Stevens has had a broad and long experience in the United Nations System.  An Electrical Engineer by training, Ambassador Stevens studied at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute and at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. She qualified as her country’s first female engineer in 1974. She taught Engineering at the University of Sierra Leone for six years, before joining the United Nations in 1980, as a Technology Expert in ILO.

At UNHCR, she served as Evaluation Officer as well as Chief of the Technical Support Section of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, both of which involved thorough analyses of refugee situations in about 30 countries, all over the world. She also served UNHCR in Africa, first as Deputy Liaison Representative in Ethiopia (1995 to 1997) and as the UNHCR Representative to Kenya and Somalia (1997 to 1999). In the latter capacity, she acted as the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia on a number of occasions.

From 1999 to 2004, she worked as Director at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa. Before retirement, she was the United Nations Assistant Emergency Relief Coordinator and Director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva from 2004 to 2006.  After retirement from the UN, between 2006 and 2009, Ambassador Stevens worked as a freelance consultant on humanitarian issues as well as on disaster risk reduction in Africa. She worked as an Energy Policy Adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone from 2009 to 2012, before being appointed as Permanent Representative in Geneva.

As Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, between 2012 and 2018, Ambassador Stevens was active, inter alia, on human rights issues, (including Child Early and Forced Marriage, Persons Living with Albinism and Women’s Rights); trade (Women and Trade, Trade Assistance to Least Developing Countries); disarmament (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems). She was a Geneva Gender Champion.

Yvette Stevens is currently an Executive in Residence at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, where she pulls from her wide experience to contribute to discussions on security issues worldwide.

She was awarded the Imperial College 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award.

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