Joëlle Tanguy

UN Women, Head of Strategic Partnerships

Joelle Tanguy is a champion of women’s rights and a humanitarian professional and advocate. Currently UN WOMEN’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, Joelle served as Executive Director of Doctors Without Borders; and Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Diplomacy at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Federation.

Joelle received her MBA from France’s HEC MBA in a joint program with Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and worked in the 80’s with technology ventures in California, Europe and Japan, before volunteering on humanitarian frontlines. She led field humanitarian missions worldwide, often at the height of political and military turmoil, for Doctors Without Borders, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.

Joelle also engaged extensively in global health initiatives, as founding Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the TB Alliance; Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS and focal point for the private sector on the board of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria; and as Managing Director at GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Joelle is also a Fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy where she was previously an Executive in Residence. She has published essays on humanitarian affairs and global health and  lectured in various academic settings, including for several years at the Bard College Globalization and  International Affairs programs in New York City.


In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The main roles of UN Women are:
  • To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
  • To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
  • To lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.