A native of Afghanistan, Saber AZAM left Kabul at the age of 22 for Switzerland to study at the prestigious “Ecôle Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne” where he obtained a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in the field of advanced nuclear technology.
Following the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in 1979, he turned into an advocate for mobilizing support for the Afghan Resistance, refugees and internally displaced persons while pursuing his academic endeavors. He presided over the “Comité Afghan d’Aide Humanitaire” in Geneva and engaged in discussions with Western capitals on the plight of Afghan people under the Red Army occupation as well as the post-Soviet scenarios. He also promoted the involvement of Swiss public and private sectors in reconstructing war-torn countries.
In 1994, he joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and served in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya before becoming the Deputy Special Envoy of this world body for South East Europe. In 2001, he moved to the United Nations Department for Peace Keeping Operations (DPKO) and assumed senior functions in the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Kosovo. In 2006, he returned to UNHCR and served as Representative of the organization in Côte d’Ivoire, Bangladesh and Rwanda as well as Regional Representative and Coordinator for Central Asia. His assignments have provided him with a deep knowledge of World’s affairs, particularly of Southwest and Central Asia, the Balkans, West and East Africa, the Rohingya situation and the Great Lakes Region of Africa.