FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York

Our Team

FAO Liaison Office in New York (FAO LON) - Team

1 United Nations Plaza, DC1-1125 New York, NY 10017, USA

[email protected]

Tel: +1 (212) 963 6036


Guangzhou QU is the Director of the FAO Liaison Office in New York. He joined the Office in January 2021.

He joined FAO headquarters in 2019 as Special Adviser to the Director-General and was subsequently appointed Deputy Directeur de Cabinet in the Office of the Director-General.

Prior to joining FAO, he served consecutively as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bangladesh and in New Zealand, 2013-2019.

He started his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China, and held increasingly senior positions on Arms Control and Non-Proliferation at home and abroad. He was posted in The Hague, Netherlands, and in Vienna, Austria, then served as Director of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Mr QU holds a Master of Arts in World History from Nankai University, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Anhui Normal University in China. He was also a Visiting Fellow at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, United States.

A Senior Officer with almost 30 years of professional experience in positions of progressively increasing responsibility at national and international levels, including many years in advising FAO Executives (Office of the Director-General and Deputy Director-General). Ms Otto is a German national that has worked as an international civil servant for non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies. She holds a Master’s degree in Soil Sciences and Agro-chemistry from the Timiryasev Academy in Moscow.

Ms Otto started her career in Central Asia where she worked for German Agroaction, and subsequently became the FAO Head of Office in Tajikistan. In October 2004, she moved to the FAO Headquarters in Rome where she managed technical cooperation portfolios for Asia, Europe, and Central Asia and Pacific. From 2006 onwards, she served in positions with increasing seniority, advising two consecutive Directors-General. In October 2013, she was appointed Senior Advisor to the Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, advising on effective leadership, management and coordination (strategic/political) for the technical arm of the organization.

After 14 years of experience in the FAO Headquarters, in 2019 Ms Otto moved to the FAO Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York as a Senior Liaison Officer.

Through her work, she has acquired excellent knowledge in FAO technical fields related to topics like natural resources management in the agriculture sectors (agriculture, fisheries, forestry, biodiversity, genetic resources), sustainable development, climate change, rural development, food and nutrition security, 2030 Agenda, UN Reform, Rome-based Agencies, and Small Island Development States, among others. She feels strongly committed to teamwork, transparency, and the value-for-money concept.

Lucas Tavares is a sustainable development specialist and journalist with over 25 years of experience. He joined FAO in 2007, in Chile, as communications consultant at the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, later transferred to Rome as adviser to former Director-General José Graziano da Silva and currently serves as Senior Liaison Officer at the Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, Lucas organized national FAO communication teams into an informal regional network, partnered with media organizations to showcase FAO’s work, and led the development of a food safety campaign targeting indigenous communities in their own languages.

In Rome, Lucas was the Director-General’s speechwriter, contributed to the implementation of and reporting on FAO’s programme of work and supported high-level engagements with UN and other partners.

At FAO New York, Lucas is part of a small team contributing to positioning food and agriculture in the UN agenda, supporting Member States as they debate and negotiate issues on the global agenda, and working with other members of the UN family to increase coordination and delivery.

Before joining FAO, Lucas worked in public and private print and online media, TV, and radio, as a producer, reporter, editor, live events coordinator, and foreign correspondent.

Lucas has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Policy and Government.

In April 2019 Conor joined the FAO Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York, bringing 20 years of professional experience in managing large humanitarian and development operations, and complex programmes in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for private-for-profit, not-for-profit, NGOs, and civil society organisations.  

Prior to joining the FAO team in New York, Conor worked for FAO in Afghanistan as a Resilience Programme Development Officer, and before that, at FAO Headquarters in Rome where he supported the work of emergency programmes in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Conor’s work in the international NGO sector culminated in his role as  Director of International Programmes for a large INGO, where he managed the work of 18 country offices and the delivery of programmes (circa €200m) in a range of conflict, post-conflict, and fragile states, as well as for more stable environments in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Conor has also spent many years working as a consultant for private sector firms, and has specific experience leading strategy development and advising Senior Management on delivering programmes and expanding businesses in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. During the last 20 years, Conor has been directly responsible for managing over 500 million dollars in contracts from international organisations and governments, including multiple United Nations (UN) agencies.

In New York, Conor leads FAO’s engagement in in the agendas of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, resilience and climate change, including conflict, food crises, refugees, returnees and climate change, specifically as they relate to FAO's mandate. Conor also facilitates the representation of the Global Network against Food Crises with Member States and UN agencies in New York.

Conor has a master’s degree in the Sociology of Globalisation and Development.

Katherine holds over twelve years of experience at the UN in programme development and implementation, and information and knowledge management on matters related to agriculture, forestry, land use and climate change.

She works with the FAO Liaison Office team on issues of climate change, biodiversity, forestry and the environment and in particular the connection to food security, poverty reduction, sustainable production and consumption, and environmental sustainability.

Previously, she worked as a programme specialist for the UN-REDD Programme, which works to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in 65 countries. She has carried out research and analysis, contributed to project formulation, programme coordination, and information and knowledge management.

She has also contributed to the organization of a number of international conferences and events. In 2019 she was part of the facilitation team of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Summit nature-based solutions track. Most recently she has led FAO’s outreach and knowledge management for the XV World Forestry Congress.

She holds an MSc in Managing Rural Development from the Center of Environment, Development and Policy, SOAS, University of London.

In January 2024, Florencia joined the FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York as Communications Officer. She has almost 12 years of experience working in the field of international communications, over 9 of which she spent at FAO in various capacities.  

Florencia has a wealth of experience in communicating on a wide range of topics to technical and non-technical audiences of varying ages and backgrounds. She is well-versed in managing social media accounts and coordinating digital campaigns, curating exhibits, content production in multiple languages, coordinating High-Level events and outreach activities, and producing content for a wide range of platforms in a wide range of formats and multiple languages.  

Prior to joining the Liaison Office in New York, Florencia was part of the Social Media team, managing FAO’s main English-language corporate accounts, as well as major International campaigns and FAO-led observances.  

A Uruguayan national born in Zimbabwe, Florencia holds a Masters of Science in Science Communication from the University of the West of England and a Bachelor of Arts in English and Related Literature from the University of York.  

Doris Ngirwa-Mpesha joined the FAO Liaison Office in New York in 2017 as a focal point for issues related to human rights, humanitarian affairs, indigenous peoples, youth and international migration. Doris started her career at FAO headquarters in Rome. She is a lawyer with past experience in the court and judicial systems of Tanzania and the United States.

Doris closely monitors the Third Committee of the General Assembly on Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues in the context of the UN General Assembly and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Doris’ other areas of focus are Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), UN Reform, United Nations Sustainable Development Group matters, Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, Financing for Development, Gender and Africa Affairs including the Interdepartmental Task Force on African Affairs.

Doris holds a Master’s degree in Public International Law from the University College London, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Concordia University in Wisconsin, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa, and a Project Management Certificate from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. 

In 2023, Ms. Alexa Caesar joined the FAO Liaison Office with the United Nations in New York as a Humanitarian Liaison Specialist. She has over 12 years of FAO experience in emergency and resilience programming and response in various country contexts and capacities. More specifically, Alexa has a wealth of experience from both FAO headquarters and country offices across eastern Africa (South Sudan) and southern Africa (Mozambique) in various aspects of FAO project cycle management – such as reporting, grant writing, donor liaison, programme planning, implementation, emergency preparedness and response. Prior to joining the Liaison Office in New York, Alexa recently transferred her skill set to support FAO’s scale-up in Ukraine. 

In addition, Alexa holds a Masters of Arts in Food Studies: Policies for Sustainable Production and Consumption from the American University of Rome, 

Hailing from Madagascar, Koloina joined the FAO Liaison Office in April 2023 as a Junior Professional Officer. Her primary role is to conduct and facilitate research, technical analysis and information sharing in support of FAO's activities in New York. Passionate about sustainable development, especially in developing countries, she has several years of experience working with various organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa and North America. She primarily focused on project/programme management and communication-related to gender equality and youth empowerment.

She was previously a UN Volunteer in Strategic Planning with UN Women in New York. She holds a first-level degree in Social Sciences and an M.A. in International Studies. 

Selena joined the FAO Liaison Office in New York in October 2023, bringing her background and skills in various communication and outreach roles. Prior to this office, she has worked at the United Nations Department of Global Communications, the private sector, a number of NGOs, and the creative industry. 

A New Zealand born Chinese, Selena has been based in the United States since 2019 and holds a B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Boston University.

Elisa Noetinger joined the FAO Liaison Office in New York in August 2016, as an Assistant to the Director. Prior to joining FAO, she worked as a translator for the Mission of Uruguay to the United Nations in New York, as well as for the Embassies of Peru and Spain in London. A graduate in Translation and Intercultural Communication from Birkbeck College University of London, Elisa comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Panagiotis Mitoglou joined the FAO Liaison Office in New York in June 2015. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the Aegean University in Greece, and a Master’s degree in Political Science and Government from the Long Island University. Prior to joining FAO, Panagiotis worked with various property management businesses in New York City. He has extensive experience in contract administration, budgetary and finance planning, as well as recruitment processes.