Marina Catena

Marina graduated from UWC of the Adriatic in 1987. She is Director of the United Nations World Food Programme in Paris, in charge of the relations with the French Presidency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Defence, media and civil society. In June 2009 she was called by Minister Guido Bertolaso, Head of the Italian Civil Protection to join the G8 Summit 2009 Structure for the organization of the summit in L’Aquila. She is in charge of the relations with the Abruzzo Region.

After graduating from Adriatic UWC Marina studied at the University of Rome where she obtained a degree in International Law. In 1989 she was among the first students selected for the Erasmus Exchange Programme and studied in Strasbourg.

After a year working as an air stewardess she spent seven years with the European Commission in Brussels, working in various fields including Food Security and Humanitarian Aid. As Public Affairs officer of ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office) she managed the conception and implementation of several advocacy campaigns for EU Commissioner for Humanitarian affairs Ms. Emma Bonino, including the 1997 global advocacy campaign “A Flower for the Women of Kabul” promoting women’s empowerment in Afghanistan.

In 1999, Marina joined the UN World Food Programme as Liaison officer for relations with NGOs and civil society.

She was then seconded to the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) for two years as special advisor to Dr. Bernard Kouchner, then Special Representative of the Secretary General.

In 2001 she returned to the UN WFP where she worked as the inter-agency affairs officer, responsible for coordination between WFP and UN agencies, and then as Private Sector Donor Relations Manager. She also worked in Baghdad as special advisor to the Italian Prime Minister Envoy to Iraq on projects devoted to education and women’s empowerment, where she organised the first media training course for Iraqi journalists.

In 2005 Marina was appointed Lieutenant of the Italian Army. In this capacity she was appointed political advisor to UNIFIL Italian Contingent Commander in Lebanon where she worked for the establishment of the ‘Delta Force’, the first female-only military asset to enhance the dialogue with the female Lebanese population.

Marina is a prominent lecturer at various universities on the role of women in humanitarian aid; gender and peace-keeping; civil-military coordination and the post-conflict process in Kosovo, Iraq and Lebanon. She has also published two books and several essays. Her first book ‘Il Treno di Kosovo Polje’ is based on her experience working in Kosovo and her latest ‘Una donna per soldato’ based on her experience working in Lebanon.

Marina has received numerous awards for her work.

• 2003 - Il Paese delle Donne award for her book Il Treno di Kosovo Polje.
• 2004 - Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow Award for engagement in favour of Iraqi minorities.
• 2004 - San Tommaso tra le Genti Award (2004) for engagement in humanitarian aid.
• 2007 - UNUCI Literary Award for Armed Forces on a short story on heroism and peace-keepers.
• 2008 - ‘Foemina D’ Oro” Award’ for engagement for peace in Lebanon

Marina Catena
UWC of the Adriatic
Inter Agency Affairs Officer, UN World Food Programme (WFP)