Leadership Profiles

Access short bios and downloadable portrait photos of the UNU-EHS director and academic section heads.

  • Jakob RhynerProf. Dr. Jakob Rhyner Prof. Dr. Jakob Rhyner is the Vice-Rector for United Nations University in Europe and the Director of the United Nations Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS). As the only Vice-Rector outside of the UNU headquarters in Japan, Prof. Rhyner supports the worldwide institutional development of UNU, particularly in Europe and Africa. In his role as the Director of UNU-EHS, Prof. Rhyner provides the strategic direction for all research and educational activities of the institute which is focused on risks and adaptation related to environmental hazards and global change. Prof. Rhyner is a professor at the Agricultural Faculty of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn and he holds PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich.A national of Switzerland, Prof. Rhyner speaks fluent English, German, French and advanced Swedish and Norwegian.Full Profile of Prof. Dr. Jakob RhynerDownload profile picture
  • Matthias GarschagenDr. Matthias Garschagen Dr. Matthias Garschagen is a Senior Scientist at the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), where he leads the Vulnerability Assessment, Risk Management and Adaptive Planning Section. He is an international expert on urban vulnerability, social resilience and climate change adaptation, particularly in Asia and earned his PhD in Geography from the University of Cologne. Dr. Garschagen has a leading role in multiple international research projects and has served as a contributing author to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Dr. Garschagen holds multiple teaching appointments, including at the University of Cologne and the University of Maastricht and also supervises several PhD students at UNU-EHS. He has over eight years of experience in research and has conducted numerous field research projects, for example, in Vietnam, India and Indonesia. A national of Germany, Dr. Garschagen is also fluent in English.Full profile of Dr. Matthias GarschagenDownload profile picture
  • Zita SebesvariDr. Zita Sebesvari Dr. Zita Sebesvari is a Senior Scientist at United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), where she leads the Environmental Vulnerability and Ecosystem Services (EVES) Section. She is an internationally renowned expert on climate change adaptation, specializing in ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and adaptation, as well as soil and water degradation in the context of disaster risk reduction. Dr. Sebesvari holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg, Germany, as well as an MSc. in Environmental Sciences from University of Essen, Germany. In addition to leading multiple high profile research projects, Dr. Sebesvari also teaches and supervises MSc. students, as well as PhD. scholars. Dr. Sebesvari serves as a lead author for the IPCC Special Report on Ocean and the Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, and engages in various networks related to disaster risk reduction and ecosystem-based adaptation such as the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR) and Friends of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (FEBA). A national of Hungary, Dr. Sebesvari is also fluent in English and German.Full profile of Dr. Zita SebesvariDownload profile picture