Ms. Piffanelli brings more than 20 years of experience with the United Nations, academia and the private sector. Before joining the UN Information Center in Washington, she was part of the team investigating those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Previously, she managed the work of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in Sierra Leone, both out of New York and Freetown. She served as the Special Assistant to the UN Deputy Secretary-General and in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General under Secretaries-General Ban Ki-Moon and Kofi Annan. She also held positions in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs in the areas of development and gender equality. Earlier in her career, Ms. Piffanelli served as a consultant for the UNDP Bureau for Eastern Europe and Central Asia and for UNDP Lebanon. Prior to her work with international organizations, she worked as a junior fund manager in Italy. She holds a PhD in Economics from New York University and a graduate degree in Economics from the University of Bologna, Italy. She speaks English, Italian and French and has some knowledge of Spanish. She is an Italian citizen.
Mr. Spangler joined the UN Information Center on a temporary basis from the United Nations Foundation, where he serves as Director of Advocacy and Humanitarian Affairs. In addition to his outreach work in Washington, he has significant field experience, organizing and leading fact-finding missions to observe UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in Haiti, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Mali, Niger, and Lebanon. Mr. Spangler graduated magna cum laude from Johns Hopkins University with an M.A. in government, received an honors B.A. in political science and philosophy from Roosevelt University, and studied Mandarin Chinese at National Taiwan University.
Public Information Officer
Ms. DeYoung joined the UN Information Center in Washington after serving as a Congressional staff member on Senate committees and for two Members of the House of Representatives. She was a reporter in Michigan following graduation with a B.S. degree from the University of Oregon.
Congressional /Senior Liaison Assistant
Ms. Smyth serves as the UN Information Center in Washington’s point of contact for congressional offices, helping to inform staff about the UN’s work and monitoring Congressional work on UN-related issues. She handles protocol matters for the office as part of the team that helps to develop schedules for senior United Nations officials in Washington for meetings with U.S. government officials, Congressional offices, and representatives of civil society. She also coordinates information sharing among other UN organizations in Washington. She joined the UN Information Center after an internship and is a graduate of New England College with a B.A. in International Relations.
Maha Yaktin Quol
Senior Administrative Assistant
Ms. Yaktin handles finance and government liaison work at the UN Information Center in Washington . She is part of the team assisting visiting UN officials, working with U.S. government counterparts, international finance institutions and civil society. She joined the office after working at the World Bank Group as a gender specialist with expertise in women economic empowerment, where she supported complex facilities for the Mashreq region, including Lebanon and Iraq, to enact structural change for increasing female labor participation, and remains active in advocating gender equality and the empowerment of women. Previously, she worked at UN ESCWA in Beirut and held senior positions at Citibank N.A., HSBC. Bank P.LC. and Riggs Bank N.A. in the Mid-Atlantic area. She holds an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from the Lebanese American University and is a certified ILO Participatory Gender Auditor.
Mr. Somerville is on temporary detail from the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University, where he produces reports on emerging diplomatic issues and works on communications initiatives, including producing its podcast, Diplomatic Immunity. At the UN Information Center in Washington, he handles a range of communications work and leads on academic outreach initiatives to U.S. universities. Mr. Somerville holds an M.A. in German and European Studies with a focus on multilateral and public diplomacy from Georgetown University, and is a graduate of Oxford University and University College London. He is a member of the Public Diplomacy Council and a participant in the Council on Foreign Relations Young Professionals program.