In July 2019, Urmila Sarkar joined the Generation Unlimited Global Team as their Senior Adviser to manage Programmes and responsible for Country Support, Youth Engagement, and Knowledge Management. She has 23 years of international experience in youth learning, skills, employability, and engagement. From 2014 – 2019, Urmila was the Regional Chief of Education for UNICEF South Asia with oversight over an approximately US$ 100 million portfolio annually and technical support to 130 professional staff. From 2009 – 2014, she was the Education Chief for UNICEF India where she led and mobilized resources for one of the organization’s largest field operations in the sector.
Before joining UNICEF, Urmila began her UN career with the ILO at its headquarters in 2000 and managed their global child labour and education programme from Geneva. She then transferred to ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok in 2004 to lead their portfolio on youth skills and employment. She has authored several publications and tools in the field.
Urmila’s passion to promote greater civic engagement began in her home country, Canada, where she founded “Youth Week”, a national and then international programme to celebrate and promote youth volunteerism in social and environmental issues. She also played a key role in organizing the Global March Against Child Labour, led by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, which mobilized millions until its culmination at the ILO Geneva where the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour was drafted in June 1998.
Urmila received her Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University where she designed and taught one of the first university-level courses offered in the US on child labour and education. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts (High Distinction) with the highest GPA in International Relations and was elected for two terms as the Arts and Science Students’ Union President.