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UNICRI Acting Director, Leif Villadsen



Leif Villadsen




Mr. Villadsen, a national from Denmark, is the Acting Director of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). Mr. Villadsen has over 20 years of international experience with the United Nations across regions – including the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe – managing and leading criminal justice, drug control, crime prevention and counter-terrorism programmes.

His expertise includes strengthening international judicial, security and law enforcement cooperation, counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism, countering organized crime and fighting illegal trafficking, and drug control.

Mr. Villadsen also acts as UNICRI Deputy Director. In this role, he provides overall leadership and strategic planning, management and implementation of UNICRI’s programmes, operations and research. His responsibilities span criminal justice, crime prevention, counter-terrorism, human rights promotion, and socio-economic development. 

Managing and supervising teams of senior managers and experts at UNICRI Headquarters and in its network of programme and liaison offices and in support of UNICRI’s Strategic Programme Framework, Mr. Villadsen is leading the formulation and development of strategic programme objectives to identify new and emerging priorities related to crime, justice and terrorism, including how to promote responsible use of new and emerging technologies to address crime and exploitation.

Focusing on challenges related to the nexus between transnational organized crime and terrorism, Mr. Villadsen also teaches students in the Master in Laws (LL.M.) in Transnational Crime and Justice organized by UNICRI and UPEACE.

Mr. Villadsen is married with two children.