The Middle East Institute is honored to host the Hon. Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, for a discussion about the status and plight of Palestinian refugees. Since its creation in 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been at the forefront providing essential humanitarian and human development services to the now approximately 5 million registered Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. The challenges to the Agency and its beneficiaries are many-from continuing to operate in some of the most dangerous parts of Syria, to providing care and protection to now 2nd and 3rd time Palestinian refugees from Syria seeking safety and shelter in Lebanon and Jordan, to addressing the aftermath of the recent war in Gaza. UNRWA Commissioner-General Grandi will offer an update on the rising tensions in the region, the international community's response and new dangers that lie ahead from the perspective of the refugees. Biography Filippo Grandi was appointed Commissioner-General of UNRWA on January 20, 2010 having previously served as Deputy Commissioner-General since October 2005. Prior to joining UNRWA, he distinguished himself in a variety of headquarters and field functions around the globe for the United Nations encompassing refugee assistance, protection, emergency management, donor relations, and humanitarian and political affairs.