Former DGs

Gabriela Abado

Ms Gabriela Abado was appointed by the ICMPD Steering Group as the Acting Director General of ICMPD as of 1 January 2015, in addition to being Director of Human and Financial Resources. Ms Abado has extensive experience in international relations, development cooperation, programme and project management, and organisation development.

Ms Abado worked for many years as a consultant in institution and capacity building, project development and management for clients such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office for Project Services, International Centre for Migration Policy Development, and private sector firms.

Ms Abado holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Download Ms Abado's CV.


Peter Widermann

Mr Peter Widermann was the Director General of ICMPD from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2014. He was elected into the position by a unanimous decision of the ICMPD Steering Group at its 48th meeting held in Lisbon in September 2009.

Mr Widermann is an Austrian national who served for more then 20 years in the Federal Ministry of the Interior where he held various positions relating to migration management, e.g. visa and border management. He retired from the position of Deputy Director General for Public Security at the Ministry. Mr Widermann has the academic degree Doctor of Law.

Mr Widermann's CV can be downloaded here.


Gottfried Zürcher

Gottfried Zürcher


  • University of Berne; graduated in 1977 with a degree in Law and Economics
  • Legal traineeship at courts and the Recording Office in the Canton of Solothurn
  • Examination and qualification as attorney-at-law and notary public

Professional Experience:
Since 1979 different posts held within the Federal Administration in the field of asylum, refugee and migration policy. Since 1991 Deputy Director of the Federal Office for Refugees (now:  Federal Office for  Migration), head of the strategy, policy and legal unit, responsible for the law-making on behalf of the Federal Council and the Federal Parliament, representation of the Office at court, Swiss representative in various ad hoc and permanent working groups and committees (Council of Europe, UN organisations), head of Swiss delegation in bilateral and multi-lateral negotiations on migration issues (co-operation, migration and readmission agreements).

Mr Zürcher served as the Deputy Director General of ICMPD from April 2002 until December 2004. He was appointed the Director General of ICMPD for a 5-year term starting in January 2005.


Jonas Widgren

Jonas Widgren, 1944 - 2004

Jonas Widgren was the founder of ICMPD. He led the organisation as Director General until his suddden death in Rijeka, Croatia on 25 August 2004.

Born in Stockholm (Sweden) in 1944, he graduated from Stockholm University in 1967 (B.A. in Philosophy). He then held various posts in the Swedish Ministries of Interior and Labour, among others, as Secretary General (19711974) of the parliamentary Commission, which prepared the new Swedish policy of multiculturalism and as Director (19781982) of the immigration policy division of the Ministry of Labour. In 1982, the late Prime Minister Olof Palme appointed him Secretary of State at the Ministry of Labour, responsible for immigration to Sweden and for equality between women and men. As deputy to former Minister Anita Gradin, he held this position until early 1987.

In April 1987, he joined UNHCR in Geneva as Senior Adviser to the High Commissioner for Refugees to assist in finding solutions to the asylum crisis in Europe together with the governments concerned, in the framework of informal consultations, which originally were initiated by the Swedish Government. The Secretariat for these consultations obtained a semi-independent status in 1991 through a special co-operation agreement between 16 Western Governments and UNHCR, and Jonas Widgren headed this Secretariat, as Co-ordinator for the Inter-governmental Consultations (IGC), until the spring of 1993. In May 1993, Jonas Widgren was appointed Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Vienna.

Since the early 1970's, Jonas Widgren regularly acted as consultant on international refugee and migration matters to the UN, ILO, UNESCO, OECD, IOM, Council of Europe and other international organisations. From 19951998 he served as External Adviser to the Cabinet of the EU Commissioner responsible for immigration and asylum affairs. He chaired the OECD Working Party on Migration from 19831987, and during his whole tenure as a Swedish Government official he represented Sweden in various inter-governmental fora. He published many articles and studies on migration and asylum issues in Sweden and abroad and lectured widely in Europe and North America.

"Solving migration challenges in innovative ways. That's what ICMPD stands for", said Jonas Widgren, former Director General.


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Mission Statement

ICMPD strives for comprehensive, sustainable and future-oriented migration governance. We do so based on solid evidence and in partnership with all relevant stakeholders at national, regional and international levels.