Before joining the IFRC, Dr Mahmood was the Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat at the United Nations in New York. She is well known as the founder of MERCY Malaysia, which she led from 1999-2009, and her previous appointments include Chief of the Humanitarian Response Branch at UNFPA; Senior Fellow at Khazanah Nasional Berhad in Malaysia’s Khazanah Research and Investment Strategy Division, and Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Humanitarian Futures Programme at Kings College in London. In 2006, she was one of 16 members appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Advisory Group of the Central Emergency Response Fund.
Dr Mahmood has held many Board positions in NGOs and INGOs and is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for her contribution to civil society and work in support of marginalized communities, including the inaugural Isa Award for Service to Humanity in May 2013 and more recently the Merdeka Award 2015 most prestigious award for Outstanding Malaysians in the category of Community and Education.
Her medical career included positions at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital and Newcastle University; as lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Medical Faculty of the National University of Malaysia; Treasurer of the Malaysian Obstetrical & Gynaecological Organization and as a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at a leading private hospital.
Jemilah Mahmood is a Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the National University of Malaysia, has a Masters in Obstetrics & Gynaecology from the same university and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists United Kingdom.
Dr Jemilah Mahmood began her mandate as Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in January 2016.