Zena Harman

As chair of UNICEF, Zena Harman accepted the organization’s Nobel Prize in 1965, a fitting tribute for her many years of work with refugees. Harman studied international law at the London School of Economics. After she graduated in 1935, she briefly turned to advertising, but with anti-Semitism on the rise, she began working for the Jewish Association for the Protection of Girls, Women, and Children. She married and made Aliyah to Israel in 1940, and from 1943–1949 worked with Youth Aliyah to rescue thousands of Jews from Europe. From 1950–1955 she served as a UN delegate and Israel’s representative on the Economic and Social Committee. She then became Israel’s representative to UNICEF from 1960–1968, and chaired the board for one term. After a single term as a Knesset member from 1969–1973, she stepped down and returned to her work at the UN. From 1976–1997 Harmon acted as an honorary correspondent for the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees in Israel, fielding asylum requests and refugee matters throughout the years of mass exodus from Russia, Syria, and Ethiopia. At the same time, she served on numerous boards and committees within the Israeli government and private sector, ranging from the Israel Broadcasting Authority to the Public Council for Children of Jerusalem.


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Zena Harman.
Photograph by Werner Braun, courtesy of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Date of Birth

United Kingdom

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Zena Harman." (Viewed on February 28, 2020) <https://jwa.org/people/harman-zena>.


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