JPO Stories

Christophe Bahuet:
From JPO in Ukraine to Deputy Country Director in Viet Nam

Christophe Bahuet is a former French UNDP JPO in Ukraine (1992-1994). He is now Deputy Country Director for Programme, UNDP Viet Nam.

Published in UNDP Bulletin, March 2007.

Christophe Bahuet


I was born in Bordeaux, France and grew up between Bordeaux and Paris. I have been living in different parts of the world since I was 23. My wife is from Asia. We have two children. The boy, Aurelien- Xuân is nine, and the girl Tiphaine Mei Hua is six.


Deputy country director for programme in Viet Nam


His story:
I studied law, development, Asian studies and South East Asian languages. After my first job in Yugoslavia with the French Foreign Affairs, I joined UNDP and never regretted it once.

I began by specializing in "U" countries, namely Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the United States. I was a JPO in Ukraine. It was just after the independence, and it remains a very unique experience. In the beginning, our office was a hotel room. Uzbekistan is unforgettable for the fascinating history and culture.

Going from Tashkent to New York was a real change. Two posts in Headquarters, with the Evaluation Office and the Bureau for Partnerships, helped me to learn a lot about UNDP. Ghana was my next destination. I have been here for four years and have really enjoyed my assignment, the country and the people.

I am very happy to start the fifth chapter in my UNDP book in Viet Nam. The country and region are very meaningful to me.


Crowning glory:
I am proud of achieving the balance between a demanding-and rewarding-professional life and a stable personal life, although my family's contribution is certainly greater than my own.

On the professional side, the kind and genuine words I received from staff and colleagues from other organizations at the end of my assignments have been a great reward. They make me feel that I have really achieved and given something.


Last great book read:
"One hundred years of Solitude" by Gabriel García Márquez, above all for the beautiful prose. I read it one more time with the extraordinary feeling of traveling back into Márquez's world. I always discover new beauty in his book, page after page, year after year.


Behind the suit:
I wear a variety of hats when I am not at work. I am a husband and a father; a learner of different languages-it has always been my passion; soccer player with my son; Thai food cook; Asian movie collector; I am also learning drumming and Scottish dance.


Role Model:
There are a few people who have crossed my path and brought a lot of inspiration to my life. Some of them were teachers and some of them are UNDP colleagues. They helped me become who I am and learn what I can do. I think that this is something very important to remember.

For those who are just starting out with the organization, I would just say to stay true to yourselves. It is a privilege to be able to work for UNDP. Sometimes, you need to be patient and learn that it takes a long time to bring out real changes, but that is just part of the job.


Why it's all worth it:
At UNDP, I can work for the ideals and values I believe in. I have worked with colleagues from all over the world, and every working day is a different experience. It has been a place for professional fulfillment and personal enrichment.



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