Dr. Reza Ardakanian of Iran is the Founding Director of UNU-FLORES. He has served as Director of the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development hosted by UNU since 2007 and served as Vice-Rector of UNU in Europe from 2009–2011. He has been on the boards of various international programmes/organizations such as the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme, the UNESCO Institute for Water Education, the International Hydropower Association, and the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security.
He holds a PhD in Water Resources Management from McMaster University (Canada) and is a faculty member of Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. He formerly held a number of national offices in Iran, including Deputy Minister for Water Affairs (2001–2005), Senior Vice-Minister (1998–2001) and Deputy Minister for Planning & Economic Affairs (1989–1991) with the Ministry of Energy, and Deputy Minister for Urban Development and Municipalities with the Ministry of Interior (1987–1989).