Born in 1964 in Angola, she concluded her secondary school education in Portugal and obtained her Masters (Cum Laude) in Development Studies at the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands. Started her professional career as a researcher and lecturer in several Dutch Universities and joined UNESCO in 1996 as an Associate Expert in Social and Human Sciences at the Maputo Office in Mozambique. In 1999 she was nominated Assistant Programme Specialist becoming also the UNESCO focal Point for Youth in Southern Africa, supporting Governments in the development of youth policies and programmes. In 2001 she became the Programme Specialist in Education in Mozambique working as the Head of the Education, HIV & AIDS and Cultural Units of the Office. In 2011 she was promoted to Regional Coordinator for Education in Africa at the BREDA Office in Dakar. In that position she coordinated the UNESCO education programme in the continent and assisted countries developing acceleration frameworks for Education for All. From 2014 to 2017 she served as the UNESCO Representative to the United Republic of Tanzania and Head of the UNESCO Dar Es Salaam Office.
Zulmira is a Dutch and Portuguese citizen and is married and mother of 4.