Ms. Joanna Wronecka
UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Ms. Joanna Wronecka of Poland as his new Special Coordinator for Lebanon on April 1, 2021.
Ms. Wronecka brings over 25 years of experience in diplomacy, international security and Middle East affairs, serving since 2017 as the Permanent Representative of Poland to the United Nations, including during Poland’s membership in the Security Council (2018-2019), and as Under Secretary of State for Arab and African countries, development cooperation and Polish-United Nations relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland (2015-2017).
She previously served as Head of the European Union Delegation to Jordan (2011-2015), Ambassador of Poland to Morocco (2005-2010) and Egypt (1999-2003) as well as non-resident Ambassador of Poland to Mauritania (2006-2010) and Sudan (2000-2003). Ms. Wronecka further served as the Director of the Secretariat of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland (2003-2005), Director of the Africa and Middle East Department (1998-1999) and Deputy Director of the United Nations Department at the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1996-1998).
She holds a Ph.D. in Arabic philosophy and a master’s degree in Arabic philology from the University of Warsaw and conducted research on Middle East and Islamic affairs at the Centre d’Etudes et de Documentation Economique et Juridique in Cairo and at the Polish Academy of Sciences. She is fluent in Arabic, English, French and Polish.
Mr. Imran Riza
UN DEPUTY SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Imran Riza of Pakistan as his Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, in the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL), and Resident Coordinator for Lebanon. Mr. Riza will also serve as Humanitarian Coordinator.
Mr. Riza succeeds Najat Rochdi of Morocco, who recently completed her assignment and to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her accomplishments and wishes her continued success in her new appointment as Deputy Special Envoy for Syria.
Mr. Riza brings over 35 years of international experience across the United Nations System, mainly in field settings. For the past three years, he was in Syria as United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator. Prior to this, he served in Lebanon as Deputy Head of Mission and Director of the Division of Political Affairs, Civil Affairs and Strategic Communications of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). He previously served as the Regional Representative to the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UNHCR Representative for Jordan. With UNHCR, he has also served in Geneva, Sudan, Hong Kong and Vietnam. Mr. Riza has also held positions with the World Food Programme (WFP) in Rome and as Senior Adviser to the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Lebanon, as well as with UNSCOL.
Mr. Riza holds a master’s degree in Social-Cultural Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from McGill University. Mr. Riza speaks English, French and Urdu.
Ms. Najat Rochdi
FORMER UN DEPUTY SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Najat Rochdi of Morocco in June 2020 as his Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, in the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) and Resident Coordinator. Ms. Rochdi also serves as Humanitarian Coordinator.
Ms. Rochdi succeeds Philippe Lazzarini of Switzerland, who completed his assignment on 31 March. The Secretary-General is grateful for his accomplishments and wishes him continued success in his new appointment as Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Ms. Rochdi brings over 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas, including through her latest assignment as Senior Adviser to the Special Envoy for Syria and Director of Peer to Peer with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva.
Prior to this, Ms. Rochdi served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator with the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic (MINUSCA). Earlier, she served as Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon and Deputy Director of the Representative Office of the United Nations Development Programme in Geneva.
Ms. Rochdi holds a doctorate in information systems from the National Institute of Statistics and of Applied Economics in Rabat and a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Fundamental Applications from the University of Paris Sud 11. She is fluent in Arabic, English and French. Born in Morocco in 1961, she has four children.
Mr. Ján Kubiš
FORMER UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON
Mr. Ján Kubiš of Slovakia served as Special Coordinator for Lebanon from January 2019 to February 2021.
Mr. Kubiš, who served as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), from 2015 to 2018, brings with him many years of experience in diplomacy, foreign security policy, and international economic relations, both internationally and in his own country.
Mr. Kubiš served as Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from 2011 to 2015, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe from 2009 to 2011, as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Slovakia from 2006 to 2009, as Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe from 2007 to 2008, and as Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) from 1999 to 2005.
Mr. Kubiš also served as the European Union’s Special Representative for Central Asia with the office in Brussels and as the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of OSCE for Central Asia, as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Tajikistan and Head of the United Nations Mission of Observers in Tajikistan from 1998 to 1999. He was previously the Director of OSCE’s Conflict Prevention Centre. Mr. Kubiš worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the former Czechoslovakia from 1976 to 1992 and thereafter at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia. In 1993 he served as Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva.
Mr. Kubiš is a graduate in international economic relations of the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs and speaks Slovak, Czech, English, Russian and basic French.
Born in 1952, he is married and has one daughter.
Ms. Pernille Dahler Kardel
FORMER ACTING UN SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR LEBANON
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Pernille Dahler Kardel of Denmark as Acting United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon on 22 December 2017.
Ms. Kardel brings 25 years of experience in diplomacy, political affairs, international cooperation and economic development, spanning several continents. Most recently, Ms. Kardel served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) since 2016. She was previously the Ambassador of Denmark to Egypt (2012-2016) and served as Ambassador to Ethiopia as well as to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti (2007-2012) as well as Permanent Representative to the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
She has held several positions with Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ranging from Counsellor with the Permanent Mission to the United Nations to Deputy Head of Mission in Moscow, Russian Federation, and Second Secretary in New Delhi, India. She also served as the Head of the Asia Department in the Ministry.
Ms. Kardel holds two master degrees, one in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University in the United States, and one in interdisciplinary planning from Roskilde University in Denmark.
Ms. Sigrid Kaag
FORMER SPECIAL COORDINATOR
Ms. Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands concluded her assignment in Lebanon on 26 October 2017 to take over the function of Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in The Netherlands. She had assumed her responsibilities as United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon on 17 January 2015.
Ms. Kaag previously served as the Special Coordinator of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons-United Nations Joint Mission to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic, from October 2013 to December 2014.
She previously served as Assistant Secretary General with the United Nations Development Programme from 2010 to 2013 and as Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jordan from 2007 to 2010. Prior to that, Ms. Kaag held several senior positions with UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Before joining the United Nations system in 1994, she served her country in its Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ms. Kaag also worked for Shell International Petroleum Company in London.
Ms. Kaag holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Middle East studies from the American University in Cairo, a Master of Philosophy in international relations from St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and a master’s degree in Middle East studies from Exeter University.
She is fluent in Dutch, English, French and German, and proficient in Arabic.
Born in 1961, she is married with four children.
Mr. Derek Plumbly
FORMER SPECIAL COORDINATOR
Mr. Derek Plumbly of the United Kingdom took up his appointment as United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon on 04 February 2012.
Mr. Plumbly has had a distinguished career in international affairs spanning over 35 years. He has held important posts dealing with the Middle East. Most recently he was Chairman of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission charged with monitoring implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan (2008 to 2011).
Mr. Michael C Williams
FORMER SPECIAL COORDINATOR
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Michael C. Williams of the United Kingdom as his Special Coordinator for Lebanon in August 2008.
Mr. Williams previously served as the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Situation in the Middle East, before his appointment as the UK Special Representative for the Middle East in August 2007.
Prior to this, he was the Director for the Asia and the Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs. From 1999 to 2005 Mr. Williams was the Special Adviser to two United Kingdom Foreign Secretaries, Robin Cook (1999-2001) and Jack Straw (2001-2005).
He held a number of senior positions with the United Nations in the 1990s, including Director of Human Rights in the United Nations Transitional Administration in Cambodia (UNTAC) and Director of Information in the United Nations Protection Force in Former Yugoslavia (UNPROFOR). From 1996 to 1998, he was a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. From 1984 to 1991, he served as Editor and later Senior Editor for Asia with the BBC World Service. He also worked for several years with Amnesty International as Head of Asia Research.
He is a member of the Executive Committee and Council of Chatham House (Royal Institute for International Affairs). He has written widely on Asian politics, international security and peacekeeping. He is the author of Vietnam at the Crossroads, (Chatham House and Council on Foreign Relations, 1992) and Civil Military Relations and Peacekeeping (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1998). His Doctor of Philosophy thesis was on Islam and Politics in Indonesia.
Mr. Williams was born in Bridgend, Wales, on 11 June 1949. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in international relations from University College, London, in 1971, a Master of Science degree in the politics of developing areas from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, in 1973, and subsequently earned a doctorate in politics from the same institute.
Mr. Geir O. Pedersen
FORMER SPECIAL COORDINATOR
Mr. Geir O. Pedersen of Norway served as Special Coordinator for Lebanon at the level of Under-Secretary-General from February 2007 to February 2008. He previously served as the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for Lebanon from May 2005 to February 2007 and as the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative for southern Lebanon from April 2005 until May 2005.
Prior to that, Mr. Pedersen served as Director of the Asia and Pacific Division in the Department of Political Affairs. In this capacity, he also worked on the Middle East peace process and Iraq.
Mr. Pedersen served for many years as a Norwegian diplomat. Between November 1998 and March 2003, he served as the Norwegian Representative to the Palestinian Authority. From 1995 to 1998, he held different positions at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, among them as Chief of Staff for the Norwegian Foreign Minister. Mr. Pedersen has also served as a Norwegian diplomat in China and Germany.
In 1993, he was a member of the Norwegian team to the secret Oslo negotiations that led to the signing of the Declaration of Principles and the mutual recognition between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel.
From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Pedersen was Director of FAFO, Norwegian Institute for Applied Social Science, concentrating on living conditions surveys in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
Mr. Pedersen holds a Master of Arts in history. He is married with five children.