New UN Special Coordinator Arrives in Lebanon
Sunday, 12 October 2008
Mr. Michael Williams, the newly appointed United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon arrived today in Beirut to take up his functions as representative of the Secretary-General in Lebanon.
Mr. Williams will begin his round of meetings with Lebanese officials this week.
In his capacity as Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Mr. Williams will be responsible for coordinating the work of the United Nations in Lebanon and representing the Secretary-General on all political aspects of the organization’s work in the country. He will also be in charge of following up the implementation of Security Council Resolution 1701.
The Special Coordinator, based in Beirut, will also ensure that the activities of the United Nations Country Team are well coordinated with the Government of Lebanon, donors and international financial institutions in line with the overall objectives of the United Nations in Lebanon.
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). His previous experience ranges from working in the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the BBC World Service, and Amnesty International. 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.
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.