Former UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in Conversation with Dr Lina Khatib on Diplomacy and the Conflict in Syria

Layal Mohammad's picture
November 4, 2019
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Diplomacy and International Relations, Middle East History / Studies, Political Science, Political History / Studies


Former UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura in Conversation with Dr Lina Khatib on Diplomacy and the Conflict in Syria

Staffan de Mistura is a veteran Italian-Swedish diplomat who has had a 40-year career with the United Nations, including a number of high-profile roles. Latterly, he also served as Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister in Mario Monti’s government. In July 2014, he was chosen by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to replace Lakhdar Brahimi as the international mediator seeking an end to Syria's civil war. Lakhdar Brahimi resigned in May 2014 after the failure of the second round of Geneva talks in January and February. Prior to Mr Brahimi, the role was held by Kofi Annan, who called the job a “mission impossible”. Mr de Mistura resigned from the post in November 2018, for personal reasons.

Mr de Mistura's previous UN roles included UN envoy in Afghanistan in 2010-11, and in Iraq in 2007-09. He was also the UN Secretary General's personal representative to Southern Lebanon in 2001-04. Staffan de Mistura began his UN career in 1971 as a World Food Programme Project Officer in Sudan. Over the years, his work has taken him to many of the world's trouble spots including Somalia, Ethiopia, the Balkans and Rwanda. He holds dual Swedish-Italian citizenship and speaks seven languages including colloquial Arabic.

Dr Lina Khatib is Head of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. She was formerly Director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut and Co-founding Head of the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Her research focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, Islamist groups and security, political transitions and foreign policy, with special attention to the Syrian conflict.

Dr Khatib is a Research Associate at SOAS, was a Senior Research Associate at the Arab Reform Initiative and lectured at Royal Holloway, University of London. She has published seven books and also written widely on public diplomacy, political communication and political participation in the Middle East. She is a frequent commentator on politics and security in the Middle East and North Africa at events around the world and in the media.

Dr Nancy Hawker is a Research Fellow for AKU-ISMC's Governance Programme. Dr Hawker has a DPhil in Oriental Studies from University of Oxford and an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies from SOAS. After publishing Palestinian-Israeli Contact and Linguistic Practices (Routledge, 2013), she took on a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University. She has previously worked at Amnesty International’s International Secretariat in London. 

Time and Venue
Monday 4 November 2019, 18.00-19.30
Atrium Conference Room,
Aga Khan Centre,
10 Handyside Street,
London N1C 4DN

This event is free but booking is essential. Book as soon as possible.  

Contact Info: 


Layal Mohammad

Coordinator, Marketing, Communications and Professional Programmes

Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations

The Aga Khan University (International)

Aga Khan Centre, 10 Handyside Street, London N1C 4DN


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