Meet the new Lebanese head of the UN mission in Libya

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Sun, 25 Jun 2017 - 10:31 GMT

Ghassan Salamé Creative Commons via wikimedia commons

Ghassan Salamé Creative Commons via wikimedia commons

CAIRO – 25 June 2017: Lebanese Ghassan Salame was appointed on June 22 as the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative and head of the U.N. support mission in Libya (UNSMIL). Salame succeeds German diplomat Martin Kobler, who served as the U.N. representative since November 2015.

According to the Global Leadership Foundation, Salame is recognized as one of the most respected actors and observers of conflict resolution and Middle East politics. He is a widely-read expert on international relations.

Academic career:
Born in 1951 in Lebanon, Salame studied law and political science in Paris; he holds a doctorate in humanities and another politics. He also holds a master’s degree in Lebanese and French law.

Later he taught international relations at the American and Saint-Joseph universities in Beirut and Paris. He currently serves as an International Relations professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies and he is the founding dean of its Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).

Salames’s essays have been published in Foreign Policy, Revue française de science politique, European Journal of International Affairs, The Middle East Journal and other scholarly journals. He also wrote a number of books on political and societal issues in the Arab region.

Public and international career:
Salame’s public career includes serving as an advisor to the Lebanese government and parliament in the 1980s and 1990. He was appointed as Lebanon’s Minister of Culture 2000–2003; he was in charge of national heritage and the arts. He also served in several inter-ministerial committees. Salame contributed to the reform process of the Lebanese Higher Education system, job creation for university graduates and e-government.

His international career includes being the Political Adviser to the U.N. Mission in Iraq 2003 and a Senior Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General 2003–2006 and again in 2012–2013. He was the Spokesperson for the Arab Summit that launched the Arab Peace Initiative in March 2002 and for the Francophone Summit in October 2002. He is presently the vice-chairperson of the board of the International Crisis Group in Brussels and sits on the board of the Open Society Institute in New York. Furthermore, he sits on the board of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and he is the founding chairperson of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Beirut).
He also sits on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) advisory board for the Middle East.

International and national awards:
Salame was awarded the Phenix (Beirut), ADELFI (Paris) and Al-Idrissi (Rome, 2012) awards, and the Medaille of the Academie Francaise (2003), made Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur (France, 2004) and named the Arab Cultural Personality of the Year (UAE, 2004).

Memberships and affiliations:
 Chairperson, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
 Co-Chair of the International Crisis Group
 Board Member, International Peace Institute
 Board Member, Open Society Foundations
 Board Member, Center for Humanitarian Dialogue
 Board Member, Arab Anti-Corruption Organization
 Board Member, Bibliotheca Alexandria
 Co-founder of the Euro-Mediterranean Chair, the European University Institute,
Florence, Italy
 Member of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State


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