14 January 2009
Secretary-General
SG/A/1170
BIO/4056

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note


SECRETARY-GENERAL APPOINTS NEW PERSONAL ENVOY FOR WESTERN SAHARA

 


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Christopher Ross of the United States as his Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.  Mr. Ross will replace Peter van Walsum.


The Secretary-General is grateful to Mr. van Walsum for his dedicated service on the important issue of Western Sahara.


Mr. Ross will work with the parties and neighbouring countries based on the most recent Security Council resolution 1813 (2008) and previous resolutions, building on progress made to date, in pursuit of a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.


He takes up his new assignment following a long and distinguished career with the United States Department of State, where he focused especially on Middle Eastern and North African affairs.  He is a former United States Ambassador to Syria and to Algeria, and was most recently Senior Adviser for the Middle East and North Africa at the United States Mission to the United Nations. 


After retiring in 1999, Mr. Ross returned to active service to help coordinate United States public diplomacy towards the Arab and Muslim worlds (2001-2003).  He then served as Senior Adviser to the United States Embassy in Baghdad (2004) and Special Adviser in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, working on Iraq.  From 2006-2007, he was Senior Adviser to the United States Delegations to the General Assembly.


Mr. Ross’s earlier postings in the United States Foreign Service include:  Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Director of Regional Affairs of the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs; Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Algiers; Press Attaché in Beirut, Lebanon; and Director of the American Cultural Center in Fez, Morocco. 


He holds a bachelor’s degree in Oriental (Near Eastern) studies from Princeton University, and a Master of Arts in international relations and Middle Eastern studies from Johns Hopkins University.  He speaks English, Arabic and French, and has taught Arabic at Columbia and Princeton Universities.


Born on 3 March 1943, he has one son.


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