28 January 2010

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

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Staffan de Mistura of Sweden

Special Representative for Afghanistan

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Staffan de Mistura of Sweden as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).

The new Special Representative of the Secretary-General succeeds Kai Eide of Norway, who will complete his assignment on 28 February, and to whom Mr. Ban is grateful for his intrepid spirit, strong determination and excellent leadership of UNAMA over the past two years, a critical period for Afghanistan with difficult elections and a very challenging security situation.

Mr. de Mistura brings with him more than three decades of experience with the United Nations in conflict-affected areas including Somalia, the Middle East, the Balkans, Nepal and Afghanistan.  Under challenging conditions, he has promoted political dialogue, led reconstruction, development and humanitarian-assistance efforts, and been involved in overseeing elections.  Having served most recently as the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Deputy Executive Director for External Relations, he was, from 2007 to 2009, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

Mr. de Mistura has also served the Organization in many other capacities, including United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq from March through August 1997.  Prior to that, he held the posts of Director of Public Affairs at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UNICEF Representative in Somalia.  He subsequently served as Director of Fund-Raising and External Relations at the United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Afghanistan from 1988 to 1991; Director of World Food Programme operations in Sudan in 1987; and Deputy Chef de Cabinet at the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) from 1976 to 1985.  In addition, he was given special humanitarian assignments in Dubrovnik, Sarajevo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Viet Nam and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

In 1999, Mr. de Mistura became a member of the Security Council Panel on Humanitarian Issues in Iraq, and from April to June of the same year, he was the Special Adviser to the High Commissioner for Refugees on the Kosovo crisis before he was appointed Regional Administrator for Mitrovica in Kosovo.  In June 2000, he was Special Rapporteur during the Fribourg Forum on Regional Cooperation and Coordination in Crisis Management for Europe and the Newly Independent States.

A dual citizen of Italy and Sweden, Mr. de Mistura speaks Swedish, Italian, English, French, German, Spanish and Arabic (colloquial).

Born in Stockholm in 1947, he is married and has two daughters.

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*     This supersedes Press Release SG/A/1091-BIO/3926 of 11 September 2007

For information media • not an official record