Mr. Johnston Barkat, Assistant Secretary-General
United Nations Ombudsman and Head of Ombudsman and Mediation Services
Mr. Johnston Barkat of the United States took office on 21 April 2008. He was appointed at the level of Assistant Secretary-General to head the newly integrated office of Ombudsman and Mediation Services. In this capacity, he functions independently of any United Nations organ or official, with direct access to the Secretary-General.
An expert in mediation and conflict resolution, with an emphasis on organizational and cross-cultural negotiation, Mr. Barkat has previously worked with the United Nations as a negotiations instructor, as a consultant on ombudsman programmes and as an advisor on reforms to the Administration of Justice. He served as Ombudsman at Pace University, NY, for eleven years. He has also taught conflict resolution and mediation at the International Centre for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University, NY, and has served as an instructor of management at various other colleges and graduate schools in the U.S.
Using alternative dispute resolution, Mr. Barkat has worked for over fifteen years as a mediator in New York State Courts and has served on the board of the Westchester Mediation Centre. He also served as chair of the ombudsman committees for both the American Bar Association and the Association for Conflict Resolution. A past president of the International Ombudsman Association, Mr. Barkat subsequently has served as chair of its International Committee. He is a senior fellow with the Institute for Collaborative Engagement, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University, where he completed research on strategies to create negotiation ripeness in seemingly intractable conflicts. He also holds an M.P.A. in government from Pace University and a B.A. in psychology from The King’s College.