United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the appointment of Karen Smith of South Africa as his Special Adviser on the Responsibility to Protect. She will succeed Ivan Šimonović of Croatia, to whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful.
Ms. Smith will work under the overall guidance of Adama Dieng, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, to further the conceptual, political, institutional and operational development of the responsibility to protect concept, as set out by the General Assembly in paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 200 World Summit outcome document.
A lecturer in international relations at the Institute for History at Leiden University, Netherlands, Ms. Smith has a research focus on non-Western contributions to international relations theory, as well as on human rights, new global governance groupings and South Africa’s foreign policy in the context of regional and emerging Powers.
She was previously an Associate Professor in international relations at the University of Cape Town (2011-2017) and taught at the universities of Stellenbosch (2000-2010) and Western Cape (2003-2004), both in South Africa. Between 2006 and 2007, she served as Secretary-General of the United Nations Association of South Africa.
Ms. Smith holds a doctorate in international relations from Stellenbosch University and sits on the editorial boards of the journals Review of International Studies, Journal of African Union Studies, Foreign Policy Analysis and Rising Powers Quarterly.