Sir Brian Urquhart is a former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations. He served as an intelligence officer during World War II. After the war, he was transferred to a unit responsible for searching for Nazi scientists and military technology. Sir Urquhart was involved in the setting-up of the United Nations in 1945, and has advised every Secretary-General of the United Nations since its inception. He organized the first peacekeeping force. As Undersecretary-General, Sir Urquhart’s main functions were the direction of peace-keeping forces in the Middle East and Cyprus, and negotiations in these two areas; amongst others, his contributions also included work on the negotiations relating to a Namibia peace settlement, negotiations in Kashmir, Lebanon and work on peaceful uses for nuclear energy. Sir Urquhart has published several books about his life and the UN and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.
Alvaro de Soto, a Peruvian ambassador, held senior positions in the UN Secretariat from 1982 to 2007 including thirteen years in the Secretary-General’s Office and five years as Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. During this time he discharged a number of special assignments including, as Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for the Central American Peace Process, leading the negotiations that culminated in the 1992 peace accords ending the decade-long war in El Salvador, and conducting six missions to Myanmar as the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy. He also led the 1999-2004 negotiations on Cyprus that ended with the referendums on a reunification plan mainly drafted by the UN. He was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the Western Sahara from late 2003 to early 2005. His final assignment, from 2005 to 2007, was as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He is a Senior Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute and an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a member of the Global Leadership Foundation.
This event is sponsored by the Center for International Conflict Resolution. It is third in the “Conversations with Alvaro de Soto” series.