Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Press Release

New Fellow: Michael Williams

28 October 2011

Chatham House is pleased to announce the appointment of Lord Williams of Baglan as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow. His role at Chatham House will be to support the institute's new research, output and activities relating to South East Asia and to contribute to its work on the Middle East and North Africa.

Michael Williams comes to Chatham House after serving as United Nations Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for Lebanon (2008–11), having also served as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East (2006–07). He was special adviser to Robin Cook and Jack Straw in their roles as UK foreign secretary and also the UK's Special Representative on the Middle East. His other positions with the UN include Director of Human Rights in the transitional administration in Cambodia and Director of Information for the UN Protection Force in former Yugoslavia. He has also worked as head of Asia research at Amnesty International and senior editor for Asia at the BBC World Service. 

Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, said: 'I am delighted to welcome Michael Williams to Chatham House. His specialist knowledge and senior policy experience in both South East Asia and the Middle East will add significantly to the institute's capacities in these two vital regions.'

Michael Williams said 'I am very pleased to be joining Chatham House whose Council and Executive Committee I served on for five years between 2000-05. As a policy maker I have always valued the contributions that Chatham House makes to informed debate on international affairs. I look forward to helping to shape the institute's work in regions that I have been closely associated with over the years including the Middle East and Asia.'

Notes to Editors:

Michael Williams became Lord Williams of Baglan in 2010. His previous positions include Director, Human Rights, United Nations (UN) Cambodia (1992-93); Director of Information, UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) Zagreb (1994-95); Senior Fellow, International Institute of Strategic Studies (1995-98); Director, Office for Children and Armed Conflict UN (1999-2000); Special Adviser to the UK Foreign Secretary (2000-05); Director, Middle East and Asia, UN (2005-06); Special Coordinator on Middle East, UN (2006-07); UK Special Representative on the Middle East and special projects (2007-08), Under Secretary-General and Special Coordinator for Lebanon, UN (2008-11).

He is the author of three books Communism, Religion and Revolt in Banten (1990), Vietnam at the Crossroads (1992) and Civil-Military Relations and Peacekeeping (1998).

Dr Williams gained his PhD thesis and MSc Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). The focus of his thesis was 'Islam and Politics in Indonesia'.

Moore Wilson Digital Agency London