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Board of Advisors: Sir Brian Urquhart

Former undersecretary-general, United Nations

Sir Brian Urquhart is the former undersecretary-general of the UN. He served in the British Army throughout World War II in infantry and later as an intelligence officer in airborne formations. In September 1944, he attempted, without success, to persuade the commander of Operation Market Garden to modify or abort the plan in light of crucial information obtained from the Dutch resistance and from aerial reconnaissance. On leaving the army in summer 1945, Brian Urquhart was the second staff member recruited for the UN Preparatory Commission, which set the world organization up. In one capacity or another, he worked closely with the first five UN secretaries-general. He worked with Ralph Bunche on the organization, deployment and direction of the UN's first peacekeeping force in Egypt after the Suez crisis and on subsequent peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, the Congo and elsewhere. He also worked with Bunche on the first International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy and on the organization and establishment of the International Atomic Energy Agency. He succeeded Ralph Bunche on the latter's death in 1971. As Undersecretary-General, Sir Brian's functions were the direction of peace-keeping forces in the Middle East, Cyprus, the Indian subcontinent and Africa and peace negotiations in these and other conflict areas. These included Namibia and Lebanon. He was also one of the Secretary-General's principal advisors. Sir Brian's books include biographies of Dag Hammarskjold and Ralph Bunche, an autobiography, A Life in Peace and War, and with Erskine Childers, a series on UN studies, including "Renewing the UN System" (1994). He was a scholar-in-residence in the international program of the Ford Foundation from 1986-1995. Sir Brian was educated at Westminster School and Christ Church, Oxford.