The School of Diplomacy and International Relations is pleased to announce two new appointees to the position of Sérgio Vieira de Mello Endowed Visiting Chair in the Practice of Post-Conflict Diplomacy. Robert H. Serry and Dr. Philipp H. Fluri will draw upon their impressive backgrounds to support and inform the School of Diplomacy.
Mr. Robert H. Serry is a career diplomat with extensive experience in multilateral diplomacy with both NATO and the UN. Mr. Serry has practiced conflict management and peacekeeping in theaters ranging from the Balkans and Eastern Europe to the Middle East and Afghanistan. As the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in Jerusalem, Serry served as the Secretary-General's Envoy to the Middle East Quartet, coordinated UN assistance to Palestinian state-building, and brokered de-escalation and humanitarian ceasefires. He is currently working on a book titled In No Man's Land: The United Nations between Israel and Palestine.
Dr. Philipp H. Fluri specializes in international security and works as Deputy Director of The Geneva DCAF Centre for Security, Development and the Rule of Law advising governments in Eastern Europe, Asia and South America on security governance issues. Dr. Fluri continues to be an active force in the international community by engaging in research and presentations on current international security policy issues like the refugee/migration crisis and on regional security architectures.
Dr. Assefaw Bariagaber, director of the Post-Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability certificate program, expressed enthusiasm for the depth of knowledge the two appointees will bring to the de Mello Chair position.
"The recent appointments of Dr. Philipp Fluri, and Mr. Robert Serry as Visiting de Mello Chairs will continue the School's focus both on the strategic goals of diplomacy and the nuances involved in diplomatic practice," he said. Dr. Fluri will begin his term with the School in February and Mr. Serry will join at a later date.
The de Mellow Visiting Chairs will provide public lectures, visit with classes, conduct professional development workshops, collaborate with students on research projects, and contribute to the intellectual and professional life at the School of Diplomacy. Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, the School's previous chair, also contributed to the development of the Certificate Program on Post-Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability and lectured on topics ranging from leadership and international mediation to the use of violent extremism by ISIS and Boko Haram.
"The Sergio Vieira de Mello Endowed Visiting Chair in the Practice of Post Conflict Diplomacy has provided our students with the opportunity to learn the art of diplomatic practice from prominent diplomats and practitioners of international relations," said Dr. Assefaw Bariagaber. "The position has made an important contribution in our quest to make our School one of the prominent schools of international affairs in the nation."
Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948, Sérgio Vieira de Mello touched the lives and hearts of countless people around the world. Sergio dedicated himself to easing the suffering of others and restoring dignity to those displaced by war. He began his career at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Still in his early 20s, he was sent to India to help ensure the successful repatriation and reintegration of Bengali refugees who had fled to India to escape civil war. In the field for just five months, Sergio witnessed the birth of a new state-Bangladesh. Sergio went on to assist refugees and newly emerging governments in Sudan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Kosovo and East Timor.
In the summer of 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked Sérgio to serve as his Special Representative for Iraq. On August 19, he was killed, along with 21 of his colleagues, in the devastating truck bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad. The de Mello Chair position carries on the legacy of Sérgio Vieira de Mello by supporting growth in post-conflict studies at the University while also further strengthening the UN community alliance upon which the School was formed. The Visiting Chairs will provide both graduate and undergraduate students with critical skills and essential field knowledge needed to make a difference, as Sérgio Vieira de Mello did so skillfully, in a world of risk and opportunity.