Elizabeth Spehar

Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) 

SRSG Spehar succeeds Lisa. M Buttenheim, who completed her assignment on 10 June 2016, departing to take up the position of Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support at UN Headquarters in New York.

SRSG Spehar has extensive political experience in several senior positions with the United Nations Department of Political Affairs since 2007, where she has previously served as the Director of the Policy and Mediation Division, Director for the Americas and Europe Division and Director of the Europe Division, engaging extensively on key political issues facing the region.

Prior to joining the United Nations, Ms. Spehar was a senior official with the Organization of American States for over 12 years, working on promoting democracy and developing the Organization’s instruments for dialogue and conflict resolution.

She holds a B.A. Honours Degree from Queen’s University, Canada; a Master’s Degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Canada, and a Diplôme d’Etudes Supérieures from the University of Pau, France.

She was born in Port Arthur, Canada, and has a daughter. 

Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir

Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir of Bangladesh as Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) in July 2016.  Major General Kabir succeeded Major General Kristin Lund of Norway.

With more than 32 years of wide-ranging command and staff experience, Major General Kabir has had a distinguished military career, having held command positions at unit, battalion, brigade and divisional level in the Bangladesh Army since 1989, as well as senior staff appointments.  As a Brigadier General, he commanded an infantry brigade and served as Director of Military Operations for the Bangladesh Army.  He commanded an infantry division from 2013 to 2016, when he was appointed to his current position as Commandant of the Bangladesh Military Academy.

Major General Kabir’s experience with the United Nations includes service as a Military Observer with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) from 2002 to 2003, and with the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) from 1995 to 1996.

He holds three master’s degrees, in international security and strategy from King’s College, London (2013); in business administration from the University of Dhaka (2002-2005); and in defence studies from Bangladesh National University (1998-1999).  He is also a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies, United Kingdom (2012-2013), and the United States Army Command and General Staff College (1999-2000).

Born in 1965, he is married and has three children.

Chiefs of Mission /Special Representatives

22 Ms. Lisa Buttenheim (USA)  June 2010 - June 2016
21 Mr. Taye-Brook Zerihoun (Ethiopia) May 2008 - April 2010
20 Ms. Elizabeth Spehar (Canada) 30 March 2008 – 07 May 2008
19 Mr. Michael Moller (Denmark) January 2006 - March 2008
18 Mr. Zbiniew Wlosowicz (Poland) 2005 - 2006
17 Mr. Alvaro de Soto (Special Adviser, Peru) 2000 - 2004
16 Mr. James Holger (Acting, Chile) 1999 - 2000
15 Dame Ann Hercus (New Zealand)  1999 - 1999
14 Mr. Diego Cordovez (on a non resident basis) 1997 - 1999
13 Mr. Han Sung - Joo (Republic of Korea) 1996 - 1997
12 * Mr. Joe Clark (on a non-resident basis)  1993 - 1996
11 Mr. Oscar Camilion (Argentina) 1988 - 1993
10 Mr. James Holger (Acting, Chile) 1984 - 1988
9 Mr. Hugo J. Gobbi (Argentina)  1980 – 1984
8 Mr. Reynaldo Galindo Pohl (El Salvador)  1978 - 1980
7 Mr. Remy Gorge (Acting)  1977 - 1978
6 Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar (Peru)  1975 - 1977
5 Mr. Luis Weckmann-Muñoz (Mexico)  1974 - 1975
4 Mr. Bibiano Fernandez Osorio - Tafall  1967 - 1974
3 Mr. P.P. Spinelli (Acting)  1967 - 1967
2 Mr. Carlos A. Bernardes (Brazil)  1964 - 1967
1 Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso (appointed as Mediator in September, Ecuador)  1964 - 1964

* In August 1994, in connection with the change of command from Major-General Minehane to Brigadier-General Vartiainen, Mr. Clark became Chief of Mission. The function of Chief of Mission reflects a unified arrangement for the United Nations operation in Cyprus and includes UNFICYP. In the absence of the Special Representative, the Deputy Special Representative assumed this function.



UNFICYP Force Commander history


Major General Kristin Lund (Norway)

Aug 2014-July 2016


Major General Chao Liu (China)

Jan 2011 - Aug 2014


Rear Admiral Mario Sánchez Debernardi (Peru)

Apr 2008 - Dec 2010


Major-General Rafael Jose Barni (Argentina)

Mar 2006 - Mar 2008


Major-General Hebert Figoli (Uruguay)

Jan 2004 - Jan 2006


Lieutenant-General Jin Ha Hwang (Republic of Korea)

Jan 2002 - Dec 2003


Major-General Victory Rana (Nepal)

Dec 1999 - Dec 2001


Brigadier-General Ahti Toimi Vartiainen

Aug 1994 - Feb1997


Major-General Michael F. Minehane (Ireland)

Apr 1992 - Aug 1994


Major-General Clive Milner (Canada)

Apr 1988 - Apr 1992


Major-General Gunther G. Greindl (Austria)

Mar 1981 - Apr 1988


Major-General J. J. Quinn (Ireland)

Dec 1976 - Mar 1981


Lieutenant-General Dewan Prem Chand (India)

Dec 1969 - Dec 1976


Lieutenant-General I A E Martola (Finland

May 1966 - Dec 1969


Brigadier A. J. Wilson (Acting, United Kingdom)

Dec 1965 - May 1966


General K. S. Thimayya (India - died in Cyprus)

Jun 1964 - Dec 1965


General Gyani (India)

Mar 1964 - Jun 1964