Elizabeth Spehar

Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) in Cyprus and Head of UNFICYP 

SRSG Spehar succeeded Lisa. M Buttenheim, who completed her assignment on 10 June 2016.

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. 

Force Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus

Major General Gjerde succeeds Major General Cheryl Pearce of Australia, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedication and leadership during her two years of service. 

Major General Gjerde has had a distinguished career in the Norwegian Defence Force, currently serving as Head of Strategic Plans.  She was previously Chief of Public Affairs for the Norwegian Defence (2018-2019) as well as Chief of Staff and second in command of the Norwegian army (2016-2018).  She headed the Army Military Academy (2013-2016) and led her country’s contingent deployed to Afghanistan (2011-2012).  Among other postings, she commanded the Norwegian King’s Battalion (2006-2009) and was deployed within the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) commanding a Norwegian platoon (1994-1995). 

She is a graduate of the Norwegian Military academy as well as from the US Army command and staff college and from the US Army War college.  She holds a Master’s degree (Cand. Polit.) from Oslo University. 

Chief Superintendent Fang LI

Senior Police Adviser

United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP)

Mrs Fang LI is a senior police officer with 25 years law enforcement serving experience in Shanghai, China. Ranking as chief superintendent, she has extensive managing background in different departments of Shanghai police force, from public order management to command and control, from immigration to traffic with areas various in training, human resource, strategic planning.

She has accumulated rich experience in community-oriented policing and intelligence-led policing. In 2008 Mrs Fang  LI served in MINUSTAH for 12 months as personnel officer including 3 months as acting chief of personnel. She was chief of Liaison Office during 2010 World EXPO in Shanghai China. After that, she had her second Master degree in Australian in 2012 and graduated with Distinction. In 2018 and 2019, she participated United Nations Female Senior Police Leadership Roaster training in Malaysia and United Nations Police Command Course in German. Mrs Fang  LI holds a Master’s of Art in Transnational Crime Prevention (University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, 2012), a Master’s in Law in social science (East China University of Politics Science And Law, Shanghai, China, 2005), and a Bachelor in Law (East China University of Politics Science And Law, Shanghai, China, 1994).

She had national-sponsored scholarship for Sweden as a visiting fellow of 12 months in 2003. Mrs LI is married and with one son.


Heads 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 Cheryl Pearce 
(Australia )                                                    

Jan 2019 – Dec


Major General Mohammad Humayun Kabir (Bangladesh)

Aug 2016-July 2018


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