New SRSG Elizabeth Spehar arrives in Cyprus
Nicosia, 13th June 2016 – The new Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Elizabeth Spehar, has arrived in Cyprus to formally assume her duties. Ms. Spehar will also act as the Deputy to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser (DSASG) on Cyprus.
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.
Speaking upon arrival, SRSG Spehar said: “Having previously served as interim Head of Mission in 2008, I am honored and grateful to have this opportunity to return to Cyprus at such an important time during the UN-facilitated peace talks. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Lisa Buttenheim, for her leadership of UNFICYP and her role as Deputy to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide.
“I look forward to continuing the work of the UN in Cyprus for the benefit of all Cypriots and hope to forge strong working relationships with all stakeholders over the coming months.”
SRSG Spehar will meet with senior officials, civil society representatives, members of the diplomatic community and UN colleagues across the island over the coming days.
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.