Secretary-General Appoints Elizabeth Spehar of Canada Special Representative for Cyprus

30 Mar 2016

Secretary-General Appoints Elizabeth Spehar of Canada Special Representative for Cyprus

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Elizabeth Spehar of Canada as his new Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP). Ms. Spehar will also perform the function of Deputy to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus. 

Ms. Spehar will succeed Lisa M. Buttenheim of the United States, who will take up the position of Assistant Secretary-General for Field Support at Headquarters. The Secretary-General is grateful for Ms. Buttenheim’s dedication and exemplary leadership of UNFICYP over the past six years. Ms. Buttenheim also provided invaluable support to the Secretary-General’s mission of good offices, as the Deputy to his Special Adviser on Cyprus. During her tenure, significant progress has been achieved in the negotiations towards a comprehensive settlement. 

Ms. Spehar has extensive political experience in several senior positions with the United Nations Department of Political Affairs since 2007. She is currently Director of the Policy and Mediation Division and has previously served as Director for the Americas and Europe Division and Director of the Europe Division, engaging extensively on key political issues facing the region. She also briefly served as interim Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNFICYP in 2008. 

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. 

Ms. Spehar is expected to take up her new appointment before Summer.