James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of UNSOM

on 30 May 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of James Swan of the United States as his Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). He will succeed Nicholas Haysom of South Africa to  whom the Secretary-General is deeply grateful for his dedicated service in UNSOM and Somalia at a challenging time.

Mr. Swan is an experienced diplomat with a long international career in the United States Government. He spent most of his career in African countries facing complex political transitions. He served as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2013 to 2016, US Special Representative for Somalia from 2011 to 2013, and Ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011.

In his earlier career, Mr. Swan served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2006 to 2008, and Director of African Analysis in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006. Prior to these, Mr. Swan held various assignments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Cameroon, Nicaragua and Haiti.

Mr. Swan holds a B.Sc. degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Master’s degree in Security Studies from the National War College.

Raisedon Zenenga, Officer-in-Charge of UNSOM and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia

On 5 December 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Mr. Raisedon Zenenga of Zimbabwe as his Deputy Special Representative for Somalia. Mr. Zenenga succeeds Ms. Fatiha Serour of Algeria. 

Mr. Zenenga possesses a diverse and substantial background in political processes and mediation, proven skills in managing peacekeeping operations, and significant experience in working with Government and other key stakeholders in conflict and post-conflict settings.  He has over 30 years of United Nations, Government and diplomatic service experience, 21 of which he served with the Organization in the field including in Liberia, Iraq-Kuwait, Sierra Leone and Somalia.

Educated at the University of Zimbabwe, Mr. Zenenga graduated in public administration and political science. He also received diplomatic training from the Australian Development Assistance Bureau.

Mr. Zenenga is married and has three children. 

George Conway, Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator

On 28 March 2019, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of George Conway of Canada as Acting Deputy Special Representative for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), where he will also serve as United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

Mr. Conway succeeds Peter de Clercq of the Netherlands, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedication and outstanding service in Somalia.

Currently serving as Resident Representative a.i. for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia, Mr. Conway brings a wealth of experience and has many years of distinguished service within the United Nations system, including as Strategic Adviser in the UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Country Director a.i. for UNDP South Sudan and Deputy Head of Office, as well as Head of Programmes for UNDP Southern Sudan.

Born in 1970, Mr. Conway holds two Master of Arts degrees, from Carleton University and the University of Western Ontario, as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Winnipeg, all in Canada.