Leadership

James Christopher Swan, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia

Appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on 30 May 2019, Mr. Swan is the senior official of the UN team in Somalia. He has broad oversight of all UN operations in Somalia, including two UN missions and 23 agencies, funds, and programmes that together have nearly 2,000 national and international staff, total budgeted activities of close to $2 billion and work in a range of areas across the political, development and humanitarian spheres.   

Mr. Swan serves concurrently as the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM). This UN special political mission operates under a UN Security Council mandate to support Somali institutions, strengthen Somali coordination with international partners in the security sector, help Somalis advance in reconciliation and democratic governance, and promote the rule of law and human rights.

Prior to assuming his current role with the world body in Somalia, Mr. Swan had a nearly three-decade career with the Foreign Service of the United States of America.  Most of this diplomatic work focused on helping African countries as they faced complex political and security transitions.  

In his bilateral diplomatic career, Mr. Swan held numerous positions related to Somalia and the Horn of Africa. These include US Special Representative for Somalia (2011-2013), Ambassador to Djibouti (2008-2011), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East and Central Africa (2006-2008), Africa Director in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2005-2006), and Political Officer in the Office of the Special Envoy for Somalia (1994-1996).   

He also served as the US Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2013-2016), in addition to prior staff assignments in the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Nicaragua, and Haiti. 

Mr. Swan holds a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, a Master of Arts from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from the US National War College.

Click here for Mr. Swan’s most recent public statement.

Click here for Mr. Swan’s most recent statement to the UN Security Council.

Click here for a medley of photos of Mr. Swan’s activities in Somalia and at the UN Security Council at UN Headquarters in New York.

 
     

Anita Kiki Gbeho, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia

Anita Kiki Gbeho is the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia.  She oversees the work of the Political, Human Rights, Electoral, and Rule of Law and Security components of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and supports the Special Representative in managing the Mission.

Appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in December 2020, Ms. Gbeho brings more than 25 years of experience in strategic planning, coordination and management in political, development and humanitarian affairs at United Nations Headquarters and in field operations. Her work has included establishing high level political and strategic relations with national authorities, regional bodies and partners in conflict and post-conflict environments and diverse settings such as Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Namibia, Sudan and Somalia.

Prior to UNSOM, Ms. Gbeho served as Deputy Joint Special Representative of the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), where she led the development and implementation of the Mission’s transition strategy. Previously, she was Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative with the United Nations Development Programme in Namibia.  She has also served as Chief of Section in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in New York and as Head of Office for OCHA in Somalia and Southern Sudan.  

Ms. Gbeho holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and African Studies from the State University of New York, and a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of Ghana. 

 
     

Adam Abdelmoula, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia

Adam Abdelmoula is the United Nations Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, and also serves as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.      

Appointed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in August 2019, Mr. Abdelmoula brings more than thirty years of experience in development, rule of law, human rights and security to his role.    

Prior to his current post, he served as the Director of the UN Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Divisions at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Previously, he served as the Country Director of the UN Development Programme in Iraq (2013- 2016) and the UN Resident Coordinator in Kuwait and Syria (2010-2013).   

Earlier, Mr. Abdelmoula served as the Chief of Middle East and North Africa Section in OHCHR, and undertook various assignments with the world body in Liberia, Iraq and Somalia.   

Mr. Abdelmoula holds a Bachelor of Laws in Common Law and Islamic Law from the University of Khartoum, a Master of Laws in International Law from Harvard Law School, and a Doctor of Juridical Science in Public International Law from Georgetown University.