Staffan is the Special Envoy for Syria of the United Nations Secretary-General. Prior to this assignment, he was the Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister. During a career of over four decades with United Nations agencies, he served in numerous conflict zones, directing complex relief operations, food distributions and vaccination campaigns. Throughout 42 years of humanitarian work, he was posted in Sudan, Ethiopia, Albania, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia and Somalia. He also held senior political and humanitarian assignments in Lebanon and Iraq, and served as Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme.
“A hug makes a big difference. It doesn’t need to be physical, it can also be words, a sign of hope. People need to feel it when they are in a siege, when they are abandoned.”
Staffan de Mistura