Seton Hall University

School of Diplomacy Announces Endowed Visiting Chair in the Practice of Post-Conflict Diplomacy  

Dr. Youssef Mahmoud

Inspired by the life and work of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations is pleased to announce the establishment of the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Endowed Visiting Chair in the Practice of Post-Conflict Diplomacy to support the School's Post-Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability Program, both of which are made possible through the generous individual donations of friends of the School. In collaboration with the United Nations, the School has selected Dr. Youssef Mahmoud, former Special Representative for the United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad, as the inaugural de Mello Chair.  

As de Mello Chair for the Spring 2015 semester, Dr. Mahmoud will provide public lectures, visit with classes, conduct professional development workshops, collaborate with students on research projects, help in the development of the School's graduate certificate program in post-conflict state reconstruction and sustainability, and contribute to the intellectual and professional life at the School of Diplomacy. Andrea Bartoli, Dean of the School of Diplomacy, remarks, "Dr. Youssef Mahmoud's experience and political tact are widely recognized in United Nations circles. He has the ability to bring together different trends and points of view, always seeking a sustainable outcome. His nomination as our first Sérgio Vieira de Mello Endowed Visiting Chair is enthusiastically supported by faculty and the entire School of Diplomacy." He continues, "Dr. Mahmoud will mentor students in leadership roles as they prepare to tackle current challenges of international relations, especially multilateral commitments." In the future, the School will expand the role of the de Mello Chair to include teaching graduate and undergraduate courses.

Dr. Mahmoud comes to the School with an extensive background in humanitarian and political work. In January 2011, he retired from a 30-year career at the United Nations. Before serving as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), he was the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Burundi (BINUB) from 2007 through 2010. His career at the UN is also highlighted by his roles as the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Guyana, Director in the UN Department of Political Affairs and Head of the Office of the Undersecretary-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. Dr. Mahmoud received his Master of Arts in American Studies at the University of Tunis, and a Ph.D. and Master of Science in Linguistics from Georgetown University.

Currently, Dr. Mahmoud serves as the Senior Advisor at the International Peace Institute (IPI), in which he leads IPI's operational programs that support civil society leaders in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. The programs focus on creating regional forums for exchanging experiences, knowledge and lessons stemming from post-uprising transitions. Recently, he has also taught courses on peacebuilding and conflict at Columbia University and New York University.  

At the recommendation of the United Nations' Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, the School of Diplomacy will continue to collaborate with the United Nation's Mediation Support Unit within the Department of Political Affairs to establish mechanisms to identify future de Mello chairs from within the UN system. This dedication to post-conflict diplomacy and UN community collaboration is indicative of both the School's foundation and its future. Dr. Andrea Bartoli arrived at the School in July of 2013 with an extensive background in post-conflict research. Since his arrival, he has committed to actively exploring innovative ways to launch as well as enhance the impact and importance of the de Mello Chair and the Post-Conflict State Reconstruction and Sustainability Program. The establishment of this position fosters opportunity for future growth in post-conflict studies at the University while also further strengthening the UN community alliance upon which the School was founded. The Endowed Visiting Chairs will provide both graduate and undergraduate students with critical skills and essential field knowledge needed to make a difference, as Sérgio Vieira de Mello did so skillfully, in a world of risk and opportunity. 

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1948, Sérgio Vieira de Mello touched the lives and hearts of countless people around the world. Sergio dedicated himself to easing the suffering of others and restoring dignity to those displaced by war. He began his career at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Still in his early 20s, he was sent to India to help ensure the successful repatriation and reintegration of Bengali refugees who had fled to India to escape civil war. In the field for just five months, Sergio witnessed the birth of a new state-Bangladesh. Sergio went on to assist refugees and newly emerging governments in Sudan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Kosovo and East Timor.

In the summer of 2003, Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked Sérgio to serve as his Special Representative for Iraq. On August 19, he was killed, along with 21 of his colleagues, in the devastating truck bombing of the UN compound in Baghdad. "Sérgio Vieira de Mello was a leader in exploring constructive strategies during crises and moments of turmoil," reflects Dean Bartoli. "The establishment of the de Mello Visiting Chair in the Practice of Post-Conflict Diplomacy highlights the achievements and learnings of United Nations colleagues who have been in similarly challenging environments. Students will learn first-hand from those who think critically while responding to world crises. The de Mello Chair program demonstrates where new diplomacy is needed."

Categories: Nation and World

For more information, please contact:

  • Gwen Debenedetto
  • (973) 275-2515