The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Mr. Philippe Lazzarini was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on March 18, 2020 — as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread around the world.
At a moment when public policy and public health are becoming increasingly intertwined, Commissioner-General Lazzarini will share his unique perspective on UNRWA’s past, present, and future strategies for supporting Palestinian refugees in an event moderated by MEI Faculty Director Tarek Masoud.
On 18 March 2020, Mr Philippe Lazzarini was appointed Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by United Nations Secretary-General Ant nio Guterres. He took up his post with UNRWA on 1 April 2020.
Prior to his appointment to UNRWA, Mr Lazzarini served, from August 2015, as the Deputy UN Special Coordinator (UNSCOL) and as the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon.
Mr Lazzarini has over 30 years of professional experience, including in leadership positions with the United Nations, the private sector and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). He has extensive experience in humanitarian assistance and international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas at senior levels, including through his assignment to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia as Deputy Special Representative, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, from 2013 to 2015. He joined the United Nations in Iraq in 2003 and since then has held a number of senior positions, both at Headquarters in New York, and in Angola, Somalia and the occupied Palestinian territory. Prior to joining the United Nations, he worked with Union Bancaire Privée in Geneva as Head of the Marketing Department.
From 1989 to 1999, Mr Lazzarini worked with ICRC as the Deputy Head of Communications in Geneva, Head of Delegation in Rwanda, Angola, and Sarajevo, and as a delegate in Southern Sudan, Jordan, Gaza, and Beirut. He started his professional career in 1987 as an economist with the Canton of Bern in Switzerland.
Mr Lazzarini is a graduate of the University of Neuchatel and of the University of Lausanne, and he is married with four children.