Bernardino Leon spoke with EPIIC students about Middle Eastern politics in a populist era

IGL News
Mar 16

Bernardino León, a Spanish national and a veteran diplomat with more than 25 years’ experience, has held top positions in Spain, the European Union, and the United Nations. In Spain he was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs from 2004 to 2008, and Secretary General at the Prime Minister Office and G20 Sherpa from 2008 to 2011. He has worked extensively in the Middle East: in 1992 he was posted to Algeria, the first Arab country that tried a transition to democracy, which ended in a coup and a civil war. He played a major role in the European Union team that followed up and supported the Peace Process after the Madrid 1991 Peace Conference and the Oslo Agreements. He was actively involved in Israeli-Palestinian civil society Geneva Agreements. Following the events of the Arab Spring, León conducted after 2011, when he was appointed EU Special Envoy to the Arab Spring countries, crucial negotiations in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. In 2014 he was appointed United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General to Libya, where he negotiated the Political Agreement and Unity Government that ended the civil war. He dedicated many efforts to promote dialogue and understanding between the West and Muslim world, and was instrumental in the launch of the UN Alliance of Civilizations. He was involved in civil society initiatives such as the Spanish-Moroccan ‘Three Cultures Foundation’ and in the ‘Barenboim-Said Foundation’. Besides, he has actively participated in the civil society initiative to create the International Criminal Court (promoting it specially in Arab countries) and other initiatives related to Human Rights, like the Spanish initiative against the death penalty, taking up negotiations with the Presidents of Philippines, Togo and Benin to achieve the abolition or moratorium on the death penalty.

He is currently the President of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), where he also teaches International Law.