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Sir Derek Plumbly has long experience as a diplomat and international official, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. From 2012 to 2015 he was UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, resident in Beirut and reporting regularly to the Security Council. From to 2008 to 2011 he chaired the international commission which oversaw implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan prior to the independence of South Sudan.
He had previously served as British ambassador to Egypt and Saudi Arabia and was Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the FCO from 1997 to 2000. His earlier career in the FCO included postings in the UN mission in New York and the embassy in Washington and as Deputy Head of Mission in Riyadh during the Gulf War.
He is fluent in Arabic which he studied in Lebanon and Jordan after graduating in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford and teaching in Pakistan. He was appointed CMG in the Gulf War honours list in 1991 and KCMG in 2000. He has an honorary doctorate from Loughborough University. He is currently Chairman of the Arab British Centre.