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Richard Gowan

UN Director
New York

Crisis Group Role

Richard oversees Crisis Group's advocacy work at the United Nations, liaising with diplomats and UN officials in New York.

Professional Background

Richard was previously a Consulting Analyst with ICG in 2016 and 2017. He has worked with the European Council on Foreign Relations, New York University Center on International Cooperation and the Foreign Policy Centre (London). He has taught at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Stanford in New York. He has also worked as a consultant for the organisations including UN Department of Political Affairs, the UN Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Rasmussen Global, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Global Affairs Canada. From 2013 to 2019, he wrote a weekly column ("Diplomatic Fallout") for World Politics Review.

Areas of Expertise

  • The United Nations system
  • Security Council
  • Peacekeeping
  • European security
  • Early warning and conflict prevention

In The News

8 May 2020
The UN Security Council has lost some credibility as the weeks have gone by, mainly thanks to U.S. obstructionism. Reuters

Richard Gowan

UN Director
20 Apr 2020
The Americans have insisted that any Council resolution [...] should explicitly reference its origins in China [...]. The world's top powers are indulging in a silly blame game in a moment of crisis." Swissinfo

Richard Gowan

UN Director
8 Apr 2020
This crisis has shown that neither China nor the U.S. is ready and able to lead the U.N. system. Foreign Policy

Richard Gowan

UN Director
6 Apr 2020
[...] this is an effort to minimize offending Moscow that reflects the fact that U.N. officials believe that continued cooperation with Russia is key to the future of humanitarian operations in Syria. New York Times

Richard Gowan

UN Director
2 Apr 2020
The [UN Security] Council has sent a signal of shambolic disunity, which I think is resonating quite widely. New York Times

Richard Gowan

UN Director
24 Mar 2020
My sense is the U.S., in particular, will be very wary of making any concessions on sanctions [for coronavirus] that they worry they will not be able to reverse down the road. Foreign Policy

Richard Gowan

UN Director

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Global

Remembering Javier Pérez de Cuéllar’s “Piecemeal” Approach to UN Peacemaking

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, died this week.  In this piece, originally published in World Politics Review in February, our UN Director assesses his legacy.

Originally published in World Politics Review

Commentary / Global

Navigating the Storms at the UN Security Council

Tensions are mounting among the permanent five members of the UN Security Council. After a series of rows over the Middle East, and with further disputes on the horizon, the five should convene a September summit as proposed by France and Russia to contain their differences.

Commentary / Global

Three Troubling Trends at the UN Security Council

China and the West are increasingly at loggerheads in Turtle Bay. So are European capitals and Washington. The handling of African crises is contentious as well. Amid these frictions, it is the job of UN diplomats to keep channels for quiet communication up and running.

Q&A / Global

What Changed for the World’s Conflicts at the UN General Assembly?

The annual United Nations General Assembly high-level session in the last week of September offered leaders and diplomats the chance to address today’s gravest crises. UN Director Richard Gowan and Senior Analyst Ashish Pradhan reflect on what happened and its potential impact on crisis diplomacy.