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Lord Wood assumes duties as Chair of UNA-UK

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Lord Wood assumes duties as Chair of UNA-UK

UNA-UK is delighted to announce that Lord (Stewart) Wood of Anfield is the new Chair of UNA-UK, after Sir Jeremy Greenstock completed his five-year term on 30 June 2015.

Lord Wood brings a wealth of experience to UNA-UK. He is a member of the House of Lords and a Lecturer at the University of Oxford. From 2007-2010 he was the Senior Special Advisor on foreign policy to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown – covering Europe, USA, Middle East and relations with international organisations.

Prior to his time at 10 Downing Street, he was an academic at Harvard and then Oxford universities, where he wrote extensively on political economy and European politics. From 2001-2007 he was a member of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Council of Economic Advisers, where he worked on European affairs (including the 2003 Euro assessment). After the 2010 election he served as an adviser on strategy and international affairs to the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband. 

Lord Wood has been a Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford, since 1996, and is also a Visiting Fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford. In 2016 he was appointed a Fellow in Practice at Oxford's Blavatnik School of Government. He is also a member of the House of Lords International Relations Committee.

Commenting on taking up his new post, he said:

It is an honour to succeed Jeremy Greenstock as Chair of UNA-UK. In the wake of Britain's decision on membership of the EU, I passionately believe there has never been a more important time to renew our commitment to the values of international cooperation and global citizenship.

The United Nations is not just the embodiment of those values, but – under a new Secretary-General – will have a crucial role in helping to bring nations together to meet the myriad challenges our world faces, the most pressing of which, such as climate change, cannot be solved by countries acting unilaterally. At the same time, the need for British leadership at the UN remains as great as ever. The UK has much to offer in supporting collective international action. It remains a significant power with global influence through its seat on the UN Security Council and its role as a major aid donor.

UNA-UK will continue to call for an active and progressive UK foreign policy, and encourage the UK to take concrete steps to show that it will not retreat from its global responsibilities. We will also work with our members and supporters to bring the UN's values to communities across the country.

In the past year under Jeremy's guidance, UNA-UK has reached out to new audiences and led a highly successful campaign to make the way in which the UN selects its Secretary-General more open and inclusive. It is an extraordinary legacy, and I hope to be able to continue championing UNA-UK – and the principles of the UN – in partnership with its Executive Director, Natalie Samarasinghe.

Invited to reflect on his term, Sir Jeremy Greenstock said:

I would like to extend a warm welcome to Stewart Wood as he takes over the role of UNA-UK Chairman. He will bring strong international experience, energy and a fresh perspective to an organisation on excellent form under its dynamic Executive Director.

I have immensely enjoyed my five years in the Chair. The commitment of our members and supporters to a healthy UN has been both heart-warming and politically important. And the results that the small, dedicated UNA-UK team has achieved, in terms of policy impact and thought leadership, have made me feel really proud. I have watched them turn UNA-UK into what I believe is the most respected UNA globally, with the 1 for 7 Billion campaign on improving how the UN selects its Secretary-General the flagship of a whole fleet of perceptive interventions on UN-related policy-making.

I am also extremely grateful to all the Trustees and Committee members who have given UNA-UK so much over the past half-decade. I have never worked with an organisation where people cared so much about making our programmes effective.

I wish everyone great success in implementing the strategic plan we have just agreed for the next three years, and look forward to remaining closely associated with the whole team as they confront the demands of an increasingly volatile world. We now need the UN, and a vibrant UNA-UK, more than ever.

The next issue of UNA-UK's magazine will feature an introductory op-ed by Lord Wood, and a farewell interview with Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

Click here to read Sir Jeremy's first interview with us, in which he explains his cautious stance on military intervention, why fragmentation is the biggest challenge facing the world and how enlightened self-interest, though it might sound like a 'weasel phrase', can lead to positive collective action.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UNA-UK event on 5 February 2016 (c) UNA-UK/Ed Thompson