Secretary-General Designates James Swan of United States Acting Special Representative for Somalia, Head of United Nations Assistance Mission

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced today the designation of James Swan of the United States as his Acting Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).  Mr. Swan will act as Special Representative for a temporary period following the departure of Catriona Laing of the United Kingdom, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for her dedicated service in UNSOM and Somalia at a challenging time.

Mr. Swan is an experienced diplomat with a long career in African countries facing complex political transitions.  Most recently, he served as Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM from 2019 to 2022.  Prior to that, he served in the United States Government as Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2013 to 2016, Special Representative for Somalia from 2011 to 2013, and Ambassador to Djibouti from 2008 to 2011.

In his earlier career, Mr. Swan was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2006 to 2008, and Director of African Analysis in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 2005 to 2006.  Prior to holding these assignments, Mr. Swan held various assignments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, Somalia, Cameroon, Nicaragua and Haiti.

Mr. Swan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a master’s degree in security studies from the National War College, all in the United States. He is fluent in English and French.


* This press release supersedes Press Release SG/A/1877 of 30 May 2019.

For information media. Not an official record.