On Wednesday 2 June, Forward Thinking held an online workshop with Stephanie Williams.  

From 2020-2021, Stephanie Williams was the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General (2020- 21), at the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). During her tenure, Stephanie led the United Nations’ mediation that resulted in a nation-wide Libyan ceasefire agreement signed on October 23, 2020 and a political agreement reached on February 5, 2021 that produced Libya’s first unity government in seven years. Under her direction, the parties to the Libyan conflict also agreed to the holding of national elections on December 24, 2021.  

Stephanie provided an overview of the Libyan context and shared her insights from the mediation process that she led. Stephanie underlined the importance of ensuring that mediation processes are inclusive, transparent and considerate of the various nuances will exist within a specific context.    

The participants were able to ask Stephanie questions on a range of issues including the role that gender can play in mediation and the influence of the United Nations in international conflict resolution. The process of bringing mediation online through ‘digital dialogue’ during the coronavirus pandemic was also discussed. Stephanie also shared her advice on how participants could pursue their own career within the UN.  

This meeting was the third in a series of workshops focused on conflict resolution and international politics that have been developed by Forward Thinking in response to needs highlighted by young people with whom we work. The aim of these meetings is to ensure that those with whom we work that have an interest in conflict resolution are equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to create positive change.  

Speaker Biography 

Stephanie Turco Williams served as United Nations Deputy Special Representative for Political Affairs (2018-20) and Acting Special Representative of the Secretary General (2020- 21), at the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).  

Before joining the United Nations, Stephanie spent 24 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. Her last assignment prior to her retirement in 2018 was Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. at the United States Embassy in Tripoli (Libya External Office). She also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Missions in Iraq (2016-2017), Jordan (2013-2015) and Bahrain (2010- 2013) and as a Senior Adviser on Syria.