After leaving the law firm of Shearman & Sterling in 1983 to join the UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon/UNIFIL (as the first woman Legal Adviser appointed to a mission), Nina Lahoud served with the United Nations for over 33 years.
She dealt extensively with legal, rule of law, peacekeeping, development and gender matters while serving in various offices at UN Headquarters and in six UN peacekeeping operations deployed in Lebanon, Namibia, Cambodia, Croatia, Kosovo and East Timor at critical historic junctures. While working in the Office of Legal Affairs for over a decade, she handled diverse peacekeeping matters, and then transferred to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in 1997 during a surge in peacekeeping activity worldwide. She assumed wide-ranging functions in DPKO, most recently (until August 2016) as Principal Officer to the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, where she developed proposals for strengthening the gender architecture of multidimensional UN peacekeeping missions and the integration of gender expertise throughout mission planning and assessment processes, and also contributed submissions for the Independent Global Study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security .
Among earlier assignments, she served as DPKO’s Deputy Director of the Asia and Middle East Division (and the Asia Integrated Operational Team Leader), Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, and Head of the Rule of Law Project where she spearheaded the establishment of the Secretary-General’s Executive Committee on Peace and Security “Task Force for Development of Comprehensive Rule of Law Strategies for Peace Operations” and headed its secretariat. She also undertook a number of special assignments with other UN entities, including as Principal Officer to the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Iraq, Special Gender Adviser to the Under-Secretary-General of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (where she co-chaired a Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women comprising 23 UN regional entities), and Special Adviser to the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on Peace and Security and Rule of Law Programmes (where she led the organisation, in partnership with ILAC, of two international conferences on gender justice in post-conflict situations).
During special leave from the UN, Ms. Lahoud served as a 2013 Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow and then as a 2014 Senior Fellow. During the fellowship, she developed a pilot project to establish a “Gender Justice Leadership Pathway Initiative” to support women legal and judicial professionals from conflict-affected countries, and launched the pilot phase of the Initiative’s “Network of Gender Justice Mentors and Peers”. She holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and a Certificate in Islamic Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from Harvard University. Ms. Lahoud is actively involved in various legal, social justice and gender initiatives, including as a member of a number of U.S. and international professional legal and foreign policy organisations. She is also an appointed Member of the Global Leadership Council of Seeds of Peace, a peacebuilding and leadership development organisation which brings youth and educators from conflict-affected regions together to inspire and equip them with the relationships, understanding and skills needed to advance reconciliation and lasting peace, and serves on the Advisory Board of PassBlue, an independent digital publication offering in-depth journalism on the US-UN relationship as well as human rights, peacekeeping, women’s issues, and other urgent global matters.