Nina Lahoud

Member of the ILAC Board of Directors

 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 at critical historic junctures in Lebanon (as UNIFIL Legal Adviser), Namibia (as UNTAG Deputy Legal Adviser), Cambodia (as UNTAC Senior Legal Adviser), Croatia (as UNPF Special Assistant to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG)), Kosovo (as UNMIK Chief of Staff to the SRSG), and East Timor (as UNTAET Director/Office of the DSRSG).  

While working in the UN 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 DPKOincluding as Principal Officer to the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (until August 2016), 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.  She also contributed submissions for the high-level “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. On UNIFEM’s behalf, she spearheaded and led the organization, in partnership with ILAC, of two international conferences on gender justice in post-conflict situations, with the reports submitted to and issued as official documents of the UN Security Council and the General Assembly (see UN doc. no. S/2004/862 and no. S/2005/669-A/60/444).

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” (see  

Ms. Lahoud holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and a Certificate in Islamic Law from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She 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 organizations.  In December 2018, she was appointed by the Office of the UN Secretary-General as a member of the Advisory Group to the High-Level Task Force on Financing for Gender Equality.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of ILAC, she is a member of 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 critical global matters) and a member of the Global Leadership Council of Seeds of Peace (a leadership development organization which brings youth and educators from conflict-affected regions together to equip them with skills needed to work to create more just and inclusive societies). Most recently, in September 2020, Ms. Lahoud wrote an article on “What Fueled the Far-Reaching Impact of the Windhoek Declaration and Namibia Plan of Action as a Milestone for Gender Mainstreaming in UN Peace Support Operations and Where Is Implementation 20 Years Later” in the Journal of International Peacekeeping (Vol. 24 (2020) 1-52).