Dr. Abi Williams

Dr. Abi Williams has extensive knowledge of and experience in the United Nations and peacekeeping, having served as a principal adviser to two Secretaries-General in the UN and in several peacekeeping operations. Dr. Williams has significant experience leading conflict prevention efforts at international organizations, and eminent think-tanks and academic institutions.

Dr. Abi Williams was appointed the first President of The Hague Institute for Global Justice on January 1, 2013. From 2011 to 2012 he served as Senior Vice President of the Center for Conflict Management at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC. He led USIP’s work in major conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. He served as Vice President of USIP’s Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention from 2008 to 2011, and had primary responsibility for the Institute’s work on conflict prevention, Iran, and Northeast Asia.

From 2001-2007, Dr. Williams served as Director of Strategic Planning in the Executive Office of the United Nations Secretary-General, where he was a principal adviser to Secretaries-General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan. He served in three peacekeeping operations in Macedonia, Haiti, and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1994 to 2000 as Special Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and Political and Humanitarian Affairs Officer.

Dr. Williams has also had valuable experience in academia. He has served as Associate Dean of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in Washington, DC, and held faculty appointments at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, University of Rochester, and Tufts University.

He is a Member of the Executive Board of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. Previously he served as Chair of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS), a Trustee of the Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada, and a Member of the International Board of Directors of the United World Colleges.

He is the author or editor of three books on conflict prevention and multilateral negotiations. He has received several awards including the Dr. Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University and the Constantine E. Maguire Medal from Georgetown University.

Dr. Williams attended Lester B. Pearson College, where he gained the International Baccalaureate Diploma. He holds an M.A. Honors in English Language and Literature from Edinburgh University, as well as an M.A.L.D. and a Ph.D. in International Relations from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.


Area of Focus/Interest

International Justice, United Nations

Current Projects

Active: Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) showcases eminent practitioners in international affairs and is the centerpiece of the Institute’s high-level engagement with practitioners and academics in the city…


Past Initiative: The Hague Approach

Justice can be a scarce commodity in countries affected by conflicts. The Hague Institute draws lessons from experiences of post-conflict rebuilding activities in Afghanistan…


Recent Work

© EC/ECHO/Dina Baslan

Re-thinking Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

Since 2015, Europe has struggled to respond effectively to the refugee crisis precipitated by conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere in the MENA…

News Brief
As the sun sets, hundreds line up for food at a transit camp near the Tunisia-Libya border. Credit: David Ohana/OCHA AVMU

G20 2016: Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance

We are confronted today by multiple crises that are complex in nature and global in scope. Seemingly intractable state fragility and violent extremism threaten…