Bernardino León

“The Arab Spring: Perspectives from Egypt, Tunisia and Libya”

Wednesday 27th May 2015



About the speaker: Bernardino León Gross is a Spanish diplomat and politician, currently appointed the United Nations Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. Prior to this appointment by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he served as the European Union Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean. León is a former Secretary General at the office of the Spanish Prime Minister, Sherpa for the G20 and Spanish Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. His diplomatic career has mainly been devoted to the Arab world where his mediating efforts in peace-process negotiations have been highly acknowledged.


About the event: Mr. Bernardino Leon visited Oxford for a few hours on the 27th of May 2015. He first had a 30-minute Q&A session with students enrolled in the Blavatnik School of Government’s Master in Public Policy programme. During that session he was asked about the challenges faced by Libya since the downfall of Gaddafi, as well as about broader issues of state capacity building. After this closed event, and at BSG’s Lecture Theatre, Mr. Leon gave a brief open talk on recent developments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, followed by a conversation with Professor Monica Toft. Mr. Leon provided an overview of the Arab Spring since 2011, its successes, failures, and ongoing struggles. He also explained the tight calendar under which the various international actors are operating under in order to find a solution to the current instability and violence in Libya, and expressed hope that a ceasefire could be agreed soon and a National Unity Government constituted before the end of the summer. There was time for a brief Q&A with the audience before Mr. Leon had to leave for Brussels.


The Madariaga Series would like to thank Mr. Leon for finding the time, at a moment of great turmoil in Libya, to come to Oxford and speak to us about his work as the UN’s Special envoy there. We would also like to thank the Blavatnik School of Government for hosting his talk, and in particular Prof. Toft for all her help and guidance in planning this event.