THE Archbishop of Canterbury is to serve on a newly established United Nations board on mediation, advising the UN Secretary-General on initiatives for peace.
Archbishop Welby is the only religious leader among the 18 current and former global leaders invited to join the new advisory board, which the Secretary-General, António Guterres, said formed part of his “surge in diplomacy for peace”. All those invited on to the board were “internationally recognised personalities,” Mr Guterres’s office said.
The new board “brings together an unparalleled range of experience, skills, knowledge, and contacts” and “will provide the Secretary-General with advice on mediation initiatives, and back specific mediation efforts around the world”.
Mr Guterres wanted to strengthen the UN’s work in conflict prevention and mediation, and the board was expected to allow the UN “to work more effectively with regional organisations, non-governmental groups, and others involved in mediation around the world”, his office said.
Those joining the board include the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet; the former chair of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, Radhika Coomaraswamy; and Graça Machel, the human-rights campaigner, who is the widow of Nelson Mandela.
Lambeth Palace said that Archbishop Welby had made supporting the position of the Church as peacemaker was one of the priorities of his ministry, and that he was “honoured” to be asked to join the board.
Archbishop Welby was the Canon for Reconciliation Ministry at Coventry Cathedral before being consecrated bishop.