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Afghanistan and Middle East specialist
Gerard Russell was a diplomat for 14 years, working in Jerusalem, Baghdad and as head of the British mission in western Saudi Arabia. Between 2001 and 2003 he designed and headed up the UK effort to reach out to opinion in the Arab and broader Islamic world. In 2005 he was adviser to the Iraqi Prime Minister. Between 2007 and 2008 he headed the political team at the British Embassy in Kabul. He then returned to Kabul with the United Nations in 2009, serving as a senior political adviser to Ambassador Peter Galbraith and heading the United Nations Elections Center until his resignation in autumn 2009. He speaks Arabic and Dari. He was awarded the MBE in 2002.