New York think-tank taps Martin Kimani to 'build bridges' of justice

Martin Kimani

Kenya’s outgoing Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr Martin Kimani.

Photo credit: Pool

A top New York think-tank has hired Kenya's outgoing permanent representative to the United Nations as its next boss.

Dr Martin Kimani will be the next executive director of the Center on International Cooperation (CIC), a non-profit research centre at New York University (NYU). He will take up his new post on June 3 this year, according to a press release from the centre.

It closes a chapter on a diplomat who is widely respected in Kenya and abroad.

President William Ruto has nominated former Turkana County Speaker Erastus Lokaale to replace him in New York.

But he must first be vetted by parliament before formally taking up his post, which could take up to two months. Kimani will not formally leave his post as envoy until his successor is ready.

Dr Kimani has been Permanent Representative to the UN since December 2020 and will be remembered for his rousing speech to the UN Security Council when Russia launched war on Ukraine in February 2022.

Non-permanent member

At the time, Kenya was a non-permanent member of the Council.

“We must complete our recovery from the embers of dead empires in a way that does not plunge us back into new forms of domination and oppression,” Dr Kimani said on February 21, 2022.

His new employers said they wanted to draw on his experience as a diplomat and leader.

Dr Kimani said it was a privilege to lead CIC “as we stand at the crossroads of global challenges that demand robust, ambitious multilateral cooperation.”

“I extend my deepest thanks to NYU and all involved for entrusting me with the opportunity to draw upon CIC’s expertise to develop innovative solutions and pursue meaningful change on a global scale,” he said in a statement.

The CIC says it promotes "international cooperation to prevent crises and promote peace, justice and inclusion, and is a leading global think tank on multilateralism".

It said Dr Kimani's appointment was intended to produce "practical, principled and evidence-based action" to address the world's most pressing challenges.

Local contribution

Dr Kimani's local contribution in Kenya has been as Special Envoy for Countering Violent Extremism and as Director of the National Counter Terrorism Centre, where he helped transform the counter-terrorism message.

Previously, he was Director of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development's (Igad) Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism, tasked with cross-border conflict prevention and resolution efforts in the Horn of Africa. Previously, he served as Permanent Representative to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat).

Regionally, he has been involved in other peace initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

A Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, Dr Kimani holds a PhD in War Studies from King's College London.