BSIS PhD researcher Octavius Pinkard recent work in Beirut with the National Democratic Institute
11 May 2018
Octavius Pinkard, a PhD Researcher at the University of Kent, was recently in Lebanon as part of a small team of experts fielded led by the National Democratic Institute, a Washington-based organization founded and led by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The delegation arrived in Beirut on 02 May, and was deployed throughout the country to monitor and assess the parliamentary election that took place on Sunday, 06 May. The group was comprised of government officials and regional experts drawn from 13 countries. It included current and former members of parliament from Sweden, Jordan, Morocco, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The delegation was led by Peter MacKay, who previously served as Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs (2006-2007) and Minister of National Defense (2007-2013); by Mohamed Ouzzine, the Deputy Speaker of the Moroccan Parliament; and by Birgitta Ohlsson, former Swedish Minister of European Affairs. Originally scheduled for June 2013, the election was postponed multiple times as a result of dynamics related to the conflict in neighboring Syria, and due to the inability of domestic leaders to reach a consensus on electoral and political reform. The last national election in Lebanon was held in 2009.
Octavius was invited to join the mission because of his expertise on Lebanon and his extensive experience with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the world’s largest regional security body. His past assignments have included missions to Belarus, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and multiple deployments to Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. He was seconded to each mission by the US Department of State. Octavius’ research on conflict-generated diasporas examines Lebanese communities in the United States and Senegal. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Visiting Researcher at both SOAS (University of London), and Lebanese American University in Beirut. He has also been interviewed by BBC News for his perspective on security in Lebanon.
The preliminary statement by the National Democratic Institute may be found here: