Global Agenda 2004

FEB 18
MAR 10
MAR 31
APR 14
APR 28
MAY 12

Mr. Zahir Jamal and Ambassador Kenton Keith

Zahir Jamal

United Nations Development Programme, Editor of Arab Human Development report

Kenton Keith

Meridian International Center, Washington; former U.S. diplomat in the Arab and Muslim worlds


ZAHIR JAMAL, Chief of Regional Programmes in the Arab States, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Zahir Jamal oversees regional programmes in the Arab States in Mark Malloch Brown’s UNDP administration.

He works directly with Rima Khalaf Hunaidi, the regional bureau director and former deputy prime minister of Jordan. His most recent project with her is the series of Arab Human Development Reports.

Jamal, a veteran of UNDP, has served as senior policy adviser to three UNDP chief executive officers; as secretary of the organization’s top decision-making team and as a senior strategic analyst, among other postings.

A graduate of Oxford University where he took First Class Honors in English, he was senior lecturer at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, and worked at Newsweek International before joining UNDP.

He is the editor of the English translation of the second Arab Human Development Report, which was launched in Cairo at the League of Arab States on October 14, 2003.

Ambassador Keith assumed the duties of Senior Vice President of Meridian International Center in late 1997 after a career as a Foreign Service Officer with the United State Information Agency. His primary responsibility at Meridian is management of the professional exchanges activities associated with the State Department’s International Visitor Program. He retired from USIA with the rank of Career Minister.

At the time of his retirement, Ambassador Keith was Director of USIA's Office of North African, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, managing field operations, public diplomacy activities and budget for the Agency’s largest geographical bureau.

From 1992 to 1995 he served as Ambassador to the State of Qatar. Previous assignments were Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs in Cairo, Senior Cultural Affairs Officer in Paris and various posts in the Near East (including Iraq and Lebanon), in Turkey and Brazil. In 1996 Ambassador Keith served as USIA representative to the interagency planning team charged with designing the reorganization of foreign affairs agencies.

Ambassador Keith has received two Presidential meritorious service awards and various individual and group superior and meritorious honor awards, including one for his work at the 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid. He is a Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters, an honor conferred by the French government in recognition of his contribution to cultural and educational exchange between France and the U. S.

Ambassador Keith serves as chair of the Alliance for International Cultural and Educational Exchange. He is currently president of the Association of Black American Ambassadors.

Kenton Keith was appointed the Department of State’s Special Envoy to Islamabad from November 2001 to January 2002 to set up and direct the Coalition Information Center in Pakistan and to serve as the spokesperson on Coalition activity in Afghanistan. This included briefing world media on developments in the military, political and humanitarian objectives of Coalition nations in the conflict against international terrorism following the attacks on the United States in September 2001.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Keith is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a major in International Relations. Ambassador Keith served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1965. He is married to the former Mireille Luc and has two grown children.