With 35 years of diplomatic experience, Farukh Amil has served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Japan, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva and Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in New York. He also served in Washington, Ankara and Cairo.
Prior to leaving the world of formal diplomacy, Farukh has held several key positions including Chair of G-77 (2018), Chair OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference, 2017-2019), President UNCTAD Commission on Investment, Enterprise and Development (2018). He also served on Human Rights Council (2018) and Conference on Disarmament (2017-18) was elected Asia-Pacific Member of Human Rights Council Working Group on Situations (2018) and elected as President of CCW (Certain Conventional Weapons 2019).
He can now be heard speaking at international seminars, thinktanks, the UN and many universities across the world on multilateral topics ranging from sustainable development goals to LAWS (Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems).
His multidisciplinary approach reflects his education which includes a diverse range of academic qualifications ranging from Physical Geography to Transportation Planning to International Law to Global Security issues.
What are you working on now?
I remain engaged at the multilateral fora including with the UN, for example the High-Level Summit of UNOCT (UN Office of Counter Terrorism). As Director (Future of Youth) for the London-based thinktank The Gazi Project, my goals are to work on proposals to provide inclusivity through education for those who are marginalized or excluded, especially those displaced by conflict. I am also fortunate to have been selected by the UN for the pool of potential candidates for SRSG/DSRSG positions and other senior level appointments in the field. I look forward to continuing my contribution for the UN/multilateral goals.
How has your career led to this?
My experience and interaction at the multilateral level and in diplomacy in general across the world has lent itself to my continuing interest, whether it was participating in the First South-South Human Rights Forum (Beijing) or the NATO WMD Conference (Reykjavik) or the UNEP International Environmental Governance (Algiers), the goal was always to pursue understanding.
I retain a keen interest based on equality and fairness of society, especially given the additional complexities resulting from Climate Change and unfair trading practices, which includes education, children and women’s empowerment. Flowing from a career-long commitment to Human Dignity I championed the term ‘Freedom from Poverty is a Human Right Too’ which continues to guide me. Since 2006 I have been advocating the theme that ‘There is No Planet B, Yet’.
With experience in the UN General Assembly and Security Council in New York to the Conference on Disarmament and Human Rights Council in Geneva, I strive for inclusive multilateral solutions for global issues. As the Asia-Pacific Member on the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Situations I endeavoured for balanced outcomes. My focus has always been to seek convergences and persevere with ‘Bridge-building’- as exemplified by the first ever OIC-EU Joint Resolution in history.
What one thing would you most want someone to learn from what you've done or are doing right now?
To share my experience with the upcoming generation of the lessons learned and to learn from them their views and aspirations. My core aim would be to draw people towards the centre, to logic, to discourse, to reason and to hope - and in a complex world, pursue the objective of intellectual inclusivity. Marginalizing or ignoring, even those one may not agree with, cannot create durable solutions for today’s problems. I would also like to encourage the youth to avoid extremism in favour of mutual respect and understanding through conversation, engagement and education, especially through the rationality that STEM imparts.
What do you think of Jesus College and the Intellectual Forum?
I was very much impressed and inspired by an Intellectual Forum event in which I participated in May 2019. The presence and quality of the audience in particular clearly underlined the genuine academic enquiry into difficult subjects with a welcome, honest seriousness. The Intellectual Forum is guided by an eminent team led by the Director and I feel it presents many opportunities for research and discourse with people from a variety of backgrounds. And once COVID-19 is behind us, I look forward to much more meaningful interaction.