John Bell has worked for over two decades on Middle East politics, policy development and mediation. He was worked and lived in Cairo, Beirut, Gaza and Jerusalem. He is today Director of the Middle East and Mediterranean Programme at the Toledo International Centre for Peace (CITpax) in Madrid, Senior Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa at Crisis Management Initiative in Helsinki, Finland, Senior Advisor at Search for Common Ground on the question of Syria, and was formerly Middle East Director in Jerusalem for Search for Common Ground, a global conflict resolution organization.
At CITpax, Mr. Bell has been involved in various discrete Track II mediation efforts between conflicted parties in the Middle East, as well as policy development inititiaves at the regional and sub-regional level. He is also a former United Nations and Canadian diplomat who served as a political officer at Canada’s embassy in Cairo, a member of Canada’s delegation to the Refugee Working Group in the peace process, Political Advisor to the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for southern Lebanon, advisor to the Canadian Government during the Iraq crisis in 2002-03, and consultant to International Crisis Group on developments in Jerusalem in 2004.
Mr. Bell is also a founding member of the “Jerusalem Old City Initiative” (University of Windsor), an effort to find creative options for this contentious issue. Mr. Bell also has extensive experience in communications as spokesperson for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and Communications Coordinator for the Signing Conference for the International Treaty to Ban Landmines in Ottawa, 1997.
He has lectured on Middle East issues at universities in Canada and Spain (University of Toronto, IE Business School), as well as the Canadian Foreign Service Institute and has written articles on these matters in newspapers and journals across the globe. Today, he also has a cultural blog on the region: http://albabblog.blogspot.com. Mr. Bell is fluent in English, Arabic and French.