Sam Daws

Sam Daws

Director, Project on UN Governance and Reform, Centre for International Studies

Sam undertakes research on UN governance and reform issues, and maintains a wider interest in all aspects of UN related research and policy. He has served as an advisor to a variety of governments, international foundations and UN bodies.  He is currently designing the e-learning foundation course on the United Nations for the new Diplomatic Academy of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  He is a Senior Reseach Associate in the Centre for International Studies and a member of the Senior Common Room of St Antonys College, Oxford. 

Sam has served in a variety of UN related roles for over two decades. He recently served as Deputy Director (United Nations, Prime Ministers Post-2015 team) in the UK Cabinet Office from 2012-13. This included supporting the Prime Minister's role as Co-Chair of the UN High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda at meetings in Indonesia, Liberia, London and New York. He previously served as Senior Principal Research Analyst in the Multilateral Policy Directorate of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Sam was Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the UK from 2004 to 2010, and has served as the UK Representative of the United Nations Foundation. From 2000 to 2003 he served as First Officer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York.

Details of his academic publications and current research interests, as well as further bibliographic information can be found below.


Sam is the author or editor of six books on the politics and processes of the United Nations. Oxford University Press has recently (September 2014) published a 4th edition of his book "The Procedure of the UN Security Council" (with Loraine Sievers) . He is now working on a monograph on the political, historical, and legal dimensions of UN Security Council reform, also for Oxford University Press. He is also collating an eight volume set of journal articles on the UN for Sage Publications (with Natalie Samarasinghe) to be published in late 2015.

Sam is a former visiting fellow in international law at the University of Cambridge, and in UN studies at Yale University. He has been a visiting lecturer at the UN University in Tokyo and in the law faculty of University College London. He has a degree in Social Anthropology with African and Asian Studies, an MA in International Conflict Analysis (with a thesis on developing country approaches to international trade negotiation), and undertook doctoral studies in International Relations at New College, Oxford.

Sam has a number of postgradute qualifications obtained mid-career. Courses completed:

  • PG (Cert) Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment from CASS Business School
  • Leadership for Sustainable Development course of the UN University International Leadership Academy in Amman
  • Prime Ministers Top Management Programme of the UK National School of Government
  • Foundation and Endowment Asset Management programme of London Business School
  • Economics for Foreign Policy (advanced course for FCO staff) from the L.S.E.
  • Effective Multilateral Negotiation course of the Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiation, Geneva

He is the founder and managing director of 3D Strategy Ltd, a company which provides policy advice and services to international organisations, governments and foundations. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Academic Council on the UN System, of the World Federation of UN Associations, and on the steering committee of the International Public Policy Review. He has also served was Trust Secretary to the UNA Charitable Trust and as a trustee of the Gilbert Murray Trust. He founded and convened the UN Working Group of the British International Studies Association, and served on the BISA Executive Committee.

He is particularly keen to make contact with diplomats and researchers working on the topic of UN Security Council reform. He is keen to make contact with individuals who have experience in researching UN-related topics in national archives in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe (East and West).

Current research interests:

  • UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie and the Security Council (Sam is curerntly co-authoring a chapter on this topic with Ellen Jenny Ravndal for a forthcoming OUP volume)

  • The composition, voting procedures and reform of UN political organs

  • Legal interpretation of the UN Charter and UN resolutions

  • The history of international organisations

  • Governance and oversight of international organisations, including administrative, financial and human resources management

  • Teaching about international organisations

  • The UN Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 framework

  • UN Development System effectiveness

  • International foundation and private sector partnerships in the fields of health, technology, education, the environment and international development

  • Effectiveness in philanthropic grant management

  • Developing country perspectives on international organisations

  • The strategic communications function in international organisations and the use of new media

United Nations

Books authored

The Reform of the United Nations Security Council A Political, Historical, and Legal Analysis, Daws, S. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)

The Procedure of the UN Security Council, Sievers, L. and Daws S, Oxford University Press, 4th Edn, 2014

The Procedure of the UN Security Council, Bailey, S. and Daws, S. Oxford University Press, 3rd Edn., 1998

The United Nations A Concise Political Guide, Bailey, S. and Daws, S. Macmillan Press, 3rd Edn., 1994


Books edited

The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, Weiss, T. and Daws, S. Oxford University Press, paperback 2008, hardback 2007.

The United Nations: Volume 1: Systems and Structures, Daws, S. and Taylor, P. Ashgate, 2000

The United Nations: Volume 2: Functions and Futures, Daws, S. and Taylor, P. Ashgate, 2000

Documents on Reform of the United Nations, Taylor, P., Daws, S. and Adamczick-Gerteis, U. Dartmouth, 1997


Selected Articles and Reports

Daws, S. Security Council Reform The Dual Risks, Proceedings of an International Conference on UN Reform, Tehran, 2005

Tharoor, S. and Daws, S. Humanitarian Intervention: Getting Past the Reefs, World Policy Journal, Volume XVII, No. 2., pp 21-30, 2001

Stewart, F. and Daws, S. An Economic and Social Security Council at the United Nations, Working paper series, 2001 (based on an original 1995 report for Christian Aid)

Daws, S. The United Nations in the Twenty-First Century, Current Issues in International Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Volume II, HMSO, 2000 (Also published as a Wilton Park Paper, No. 135, 1998)

Daws, S. The Origins and Development of UN Electoral Groups in Thakur, R. (ed.) What is Equitable Geographic Representation in the 21st Century? United Nations University, Tokyo, 1999

Daws, S. Proposals to Reform the UN Security Council, Oxford Analytica, Daily Brief, 24 Feb, 1998

Daws, S. Seeking Seats, Votes and Vetoes, The World Today, pp 256-259. Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, 1997

Daws, S. The United Nations and its Agencies in Day, A.J. (ed.) The Annual Register. Cartermill, 1994 (similar UN reference articles contributed to The Annual Register of 1995, 1996 and 1997)

Daws, S. and Lt Commander Brady, C. UN Operations: The Political-Military Interface, International Peacekeeping, Volume 1 No. 1. Frank Cass, London, 1994

Daws, S. The UN and Peacekeeping in Shepherd, R. (ed.) Operational Research and Future International Security Operations, 1994 (Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Military Operational Research)

Daws, S. and Ryan, N. Extending Mechanisms for Cooperation between the UN and Regional Bodies in Preventive Diplomacy and Conflict Management in Bravo, L.F. (ed.) Prospects for Reform of the United Nations System. Societ Italiana Per La Organizzazione Internazionale, CEDAM-PADOVA, Rome, 1993.

Daws, S. Preventive Diplomacy A UN/NGO Partnership in the 1990s. United Nations University, Tokyo and International Alert, London, 1993

Daws, S. Memorandum on An Agenda for Peace. UNA, London, 1993

Daws S. and Long, S. The CSCE and the United Nations - Competitors or Partners?, Proceedings of the European UNA Conference on The New Europe in a Wider World, Helsinki, Finland. UNA, London, 1992

George, B. and Daws, S. The Alphabet Soup of European Security: The Evolving Role of NATO, WEU, EC, CSCE & the UN, Report to the General Committee on Security, 1992 (CSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Budapest)

Daws, S. Intellectual Property in International Trade: The Case of Developing Countries and the GATT Uruguay Round. University of Kent at Canterbury, MA thesis. Mimeo, 1991

Daws, S. La crise de lenvironnement et les PMA in Stocker S. (ed.) Les pays les moins avancs dans les annes 1990 - Entre la relance et loubli. ICDA, Bruxelles, Belgique, 1990

Daws, S. and Pryke, J. The Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries in Development Education Forum No.18. Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, 1990

McPherson, M. and Daws, S. United Nations Commission on Human Rights: 46th Session. Quaker UN Office, Geneva, 1990

Daws, S. Environmental Issues - A focus for NGO Lobbying, Dialogue No.14. Futura, Italy, 1990

McPherson, M., Hindley, J. and Daws, S. The UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities in IMADR Human Rights Handbook Volume 2, 1989

United Nations reform, including Security Council reform

Appointment of the UN Secretary-General

Selected Publications