Iceland, Bangladesh, Syria, The Gambia and Kazakhstan. The new Ambassadors — one woman and four men — of these five countries met with Pope Francis in the Clementine Hall on Saturday morning, 13 May, to present their Letters of Credence accrediting them to the Holy See. After receiving the Credentials of each Diplomat, the Pontiff delivered an address (see page 5) to them and their co-workers and family members. The following are summaries of the biographies of the new Ambassadors.
H.E. Mr Einar Gunnarsson, Ambassador of Iceland to the Holy See, was born in 1966 in Reykjavik. Mr Einar Gunnarsson is married with two children. He holds a licentiate in law from the University of Iceland (1992).
He has held the following offices: attorney at law, gáj Law Firm, Reykjavik (1992-1995); legal advisor / Deputy Director, Department of Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1996-1998); First Secretary / Advisor, Department of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1998-2000); counsellor, Embassy to the European Union, Brussels (2000- 2004); Deputy Permanent Representative / Minister Counsellor, Permanent Mission to International Organizations, Geneva (2004-2006); Director of Human Resources for the Foreign Service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2007-2008); Director - Principal Negotiator, Department of International Trade Negotiations, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2008-2009); Permanent Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-2014); Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York (2015-2018); Ambassador, Arctic Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2019-2021); Ambassador, Office of the Permanent Secretary of State, mfa (2021-2022); Ambassador and Permanent Representative to International Organizations, Geneva, and to Switzerland (from 2022).
H.E. Mr Mohammad Sufiur Rahman, Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Holy See was born on 1 December 1964 and is married with three children.
He graduated in civil engineering from the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology ( buet ), and holds a Master in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University. He attended courses at the nesa Centre of National Defence University, Washington, d.c. (in 2003 and in 2014).
He has held the following offices: First Secretary to the High Commission in India (1995-1999); counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the United Nations in Geneva (1999-2002); Director at the saarc Secretariat (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) (2004-2007); Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan (2008-2009); Director General at the saarc and Director General for Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-2012); High Commissioner in Sri Lanka (2012-2014); Ambassador in Myanmar (2014-2017); High Commissioner in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji (2017-2022).
Syrian Arab Republic
H.E. Mr Louay Fallouh, Ambassador of the Syrian Arab Republic to the Holy See, was born in Izraa, province of Daraa, on 21 December 1964. He is married with two children and is of Catholic Greek-Melkite religion.
He holds a licentiate in law from the University of Damascus (1986), and a diploma in international law specializing in commercial arbitration from the University of Reims (1995).
He has held the following positions: lecturer in Law at the University of Damascus (1996-2000); Third Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Department of International Hydraulic Resources, Department of Protocol, Department of Law, Department of Culture) (1998-2000); Second Secretary, Delegation to the United Nations, New York (2000-2005); First Secretary, Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs (2005-2006); First Secretary, Office of the Vice President of the Republic (2006-2007); First Secretary, Delegation to the United Nations, New York (2007-2013); Deputy-Director, Department of International Organizations and Congresses at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates (2013-2015); Minister-Counsellor and later Deputy Permanent Representative, Delegation to the United Nations (2015-2020); Director of the Department of Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2020-2022); Permanent Representative to unesco (from January 2023).
H.E. Dr Fatou Bom Bensouda, Ambassador of The Gambia to the Holy See, was born in Banjul on 31 January 1961. Dr Fatou Bom Bensouda is married with two children.
She graduated in law from the ife University in The Gambia and the Nigeria Law School in Lagos (1983-1987), and obtained a master’s degree from the un/imo International Maritime Law Institute (1991).
From 1982 to 1997 she worked as clerk of court, public prosecutor, state counsel, senior state counsel, principal state counsel, and counsel to the Commission of Inquiry into the Financial Activities of Public Corporations in The Gambia.
She subsequently held the following offices: Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, The Gambia (1993-1997); Attorney General and Secretary General of the Republic of The Gambia (1997-1998); Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice, The Gambia (1998-2000); private legal practitioner at “Ya Sadi Chambers”, and “Amie Bensouda and Co.”, Banjul (2000-2002); general manager at the International Bank for Commerce Ltd, Banjul (2002); legal advisor and counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda ( ictr ) (2002-2004); deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ( icc ) (2004-2012); chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ( icc ) (2012-2021); and High Commissioner of The Gambia in the United Kingdom (2022-2023).
H.E. Mr Kairat Sarzhanov, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the Holy See, was born on 24 February 1967. Mr Kairat Sarzhanov is married with two children.
He received his academic formation at the State University of Moscow (1987-1992) and the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Federation (1993-1995).
He has held the following offices, among others: attaché, then Third Secretary, International Security and Arms Control Unit, mfa (1995-1997); Second Secretary, State Protocol Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997-1999); First Secretary and then Counsellor, Multilateral Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1999-2002); First Secretary and then Counsellor, Embassy in Japan (2002-2006); Head of the International Organizations and Multilateral Cooperation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2006-2007); Counsellor, then Minister Counsellor, at the Embassy in the Czech Republic (2007-2011); Director of the Department of Administration and Control, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2011-2016); Ambassador to Brazil, (2016-2021); with accreditation in Argentina and Chile (2017-2021); Director of the Department of International Security, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2021-2022); and Ambassador to Switzerland (from 2022).