Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN New York

Karen Pierce DCMG


Karen Pierce became the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York in March 2018. Prior to this role, Karen served as the Director General for Political Affairs and Chief Operating Officer of the Foreign and Commonwealth in London, from 2016.

Karen joined the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1981. Her first role was in Tokyo between 1984 and 1987, after which she returned to the UK to work in the Security Policy Department. Karen worked in Washington as the Private Secretary to the British Ambassador to the United States between 1992 and 1995. Between 1996 and 2006, Karen held several positions in London including Team Leader for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Deputy Head of Eastern Adriatic (Balkans) Department, Head of Newsroom, Head of EU Department (Bilateral) and concurrently Head of Afghanistan Political Military Unit after 9/11 before returning to the Balkans as Balkans Coordinator from 2002 to 2006.

In 2006, Karen moved to New York for the first time to be the Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador at the UK Mission to the UN. In 2009, she returned to London to become the Director of South Asia and Afghanistan Department and the UK’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2012, Karen started her second multilateral role, this time in Geneva, where she was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UK Mission to the United Nations, World Trade Organization and Other International Organisations until 2015. Between 2015 and 2016 Karen was the UK’s Ambassador to Afghanistan.

Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN New York

The Ambassador’s role is to represent the UK within an international organisation, engaging with every other country or organisation that belongs to or observes the body. The Ambassador is also responsible for the direction and work of the Mission. Ambassadors to multilateral missions are often referred to as ‘Permanent Representatives’.

Previous roles in government

  1. Director General, Political

    • 2017 to 2018
  2. Chief Operating Officer

    • 2016 to 2017
  3. British Ambassador to Afghanistan

    • 2015 to 2016
  4. Ambassador and Permanent Representative, UK Mission to the UN and Other International Organisations, Geneva

    • 2012 to 2015


  1. A historic vote for the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo
  2. Addressing starvation and the humanitarian crisis in Yemen
  3. Farewell to Special Envoy and reflections on the political situation in Syria
  4. Condemning Hizballah's illegal activities
  5. Obstacles to peace in Israel and Palestine
  6. Sustainable normalisation through dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia
  7. Looking to the new year for progress to peace in Afghanistan
  8. Steps towards peace in Yemen
  9. Finding a peaceful resolution to tensions in Haiti
  10. Participating in the JCPoA and ending Iran's destabilising regional behaviour