Oxford Technology & Security Nexus: Multilateral Institutions & AI governance

This week, Sam Daws will be speaking about multilateral institutions and AI, as well as the current UN negotiations on AI governance.

About the speaker

Sam Daws works on the interface of multilateral policy, diplomatic strategy, and geopolitics, with a focus on AI governance. He has worked in UN-related policy roles for over three decades. From 2000 to 2003 he served as First Officer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York. He later served as Deputy Director in the UK Cabinet Office supporting the Prime Minister’s role as Co-Chair of the UN Panel on the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals. His previous roles included Senior Principal Research Analyst in the Multilateral Policy Directorate of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Executive Director of the United Nations Association of the UK, and UK Representative of the United Nations Foundation.

In his early career he worked in India at a hospice in Calcutta (Kolkata) and a renewable energy project in Ladakh, and later for the Quaker UN Office in Geneva at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served as a Parliamentary researcher for the incoming Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, and as the inaugural head of UNA-UK’s UN and Conflict programme.

Sam is a Senior Practitioner Associate in the Department of Politics and International Relations, with an interest in all aspects of UN research and policy. He has served as policy lead and Senior Advisor to Oxford University’s collaboration with the UN’s Academic Impact initiative, and has directed a UN Governance and Reform project for over ten years. He recently also served as Special Advisor to the Rector of the United Nations University, and as an Associate Fellow in the International Law Programme of Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs). He has written or co-edited 14 books on the UN including The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations (OUP, 2007 and 2nd edn. 2018) and The Procedure of the UN Security Council (OUP, 1998 and 4th edn. 2014).

His current policy focus is on the international governance of Artificial Intelligence. He is Senior Advisor to the start-up DiploAI, and the founding director of the diplomacy policy network, mulltilateral.ai. He has also served as strategic advisor on AI governance to the Simon Institute for Longterm Governance in Geneva.
Sam has served as an advisor to a variety of governments, international foundations and UN bodies including the office of four successive UN Secretaries-General. He designed the inaugural digital training on the UN for the FCO’s Diplomatic Academy, and has trained diplomats from a range of countries on how to navigate the politics and processes of the UN. He is a visiting lecturer on the international staff course of the Royal College of Defence Studies in London, on the MSc in International Strategy and Diplomacy at the LSE, and on the Oxford University Diplomatic Studies Programme. He has also taught courses on the UN and international negotiation for visiting students at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has served for ten years as a Sector Consultant (industry advisor – IOs and public policy) to Oxford University’s Saïd Business School.
Sam has a degree in social anthropology with African and Asian development studies, and a Masters in international conflict analysis. He studied for a DPhil at New College, Oxford in international relations (on UN Security Council reform) but left for New York before completing his doctorate to work for the UN Secretary-General. He later spent a year at the University of Cambridge as a Visiting Fellow in International Law and was a visiting fellow at Yale University in UN studies. He has undertaken executive courses in international negotiation at the Centre d’études pratiques de la négociation internationale in Geneva; in environment and human security at the UNU leadership academy in Amman, Jordan; and in economics for foreign policy at the LSE.

He is Director of the advisory firm 3D Strategy Ltd. He has a postgraduate qualification from Cass Business School in Grantmaking, Philanthropy and Social Investment. In 2009 he completed the one-year executive leadership and management programme (TMP 91) of the National School of Government, sponsored by the Cabinet Office. He previously studied Foundation and Endowment Asset Management at London Business School. He is completing the AI Programme at Oxford’s Saïd Business School.

Sam has been a non-executive director on the Boards of the Academic Council on the UN System and the World Federation of UN Associations, He was trust secretary to the UNA-UK charitable trust and a trustee of the Gilbert Murray Trust. He founded and convened the UN working group of the British International Studies Association, and served on BISA’s national executive committee.