Giandomenico Picco
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Giandomenico Picco founded GDP Associates in 1994 to provide risk solutions to companies mainly operating in the Middle East region. From 1992 to 1994, he served as a director of international affairs of Montedison Group, a chemical and agro-industrial conglomerate. For the previous 20 years, he was an official of the United Nations and was head of the task force that brought about the end of the Iran-Iraq conflict. He also was a member of the team that negotiated the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he led the United Nations ground operation that freed the Western hostages in Beirut.

Picco was appointed the 2001 Personal Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations. Since 2001, Picco has been a member of the U.N. Secretariat Policy Working Group on terrorism, and in 2003 he was appointed Advisor to the U.N. Secretary General. He is also president of the Non-Governmental Peace Strategies Project in Geneva, a nonprofit institute aimed at devising new vehicles for the private sector to support peace efforts.

For his role in the resolution of the hostage saga in Lebanon, Picco was presented with the United States Presidentís Special Award for Exceptional Service, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the United Kingdomís Order of St. Michael and St. George, Lebanonís Order of the CŤdre du Liban, and Italyís Order of Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica.

Picco holds a graduate degree in political science from the University of Padua, an MA in international relations and comparative politics from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a diploma in European integration studies from the University of Amsterdam. He also attended the University of Prague and has received several honorary degrees.