Folke Bernadotte Academy – Swedish agency for peace, security and development

Sofia Zitouni

Political adviser in Palestine

Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) is a civilian mission observing and reporting on the situation in the city of Hebron, located in the West Bank in Palestine.

The mission was established in 1997, called for by Israeli and Palestinian authorities, and it is upheld by six contributing countries, among them Sweden. Sofia Zitouni is on secondment from the FBA as political adviser to TIPH.

Sofia, can you describe a typical day at work?

– My work is all about following the regional political development, and its potential impact on Hebron and TIPH. I provide the mission, especially the mission leadership, with political analysis and strategic advice. I have to create a personal network and meet with various local actors in order to stay up to date with regional and local dynamics and events. Every day is different. One day I may go on patrol with TIPH’s observers to get an overview of the situation in a certain area, and the next day I may have a meeting with a local actor such as the mayor of Hebron. I also give lectures to visitors on the situation in Hebron and the role of TIPH.

What did you do prior to your secondment to TIPH?

– I have been working with development aid during most of my professional life, with a focus on human rights and democracy in countries affected by conflict or political instability. Prior to my secondment to TIPH I have been stationed at Swedish embassies and consulates in Bosnia, Egypt, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Jerusalem. I have been especially fascinated by the Middle East ever since studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies at university.

Why is your work in TIPH important and what challenges do you face?

– TIPH’s mandate is to observe and report on breaches of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. We stay in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian representatives in the city. Hebron is the only city on the West Bank that is divided between Israelis and Palestinians, and there is strong tension between the Palestinian and the Jewish parts. The greatest challenge is facing people’s frustration over the long-running conflict and its consequences, and to keep faith with a solution to the conflict.

Photo: TIPH

Learn more about our impact in the field

Akiko Ahl

Stabilization and coordination officer in Somalia

Read more about Akiko

Björn Tedeman

Election observer

Read more about Björn

Gabriel von Horn

Head of operations in Georgia

Read more about Gabriel

Karolina Riedel

Statistician in election observation missions

Read more about Karolina

Mimmi Milligan

Reintegration adviser in Geneva

Read more about Mimmi

Tomas Sevén

Patrol hub leader in Ukraine

Read more about Tomas


Looking back at a year of election observation

Liberia, Kyrgyzstan and Honduras. Kenya, Kosovo and Nepal. Those are just a handful of the countries that have held elections during 2017, to which FBA has deployed election observers. “It has been an exciting year. And 2018 looks just as interesting, with forthcoming elections in Russia, Cambodia and Zimbabwe, only to name a few”, says Maja Tjernström who works with election observation at FBA.

2017-12-22 14:37

Read our publications

Image description

Putting Civilians First: NGO Perceptions and Expectations of UN Peacekeeping

NGOs and UN peacekeeping operations increasingly operate in a shared domain. NGOs commonly rely – at least partly – on UN peacekeepers for access and security, but they also express concerns about this. Yet remarkably little is known about what are their main concerns and how widespread they are. Even more importantly, what can be done to address them? This FBA Brief, written by members of one of the FBA’s research working groups, examines the answers to those questions.

Han Dorussen, Marian de Vooght



  • Posted by Andreas Berg

    Back ‘home’ in Kosovo and remembering old lessons

    The distinct smell of coal dust creeps into your nose as soon as you step off the plane in Pristina, a strange and familiar welcome back greeting for those of us intimate with this small corner of Europe. I felt it again in November 2017 when I came to Kosovo for a few days of visiting old friends and colleagues. For anyone with strong memories of living in a foreign country, you will remember the joys ... Read entire post »

    2017-12-13 11:21
  • Posted by Sabrina Karim

    Liberia after Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    On November 8 2005, Liberians elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to be the first female president of an African country. She made history that day and she oversaw fourteen years of peace in a country that had experienced two decades of devastating armed conflict. In 2011, she was re-elected and won the Nobel Peace Prize. Her fame and legacy has brought widespread international attention onto Liberia.

    On October 10, 2017, Liberians will go to the polls for the ... Read entire post »

    2017-10-06 15:28
  • Posted by Maja Jakobsson

    Strengthening forces for peace through experience-sharing

    The security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated as of late, with the highest number of conflict-related civilian casualties in 2016 since 2009. The efforts for a formal and sustainable peace process are insufficient and face numerous obstacles. Violent battles between government and Taliban forces have resulted in new districts falling under Taliban power. Attacks by other groups, loyal to the Islamic State, are increasing in numbers.

    Despite this, there are still strong forces for peace in Afghanistan. ... Read entire post »

    2017-09-21 16:18

Eldridge Adolfo

Eldridge Adolfo is expert on South Sudan, Colombia, Sierra Leone and preventive diplomacy

More about our experts

Upcoming courses