Joseph J. Stephanides served on several diplomatic positions with the Cypriot Foreign Service, including that of Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, before he joined the United Nations in 1980. He served with the Secretariat for 28 years before retiring in October 2009. Among the positions he held were Deputy Director of the West Asia Regional Division in the Department of Political Affairs, Senior Officer at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, Deputy Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Human Rights Division. Mr. Stephanides served as Director of the Security Council Affairs Division, Department of Political Affairs, Chief of the Sanctions Branch, as well as Chief of the Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch. Mr. Stephanides's broad experience in United Nations peacekeeping missions has taken him to service as Head of the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General in the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Head of the Kamanjab and Sesfontein Political Office of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG).
Still with the Secretariat at the time of this interview, conducted on 20 April 1998, Mr. Stephanides shares his experiences with his work with UNTAG in Namibia, from the conditions of the camp and communications on the ground to how his team registered voters for the elections.