Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein is Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States. Born on January 26, 1964, in Amman, Jordan, to Prince Ra’ad bin Zeid head of the Royal Houses of Iraq and Syria and pretender to the Iraqi throne, he also serves as Jordan’s non-resident Ambassador to Mexico. In 1987, Prince Zeid earned a BA from The Johns Hopkins University at which he was a member of the university’s rugby club. He later earned a PhD from Cambridge (Christ’s College) in 1993.
He served as a political affairs officer in UNPROFOR in the former Yugoslavia from February 1994 to February 1996. From 1996-2000, Prince Zeid was Jordan’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN, with the rank of ambassador, and from 2000-2007 he served as Jordan’s ambassador to the UN.
In September 2002, he was elected the first president of the governing body of the International Criminal Court, and in the spring of 2004, he was chosen to be chairman of the Panel of Experts for the UN Secretary-General’s Trust Fund to Assist States in the Settlement of Disputes through the International Court of Justice, in the matter relating to the boundary dispute between Benin and Niger.
Prince Zeid was also appointed as Jordan’s representative, and head of delegation, before the International Court of Justice in the matter relating to the wall being built by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Following allegations of widespread abuse being committed by UN peacekeepers in the summer of 2004, he was appointed as Advisor to the Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. Prince Zeid also chaired the Consultative Committee for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and led an effort to establish greater strategic direction for the Fund (2004-2007).
Prince Zeid was the youngest candidate running for the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations in 2006 at the age of 42 but in the straw poll, 3 votes were counted for him, 6 were counted opposing him, while 6 expressed no opinion.
His publications include ‘A Nightmare Avoided: Jordan and Suez 1956’ in Israel Affairs (Winter 1994), and ‘Religious Militancy in the Arab Middle East: Threats and Responses 1979-1988’ in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (Spring 1989).
Prince Zeid is married to Sarah Butler, an American from Houston. She is now known as Princess Sarah Zeid, and they have a son and two daughters.