Tsutomu (Tom) Kono

Fellow Cross-Institute
  • konot@un.org

Tsutomu “Tom” Kono is a retired United Nations official who served for the Department/Office for Disarmament Affairs (DDA/ODA) for 25 years, advising seven Under-Secretary-Generals. He joined the Secretariat as advisor on Iraq and principal liaison with UNSCOM and UNMOVIC. He was DDA’s focal point on the Security Council and also coordinated its work on counterterrorism, particularly its support for the establishment of the 1540 Committee and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. He was ODA’s longtime coordinator for the First Committee and the Disarmament Commission. In Geneva, he worked for the Conference on Disarmament Secretariat, while supporting the NPT review process and acting as UN focal point on small arms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked to ensure business continuity and his sabbatical research on the pandemic was published as UNODA Occasional Papers No. 40.

Tom began his career with the Japanese diplomatic service with postings in Syria, Egypt and Iraq. He went on to pursue an academic career, holding various appointments at Columbia University, New York University and the City University of New York (CUNY), and serving as interim academic officer at the United Nations University (UNU). Kono holds a B.A. in political science from Waseda University and an M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and pursued a Ph.D in political science at Columbia University and the CUNY Graduate Center.