Abdallah Al Dardari, son of a General born in Damascus in 1963, studied economics in the USA (University of California) and at the London School of Economics (LSE). Since 2014, he has been the Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), which is based in Beirut in Lebanon. This consensus-seeking figure from Syria’s elite started his career as a journalist for the daily newspaper Alhayat, prior to becoming the UNDP representative in Syria (2001-2003). He was appointed Director of the State Planning Commission in 2003, where he developed a 10-year reform plan, which led to his appointment as Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs. At the same time, from 2006 to 2008 he served as Minister of Planning. He left office in 2011 following a conflict with a cousin of the Syrian President Bachar el-Assad and, in the same year, joined ESCWA as Chief Economist.