After a career in business and documentary-investigative journalism in former Eastern Bloc countries and Iran, I joined the UN for two decades of service focused on multi-faceted peacekeeping, political, and humanitarian crises in some of the world’s most 'intractable' zones, deploying adaptive strategic communications to resolve complex mission challenges.
I was boots-on-the-ground in theatres of seminal and open conflict and disaster, often at the cutting edge and in physically isolated conditions in Africa, India, former Soviet Central Asia, the Western Balkans, the Caribbean, the Caucasus, South-East Asia, and the Middle East.
I began my international public service work with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1996, and then led large teams for the UN in Bosnia and Kosovo, before I was relocated for a year to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the days immediately following 9/11. As UNICEF's head of Emergency Communications based in New York, I dealt with a full range of interlocking political, aid, emergency, and security issues. From Colombo I ran UN communications during the final three years of Sri Lanka's civil war, and similarly from Nairobi for the UN's urban agency between 2015-18.
Between UN engagements, and after authoring The Cage: The Fight for Sri Lanka and the Last Days of the Tamil Tigers, I was a visiting scholar at Sydney University’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (department of Political Science); a research professor at Griffith University’s Asia Institute (department of Government); a joint founder/expert of the International Crimes Evidence Project investigating war crimes; and a director for ActionAid Australia.
I am currently the Head of Global Affairs and Emerging Markets for Pressland.com, a publicly-listed company that seeks to subvert information distortion (misinformation, but especially disinformation) through rigorous media supply-chain transparency; and a Senior Fellow of the ARTIS International group, applying research and social science insights to a range of policy, stability, and human development issues including terrorism and radicalisation.
As an investigative journalist, I reconstructed and recounted one of the worst examples of the 'honour' killing in Australia of a young Australian Lebanese Muslim woman; was a part of the team of journalists who traced, located, and exposed members of the "52 Pack" of Bosnia's SFOR (Stabilisation Force) Most Wanted war crimes suspects; and reconstructed through digital evidence the murder of hors de combat detainees in the wake of Sri Lanka's civil war.
I am the son of an immigrant who became an early female judge in Australia, and a Czech refugee whose 57-member family was killed during the Holocaust (he died last year).
I lived for extended periods in New York, Ashgabat, London, Prishtina, Herat, Colombo, Sydney, Barcelona, Sarajevo, Tokyo, Nairobi, Luanda, and Islamabad. Covid-19 aside, I currently live between Prague and Sicily, and the port of Newcastle, Australia, to which the Scots part of my family immigrated in 1850. I raised two girls, with a Turkmen/Belarusian partner. Always in pursuit of simplicity, I intend to marry a North Korean in my next life.
“This powerful book is a reminder of the price countries pay for flawed choices”
– THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“An excellent account”
– THE ECONOMIST
“This shattering tale of savagery lifts the veil
and helps us understand”
– NOAM CHOMSKY
“A parable of the World, the Flesh, and the Devil”
– THE SPECTATOR
(best summer reading 2011)
“Weiss provides harrowing details, as well as insight”
– FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(book of the day, April 2016)
“A striking account”
– Jon Swain THE SUNDAY TIMES
“Unpicks the roots of the problem”
– THE LITERARY REVIEW"
“Tightly-written, clear-eyed, a riveting cautionary tale.
– JON LEE ANDERSON
New Yorker staff writer
“A compellingly readable account...
scrupulously even handed”
– GARETH EVANS
fmr Australian Foreign Minister
“Some of the best coverage of Sri Lanka”
– NICK BRYANT (BBC)
– THE AUSTRALIAN
“Deeply informed, humane and compassionate… a beautifully articulated insight into the human experience.”
– THE INTERCEPT
(Best Summer Reading List 2015)
“A knockout blow. No wonder the government had it taken off the shelves; it does not want you to read it”
– THE ISLAND (Sri Lanka)
“Painstakingly researched and referenced study... he lines up his targets carefully, then picks them off with surgical precision”
– THE SCOTSMAN
"Absolutely enthralling and brilliantly written..."
– GOODREADS ☆☆☆☆
The points of light project