Terje Rød-Larsen has been President of the International Peace Institute since January 2005. Mr. Rød-Larsen began his career as an academic, teaching sociology, political science, and philosophy at the Universities of Bergen and Oslo, before establishing the Fafo Institute for Applied Sciences in Oslo in 1981. As Director of Fafo, Mr. Rød-Larsen initiated a research project into the living conditions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which led to a request by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the government of Israel in 1992 that he established a secret channel for negotiations between the PLO and the government of Israel. The subsequent talks between Israelis and Palestinians, facilitated by Fafo and the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, concluded with the mutual recognition of Israel and the PLO and the Oslo Accords and the signing of the Declaration of Principles at the White House on September 13, 1993.

In 1993, Mr. Rød-Larsen was appointed Ambassador and Special Adviser for the Middle East peace process to the Norwegian Foreign Minister. In mid-1994, he was appointed United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories at the rank of Under-Secretary-General. In 1996, Mr. Rød-Larsen became Norwegian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Planning and Cooperation, before rejoining the United Nations. From 1999 to December 2004, he served as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and Personal Representative of the Secretary-General to the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority, holding the rank of Under-Secretary-General.

In 1999 he was appointed Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to Lebanon and negotiated with Syria, Lebanon and Israel the Israeli withdrawal from Southern Lebanon and the end of the Israeli occupation. In 2005 he negotiated, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General, the Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon. Mr. Rød-Larsen is a Commander of the Légion d’Honneur (France) and a Commander of the National Order of the Cedar (Lebanon).