Payton Knopf is the European Institute of Peace’s (EIP) liaison in Washington DC. He is a former U.S. diplomat with expertise in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East and was the first coordinator of the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan. He was also formerly a Senior Advisor at the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI)/Martti Ahtisaari Centre and the PeaceWorks Foundation.
Before leaving government, he was Spokesman at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations under then-Ambassador Susan E. Rice, having previously served as a Policy Advisor to U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell. His other State Department assignments included in the Office of Egypt and the Levant, at the U.S. Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.
From 2010-2011, he was an International Affairs Fellow in residence at the Council on Foreign Relations where his research focused on diplomatic engagement with non-state armed groups.