Maty Nikkhou-O'Brien is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Her mission is to stimulate curiosity in world affairs in New Zealanders of all stripes. Since joining the NZIIA in August 2015, Maty has focused on reaching out to new more diverse audience through dozens of initiatives: panel discussions, seminars, books and articles. This has led to a marked uptick in attendances, media coverage, conversations, and connections. Maty is the first woman leader of the Institute in its 82 year history. Prior to the NZIIA, Maty founded and directed Diplosphere, a successful and innovative think-tank. Maty has also led EU-funded projects in Paris and negotiated international business deals between French and Middle Eastern businesses. Maty’s main interests are the international relations of the Middle-East, conflict resolution, economic diplomacy, Iran and US foreign policy. She is the author of various articles and a French book on Maoritanga and speaks French, English, German and Persian and has some knowledge of classical Greek and Maori. Maty holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and degrees in Languages and Political and Socio-Economic Studies from the Sorbonne and in Iranian Studies and Philology from the French Institute for Oriental Studies.