Biography of Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim
Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, who concluded his term of office as Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity on 17 September 2001 after serving an unprecedented three terms covering a period of twelve years, is now involved in several activities. He has functions and responsibilities at national, continental and international levels.
At the national (Tanzania) level he is serving as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation. He is also the Chancellor of the Hubert Kairuki Memorial University.
At the continental level, following the invitation of the President of the African Development Bank, he has since March, 2002 been acting as African Water Ambassador whose responsibilities include advocacy, sensitization, and mobilization of support on African water issues. He also serves as:
- Chairperson, Advisory Board, Institute of Security Studies (ISS) based in Pretoria, South Africa.
- Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees, Africa Humanitarian Action (AHI) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
- Member and Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe.
At international level, Dr. Salim serves in the following Boards, Panels/Commission
- Co-chair, Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (Secretariat, based in Washington DC);
- Member of the Board of the South Centre (Secretariat based in Geneva);
- Member, Policy Advisory Commission, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO);
- Member of the Foundation Council, Centre of Humanitarian Dialogue based in Geneva.
Previous Experience and Positions Held:
Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim was elected Secretary-General of the OAU on 27 July 1989. He formally took over on 19 September 1989. Prior to his election, Dr. Salim held public office in his country, the United Republic of Tanzania, where he served in various capacities for 27 years. He was Prime Minister from 1984 to 1985 and then served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and National Service from 1985 until his election to the helm of the OAU General Secretariat.
Dr. Salim also held other key positions in the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. He served for many years in the Tanzanian diplomatic service which he also steered as Minister for Foreign Affairs for four years from 1980 to 1984. His rise to the top of Tanzania’s Foreign Service was preceded by many years of grounding in international diplomacy as Ambassador. He served as Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt (1964-1965), High Commissioner (i.e. Ambassador) to India (1965-1968). He was, for one year, the Director of Africa and Middle East Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dar-es-Salaam before his posting as Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China in 1969. In 1970, he was appointed Tanzania’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he remained for more than ten years. During his period at the United Nations, Dr. Salim was concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Cuba, High Commissioner to Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.
During his service at the United Nations, Dr. Salim was elected as President of the United Nations Security Council in January 1976 and went on to serve as President of the Thirty-Fourth Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 1979. During his one year tenure of office, he also presided over the Sixth and Seventh Emergency Special Sessions of the United Nations General Assembly in January and July 1980 respectively. In September 1980, he equally presided over the Eleventh Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Dr. Salim was Chairman of the United Nations Security Council Committee on Sanctions Against Rhodesia from January to December 1975, President of the International Conference on Sanctions against South Africa in 1981 as well as the Paris International Conference Against Apartheid in 1984. Between 1972 and 1980, he chaired the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization (Committee of 24). During this period under his chairmainship, the Committee played a key role in steering many colonies and non-self governing territories to full sovereignty and independence. Dr. Salim also served on the Palme Independent Commission on International Security Issues and the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues.
Dr. Salim has attended and/or chaired numerous Summits, International Conferences, Seminars, Workshops and Colloquia under the auspices of the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the Non-Aligned Movement and others throughout the world.
Educational Qualifications and Honorary Degrees:
Dr. Salim undertook studies at the University of Delhi, India (1965-1968) and proceeded to obtain a Masters Degree in International Affairs in January 1975 at Columbia University in New York. He holds six Doctorates (Honoris Causa) including: Doctor of Laws, the University of Philippines at Los Baños (1980), Doctor of Humanities, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria (1983), Doctor of Civil Law, University of Mauritius (1991), Doctor of Arts in International Affairs, University of Khartoum, Sudan (1995), Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations, University of Bologna, Italy (1996), and Doctor of Laws, University of Cape Town, South Africa (1998).
Honours and Decorations:
Dr. Salim holds a number of decorations/honours (including some of the highest national honours). Among them are the Star of Africa (Liberia, 1980), the Order of the United Republic of Tanzania – Nishani Ya Jamhuri Ya Muungano Wa Tanzania, 1985), Order of Mille Collines (Rwanda, 1993), Grande Croix de l’Ordre Congolais du Dévouement (Republic of Congo, 1994), Grand Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite (Central African Republic, 1994), Medal of Africa (Libya, 9.9.99), Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Lion (Sénégal, 2000), Order of the Two Niles (Sudan, 2001), Ordre El-Athir (Algeria, 2001), Ordre du Mono (Togo, 2001), Commandant de l’Ordre National (Mali, 2001).
Born in Zanzibar on 23 January 1942, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim is married to Amne. They have three children: Maryam, Ali and Ahmed.