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Jean Gazarian on the podium of the General Assembly at the opening of the International Conference on Kampuchea in 1981.

Jean Gazarian, at right, on the podium of the General Assembly, at the
opening of the International Conference on Kampuchea in 1981.
(UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata)

Jean Gazarian

Jean Gazarian has a unique, historical perspective on the use of the English language at the UN. A French national, he joined the UN Secretariat in 1946 as a translator, and during his career worked closely with several Secretaries-General. Currently a Senior Fellow at the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), he was for 18 years Director of the Division of General Assembly Affairs.

Throughout this site you will find his views on the prevalence of English as a de facto working language of the UN, including its dominance in the behind-the-scenes work of negotiations and the challenges this poses in the multilingual environment of the United Nations.

Jean Gazarian with former Secretary-General U Thant in an airport in Togo in 1970.

Jean Gazarian, walking directly behind Secretary-General U Thant, who is waving to a crowd welcoming him to Togo in 1970. Mr. Gazarian was at the time Senior Officer, Executive Office of the Secretary-General.
(UN Photo)