Samir S. Shihabi (Saudi Arabia)

Elected President of the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly

Photo of Samir S. Shihabi

Samir S. Shihabi of Saudi Arabia, who has served as his country's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 1983, was elected by acclamation as President of the forty-sixth General Assembly session.

Mr. Shihabi has served his country as an Ambassador for more than 27 years. He joined the Saudi Arabian Foreign Ministry in 1949 and later served as First Secretary in Berne, Switzerland, from 1956 to 1959 and as Chargé d'affaires in Rome, from 1959 to 1961.

In 1961, Mr. Shihabi was appointed Director of the Foreign Ministry's United Nations and International Organizations Department, his initial professional involvement in the work of the United Nations. Three years later, he was appointed Saudi Arabia's first Ambassador to Turkey, where he served until 1973. That was followed by his assignment as Ambassador to Somalia. He was then transferred to Jeddah, where, from 1974 to 1979, he served as Senior Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Acting Deputy Foreign Minister. Since 1974, he has also taken part in his country's delegation to the United Nations for 15 General Assembly sessions, including his service as Permanent Representative.

In 1980, Mr. Shihabi was appointed Ambassador to Pakistan. He held that position for three and a half years, until assuming his post, in September 1983, as Saudi Arabia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Since 1957, Mr. Shihabi has participated as Chairman, Vice-Chairman or member of Saudi Arabia's delegation to numerous United Nations and other international conferences, including those of the following bodies: the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement and the "Group of 77" developing nations. Mr. Shihabi chaired the Saudi delegation at the United Nations Conference on the Application of Science and Technology in Developing Countries (Geneva, 1963), the Conference of Ministers for Religious Affairs of the States members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (Mecca, 1978), the Group of 77 Conference on Economic Cooperation among Developing Countries (Cartagena, 1984) and the Non-Aligned Foreign Ministers' Conference (Nicosia, 1989).

Mr. Shihabi has also played a leading role in the establishment of the International Association of Permanent Representatives to the United Nations. He has twice been elected President of the Association and is currently Chairman of its Executive Board.

Born in May 1925, Mr. Shihabi received a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics from the American University, Cairo, and later studied law at Yale University in the United States and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. He also received a Master of Arts in Near Eastern studies from New York University.

Mr. Shihabi is married and has two children.

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