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SG/2015/Rev.6*
23 April 1996

BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL

23 April 1996


Press Release
SG/2015/Rev.6*
BIO/2936/Rev.6*


BOUTROS BOUTROS-GHALI, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL

19960423 Biographical Note Boutros Boutros-Ghali became the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations on 1 January 1992, when he began a five-year term. At the time of his appointment by the General Assembly on 3 December 1991, Mr. Boutros-Ghali had been Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs of Egypt since May 1991 and had served as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from October 1977 until 1991.

The Secretary-General's priority has been to strengthen the United Nations Organization, to enable it to seize the opportunities offered by the post-cold-war era, and to realize the goals of the Charter and the objectives of peace, development and democracy.

On 31 January 1992, the Secretary-General, at the first Security Council meeting ever held at the level of heads of State and government, was invited to prepare an analysis and recommendations on ways to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations for preventive diplomacy, peacemaking and peace-keeping. The Secretary-General added to these dimensions of peace a further concept, that of post-conflict peace-building. His report, entitled An Agenda for Peace, was published on 17 June 1992.

An Agenda for Peace defines the role and functions of the United Nations in a new era which has seen the establishment of numerous peace-keeping operations and observer missions under the authority of the Security Council and the command of the Secretary-General. The report, which has been translated into at least 29 languages, has been the focus of wide-ranging discussions.

On 3 January 1995, the Secretary-General issued a supplement to An Agenda for Peace as a position paper. This paper highlights certain areas where unforeseen difficulties have arisen with regard to United Nations peace-keeping operations. The supplement reviews the lessons learned and offers guidelines for improving future operations.

* This press release supersedes Press Release SG/2015/Rev.5-BIO/2936/Rev.5 of 12 February 1996.

Since the cold war ended, the United Nations has mounted more peace- keeping operations than in its previous 40 years, involving the deployment of some 70,000 troops, military observers and civilian police, in addition to civilian personnel. These operations include notably the United Nations Angola Verification Mission III, the United Nations Observer Mission in El Salvador, the United Nations Operation in Mozambique, the United Nations Operation in Somalia, the United Nations Protection Force in the republics of the former Yugoslavia, and the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia.

The Secretary-General has also appointed a number of Special Envoys and Representatives to advise him on the creation of conditions for ending hostilities, defusing tensions or consolidating peace in various areas of the world. Peace-building activities, to provide the foundations for lasting peace, include measures to enhance confidence, to reform and strengthen democratic institutions, to integrate former combatants into civilian society, and to restore the fabric of war-torn societies so as to prevent a recurrence of conflict.

Since his first year in office, the Secretary-General has worked towards a reinvigorated and expanded vision of development. A series of landmark conferences has been held, including the Summit on the Economic Advancement of Rural Women, held at Geneva in February 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the World Conference on Human Rights, held at Vienna in 1993. In May 1994, the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction was held in Yokohama. In September 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development was held in Cairo. In November 1994, the World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime was held in Naples. The World Summit for Social Development was held in Copenhagen in March 1995. The Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was held in Cairo in April/May 1995. In September 1995, the Fourth World Conference on Women was held in Beijing. The ninth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD IX), in April/May 1996, is the first international United Nations conference to be held in South Africa. The Second Conference on Human Settlements, "The City Summit", will take place in Istanbul in June 1996. The Secretary-General sees this series of conferences as a continuum, offering unique opportunities to raise levels of awareness and to set norms and standards. In these conferences and summits, Member States and non-governmental organizations, as well as concerned individuals, work together to create a global commitment to all aspects of development. Last year, as the United Nations celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, global awareness of the crucial importance of development was an important aspect of the work of the Organization.

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The Secretary-General's own vision of development was set out in May 1994 in a report to the General Assembly entitled An Agenda for Development. In his report, the Secretary-General addressed peace, the economy, the environment, society and democracy as the five foundations of development. The Secretary-General also examined the multiplicity of actors engaged in development work and outlined his vision of the role of the United Nations in development in an increasingly complex world. Universal respect for and protection of human rights is an integral part of development, he declared. Human rights, including group rights such as those of indigenous peoples, women, children and the disabled, are a focus of the Secretary-General's attention. In November 1994, in response to the request of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General issued his recommendations for the implementation of An Agenda for Development.

The two agendas, peace and development, are inextricably linked. In February 1995, the Secretary-General published in companion volumes, as parallel texts, the revised An Agenda for Peace and An Agenda for Development.

The Secretary-General has advocated a strong supporting role for the United Nations in the democratic transformation which has characterized the post-cold-war period. The United Nations has responded to the calls of some 40 nations for assistance in the organization and supervision of democratic elections. The presence of more than 2,100 observers in the South African elections in April 1994 made it the largest United Nations electoral assistance operation ever mounted. Recognizing that democracy is far more than the holding of free and fair elections, the United Nations has also developed various programmes to cooperate in the development of democratic institutions, rule of law and popular participation. In addition, the best support for democracy must lie in the democratization of international life, which the Secretary-General has pursued throughout his term.

The financial crisis, suffered by the Organization because assessed contributions for the regular budget and for peace-keeping are not paid on time and in full, threatens the effective operations of the Organization. The Secretary-General has commissioned a number of studies aimed at ensuring that the United Nations is an organization capable of meeting the challenges of the next 50 years.

The Secretary-General has undertaken a programme of restructuring and reform designed to reduce the number of high-level posts in the Secretariat, to decentralize decision-making and to reduce costs and managerial inefficiencies. However, the capacity of the United Nations to deal with vastly expanded operations has been a particular source of concern to the Secretary-General.

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Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali has travelled to more than 50 countries to represent the United Nations and to offer his good offices to further the cause of peace. In December 1993, he was the first non-Korean to cross the DMZ from Seoul to Pyongyang.

Honorary Degrees, Awards, Memberships

The Secretary-General's role in advancing the goals of peace, development and democracy has been recognized by many awards and honorary degrees.

He was awarded a doctorate of law honoris causa from the Institute of State and Law of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (September 1992); a doctorate honoris causa from l'Institut d'Etudes politiques de Paris (January 1993); the Christian A. Herter Memorial Award from the World Affairs Council, Boston (March 1993); a doctorate honoris causa from The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium (April 1993); the "Man of Peace" award, sponsored by the Italian-based Together for Peace Foundation (July 1993); an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Laval, Quebec (August 1993); and the Arthur A. Houghton Jr. Star Crystal Award for Excellence from the African-American Institute, New York (November 1993).

In addition, he was given an honorary membership of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Moscow (April 1994); an honorary foreign membership of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (April 1994); an honorary foreign membership of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk, (April 1994); an honorary doctorate from the University Carlos III of Madrid (April 1994); an honorary degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. (May 1994); a doctorate in international law honoris causa from the University of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada (August 1994); honorary doctorates from the University of Bucharest (October 1994), University of Baku (October 1994), University of Yerevan (November 1994), University of Haifa (February 1995), University of Vienna (February 1995), and University of Melbourne (April 1995); and a doctorate of law honoris causa from Carleton University, Canada (November 1995). He was made a Fellow of Berkeley College, Yale University (March 1995), and is the recipient of the Onassis Award for International Understanding and Social Achievement (July 1995). He was awarded an honorary doctorate of law by the University Montesquien of Bordeaux, France (March 1996), and he received an honorary doctorate from Koryo University, Seoul, Republic of Korea (April 1996).

His Early Career

Mr. Boutros-Ghali has had a long association with international affairs as a diplomat, jurist, scholar and widely published author.

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He became a member of the Egyptian Parliament in 1987 and was part of the secretariat of the National Democratic Party from 1980. Until assuming the office of Secretary-General of the United Nations, he was also Vice-President of the Socialist International.

He was a member of the International Law Commission from 1979 until 1991, and is a former member of the International Commission of Jurists. He has many professional and academic associations related to his background in law, international affairs and political science, among them, his membership in the Institute of International Law, the International Institute of Human Rights, the African Society of Political Studies and the Academie des Sciences morales et politique (Academie Française, Paris).

Over four decades, Mr. Boutros-Ghali participated in numerous meetings dealing with international law, human rights, economic and social development, decolonization, the Middle East question, international humanitarian law, the rights of ethnic and other minorities, non-alignment, development in the Mediterranean region and Afro-Arab cooperation.

In September 1978, Mr. Boutros-Ghali attended the Camp David Summit Conference and had a role in negotiating the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel, which were signed in 1979. He led many delegations of his country to meetings of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, as well as to the Summit Conference of the French and African Heads of State. He also headed Egypt's delegation to the General Assembly sessions in 1979, 1982 and 1990.

Mr. Boutros-Ghali received a Ph.D. in international law from Paris University in 1949. His thesis was on the study of regional organizations. Mr. Boutros-Ghali also holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, received from Cairo University in 1946, as well as separate diplomas in political science, economics and public law from Paris University.

Between 1949 and 1977, Mr. Boutros-Ghali was Professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University. From 1974 to 1977, he was a member of the Central Committee and Political Bureau of the Arab Socialist Union.

Among his other professional and academic activities, Mr. Boutros-Ghali was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Columbia University (1954-1955); Director of the Centre of Research of The Hague Academy of International Law (1963-1964); and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law, Paris University (1967-1968). He has lectured on international law and international relations at universities in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America.

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Mr. Boutros-Ghali was President of the Egyptian Society of International Law from 1965; President of the Centre of Political and Strategic Studies (Al-Ahram) from 1975; member of the Curatorium Administrative Council of The Hague Academy of International Law from 1978; member of the Scientific Committee of the Academie Mondiale pour la Paix (Menton, France) from 1978; and associate member of the Institute Affari Internazionali (Rome) from 1979. He served as a member of the Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labour Organisation from 1971 until 1979. Mr. Boutros-Ghali also founded the publication Alahram Iqtisadi, which he edited from 1960 to 1975, and the quarterly Al-Seyassa Al-Dawlia, which he edited until December 1991.

The more than 100 publications and numerous articles that Mr. Boutros-Ghali has written deal with regional and international affairs, law and diplomacy, and political science.

During the course of his career, Mr. Boutros-Ghali has received awards and honours from 24 countries, which, besides Egypt, include Belgium, Italy, Colombia, Guatemala, France, Ecuador, Argentina, Nepal, Luxembourg, Portugal, Niger, Mali, Mexico, Greece, Chile, Brunei Darussalam, Germany, Peru, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Central African Republic, Sweden and the Republic of Korea. He has also been decorated with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Mr. Boutros-Ghali was born in Cairo on 14 November 1922. He is married to Leia Maria Boutros-Ghali.

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For information media. Not an official record.