10 October 1997


10 October 1997

Press Release


19971010 Biographical Note Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Olara A. Otunnu (Côte d'Ivoire) as his Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict. The three-year-term appointment, announced on 19 August and effective on 1 September, is a follow-up to the Graça Machel Study on the Impact of Armed Conflict on Children and is pursuant to General Assembly resolution 51/77 (December 1996).

In his capacity as the Secretary-General's Special Representative, Mr. Otunnu will serve as advocate for children in conflict situations, promoting measures for their protection in times of conflict and for their healing and reintegration in conflict's aftermath: by taking concrete initiatives in particular cases; by informing and mobilizing international public opinion; by ensuring that the welfare of children affected by armed conflict is a priority on the international agenda; and by acting as a catalyst among United Nations agencies and humanitarian non-governmental organizations to develop a concerted and focused approach to meet the needs of children affected by violent conflict.

Mr. Otunnu has been widely recognized for his long-standing commitment and contribution to diverse activities relating to international peace and security, prevention of conflict, reform of multilateral institutions, development, human rights, issues of values, and the future of Africa. In this connection, he has held many leadership responsibilities, including President of the United Nations Security Council, Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, and Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations. He has also served on several commissions, including the Commission on Global Governance, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, and the Club of Rome.

Born in Mucwini (Chua) in Uganda, Mr. Otunnu received his early education at Gulu High School and King's College Budo. He then attended Makerere University, where he was president of the students union; Oxford University -- where he was Overseas Scholar -- and Harvard Law School -- where he was a Fullbright Scholar. A lawyer by training, he practised law as an

* This supersedes Press Release SG/A/647 dated 19 August 1997.

Associate with the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke in New York, prior to becoming Assistant Professor of Law at Albany Law School.

In the 1970s, as a student leader and later as Secretary-General of Uganda Freedom Union, Mr. Otunnu played a leading role in the resistance against the Idi Amin regime in Uganda. At the Moshi Unity Conference on Uganda (1979), Mr. Otunnu was elected to serve as a member of the Uganda National Consultative Council, the interim administration in the post-Amin period (1979-1980).

From 1980 to 1985, Mr. Otunnu served as Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During his tenure, Mr. Otunnu played a very active role in the work of the Organization, providing leadership in various bodies, including President of the Security Council (1981), when he presided over the election of the Secretary-General; Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (1983-1984); Vice-President of the General Assembly (1982-1983); Chairman of the Contact Group on Global Negotiations (1982-1993); Chairman of the General Assembly Credentials Committee (1983-1984), when he presided over the Grenada crisis; Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Ministerial Meeting of Non-Aligned Countries (1983); and Chairman of the African Group (1981).

Mr. Otunnu served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda from 1985 to 1986, during which time he played a prominent role in the Uganda Peace Talks which culminated in the Nairobi Peace Agreement of December 1985. Subsequently, he returned to academia. From 1987 to 1989, he was affiliated with the Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI) as a Visiting Fellow, and with the American University in Paris as a Visiting Professor.

Mr. Otunnu has participated in many studies and commissions focusing especially on international peace, reform of multilateral institutions and issues of values. He has been a member of the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (1994 to present); the Commission on Global Governance (1992-1995); the International Panel on Management and Decision-Making in the United Nations (1986-1987); the Group on Rethinking International Governance (1986-1990); the United Nations Group of Experts on New Concepts of International Security (1984- 1985); the Commonwealth Group of Experts Study Group on the Security of Small States (1984-1985); and the International Task Force on Security Council Peace Enforcement (ongoing).

Mr. Otunnu has also been active in many civic initiatives and organizations. He currently serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Aspen Institute, Hampshire College, the International Crisis Group (ICG), the International Selection Commission of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, Aspen France, the Council of African Advisers of the World Bank, the International Patrons of the

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Refugee Studies Programme at Oxford University, Aspen Italia, and the Advisory Committee of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Mr. Otunnu has been President of the International Peace Academy (IPA) since 1990. The Academy is an independent, international institution dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of armed conflict between and within States. Under Mr. Otunnu's leadership, it has developed an extensive portfolio of programmes and has become an important forum for ideas and debate among policy-makers and opinion-makers. These programme initiatives include a policy research programme to monitor and assess the effectiveness of multilateral peace operations: a regional programme for Africa designed to help the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and African civil society build indigenous capacities for responding more effectively to the dramatic situation of conflicts in Africa; and a major expansion of the Academy's training programme on peacemaking and peacekeeping to five annual seminars.

Mr. Otunnu was born in September 1950. He is the guardian of six children.

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For information media. Not an official record.