Annan appoints veteran Nigerian diplomat new UN Political Affairs chief

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed career diplomat Ibrahim Agboola Gambari of Nigeria the new head of the Department of Political Affairs, effective 1 July, with responsibility for advising him on global political developments.Mr. Gambari, Mr. Annan’s Special Adviser on Africa, succeeds Sir Kieran Prendergast and is expected to hold the position until February 2007.A professor who became a career diplomat and Minister of External Affairs of Nigeria, Mr. Gambari joined the UN Secretariat in 1999. In his capacity as Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), he promotes UN support for African development; especially the set of strategies spearheaded by Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa and called the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).As a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG), he headed the UN Mission to Angola (UNMA) from September 2002 to February 2003. In that position, he helped shape UN support for the social reintegration of Angola’s ex-soldiers, the organization of the electoral process, landmine removal, the upgrading of human rights skills and the mobilization of resources for a successful international donors’ conference.Born in Nigeria in 1944, Mr. Gambari earned his first degree at the London School of Economics (LSE) and a doctorate at Columbia University. He taught at the City University of New York (CUNY), the State University of New York (SUNY) and at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, where he created Nigeria’s first undergraduate programme in international studies.A distinguished teaching and research career included visiting professorships at Howard and Georgetown Universities, as well as at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, all in Washington. He was also a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and a Resident Scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Italy.

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