Born in Bishkek, August 23, 1950
A graduate of the Philosophical Faculty of Moscow State University, Otunbayeva began her career in 1975 as a teacher in the Department of Dialectical Materialism of the Kyrgyz State University, eventually becoming head of department. From 1981 to 1986 she worked as Second Secretary of Leninsky District Committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, and Secretary of Frunze City Committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan. From 1986 through 1989 she held a number of increasingly responsible positions, including Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz SSR, Candidate Member of the Bureau of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, elected Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Kyrgyz SSR, Executive Secretary, and later Chairman of the Commission of the USSR for UNESCO. In 1989-91 she held the post of Vice-president of the UNESCO Executive Council (Paris), and became the first woman member of the board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of USSR.
Beginning in January 1992 she led the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of sovereign Kyrgyzstan as Vice Prime Minister on foreign policy, becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1994. In 1992-2002, she held ambassadorial appointments in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, was Managing Director from the Kyrgyz Republic to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and was appointed Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Georgia on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict in 2002.
She actively opposed nepotism and the clan system and the corruption in the Government of Kyrgyzstan, becoming one of the leaders of the "Tulip Revolution" in March 2005. That same year she was made Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.
She has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan since 2007 and was made Vice-Chairman of the Party the following year. In 2007 she was elected Deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic from the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK); from November 11, 2009, to April 2010, she was leader of the Social Democratic Party. She stepped down as leader of the party in connection with being named interim president.
In March 17, 2010 during the People's Kurultai (Assembly) of Kyrgyzstan she was elected as Chairman of Central Executive Committee of the People's Kurultai (Assembly), and was made President of the Kyrgyz Republic in April 2010.
She has the Diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USSR. She is a member of many prestigious international committees and editorial boards.