Speakers

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  • William Jefferson Clinton was born on August 19, 1946, in Hope, Arkansas. As a delegate to Boys Nation while in high school, he met President John Kennedy in the White House Rose Garden. The encounter led him to enter a life of public service. Clinton graduated from Georgetown University and in 1968 won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He received a law degree from Yale University in 1973, and shortly thereafter entered politics in Arkansas.

    He was defeated in his campaign for Congress in Arkansas's Third District in 1974. The next year he married Hillary Rodham, a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. In 1980, Chelsea, their only child, was born. Clinton was elected Arkansas attorney general in 1976, and won the governorship in 1978. After losing a bid for a second term, he regained the office four years later, and served until his 1992 bid for the Presidency of the United States.

    Elected president of the United States in 1992, and again in 1996, President Clinton was the first Democratic president to be awarded a second term in six decades. Under his leadership, the United States enjoyed the strongest economy in a generation and the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. President Clinton's core values of building community, creating opportunity and demanding responsibility resulted in unprecedented progress for America, including moving the nation from record deficits to record surpluses; the creation of over 22 million jobs-more than any other administration; low levels of unemployment, poverty and crime; and the highest homeownership and college enrollment rates in history. His accomplishments as president include increasing investment in education, providing tax relief for working families, helping millions of Americans move from welfare to work, expanding access to technology, encouraging investment in underserved communities, protecting the environment, countering the threat of terrorism and promoting peace and strengthening democracy around the world. His Administration's economic policies fostered the largest peacetime economic expansion in history. President Clinton previously served as the governor of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors' Association and Attorney General of Arkansas. As former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, he is one of the original architects and leading advocates of the Third Way movement.

    The Clinton Foundation and its Work
    After leaving the White House, President Clinton established the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence. To achieve this, the Clinton Foundation is focused on four critical areas: health security, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS; economic empowerment; leadership development and citizen service; and racial, ethnic and religious reconciliation. The Clinton Presidential Center, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is comprised of the Library, the archives, Clinton Foundation offices and the Clinton School of Public Service.

    Following the 2002 Barcelona AIDS Conference, President Clinton began the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) to assist countries in implementing large-scale, integrated, care, treatment and prevention programs that will turn the tide on the epidemic. It partners with countries in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia to develop operational business plans to scale-up care and treatment. CHAI works with individual governments and provides them with technical assistance, human and financial resources, and know-how from the sharing of the best practices across projects. The ultimate objective in each of these countries is to scale up public health systems to ensure broad access to high-quality care and treatment. The Initiative's long-term goal is to develop replicable models for the scale-up of integrated programs in resource-poor settings. CHAI is currently bringing life-saving care and treatment to over a quarter of a million people around the world.

    In September 2005, President Clinton hosted the inaugural meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). CGI is a non-partisan catalyst for action, bringing together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. The inaugural meeting brought together 35 current and 10 former heads of state along with hundreds of other leaders from governments, the business community, and NGOs who contributed to innovative solutions to alleviate poverty, promote effective governance, reconcile religious conflicts and protect the environment. Nearly 300 commitments were made to improve the lives of people living on six continents, with private corporations and non-profit organizations pledging almost 70% of all commitments, which are valued in excess of $2.5 billion.

    In the United States, President Clinton also works through the Clinton Foundation Urban Enterprise Initiative to help small businesses acquire the tools they need to compete in the ever-changing urban marketplace. He also works along with the American Heart Association on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to combat childhood obesity and reverse this deadly trend facing American children.

    Following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, President Clinton and former President Bush led a nationwide fundraising effort and established the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund to assist survivors in the rebuilding effort. This campaign was the second collaboration for the former presidents, the first being their work on relief and recovery following the Indian Ocean tsunami. President Clinton also serves as Special Envoy for Tsunami Recovery, as appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2005.

  • Trisha Brown (November 25, 1936—March 18, 2017) was an American dancer and choreographer whose avant-garde and postmodernist work explores and experiments in pure movement, with and without the accompaniments of music and traditional theatrical space.

    Brown studied modern dance at Mills College in Oakland, California, and received her BA in 1958. Her style began developing after she met choreographer Yvonne Rainer in 1960; together they became founding members of the experimental Judson Dance Theater in 1962. From 1970 through 1976 Brown was also a founding member of the improvisational Grand Union, and in 1970 she formed her own company, the Trisha Brown Dance Company, which was an all-female dance company until 1979.

    Brown was influenced by the avant-garde style developed most prominently by Merce Cunningham during the 1960s and ’70s. Avant-garde dancers believed that dance could be divorced from music, that dances could be themeless and plotless, and that dance could also reflect the dancer’s internal rhythms.

    During this period Brown developed several experimental pieces. Her first, Leaning Duets and Falling Duets, choreographed from 1968 to 1971, involved dancers supporting and testing each other’s strength. In Walking on the Wall (1970) dancers moved while hanging in harnesses perpendicular to a wall. In Accumulating Pieces (1971) the dance was built up from a series of discrete gestures, each gesture building on the previous one. Her Roof Piece (1973) in New York City employed 15 dancers, each on a different Manhattan roof, following each other’s sequence of movements while the audience watched from another roof. At this time Brown also did Man Walking down the Side of a Building (1970) outside a lower-Manhattan warehouse; Spiral (1974), in which the dancers were parallel to the ground while walking down trees in a Minneapolis, Minnesota, park; and the quartet Locus (1975), a piece that had no costumes or lighting effects.

    In the late 1970s and ’80s, Brown began to incorporate design and music into her pieces and to work in traditional theaters instead of outdoors. Reclassified as a postmodern choreographer, she presented such pieces as Glacial Decoy (1979), which featured a backdrop of black-and-white photos by Robert Rauschenberg; Set and Reset (1983), with costumes and film clips by Rauschenberg and a score by Laurie Anderson; and If You Couldn’t See Me (1994), a solo in which Brown’s back is to the audience for most of the performance. Her later works include M.O. (1995), which was set to Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Musical Offering, and Present Tense (2003), a collaboration with artist Elizabeth Murray that included music by John Cage. I love my robots (2007), which featured robots made of cardboard tubes, drew praise for its wit and poignancy.

    Brown directed several operas and choreographed Carmen (1986). Suffering from vascular dementia, she created her last dance in 2011. Her numerous honors include a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (1991).

  • Prime Minister

    Date of Birth: September 21, 1954

    Place of Birth: Tokyo

    Member of the House of Representatives (Elected 7 times)

    Constituency: Yamaguchi 4th district (Shimonoseki and Nagato cities)

    Education

    1977 Graduated from the Department of Political Science, the Faculty of Law, Seikei University

    Career

    2012
    President of LDP
    Prime Minister

    2007
    Resigned Prime Minister

    2006
    President of LDP
    Prime Minister

    2005
    Chief Cabinet Secretary
    (Third Koizumi Cabinet (Reshuffled))

    2004
    Acting Secretary-General and Chairman of Reform Promotion Headquarters, LDP

    2003
    Secretary-General, LDP

    2002
    Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
    (First Koizumi Cabinet (1st Reshuffled))

    2001
    Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
    (First Koizumi Cabinet)
    (Second Mori Cabinet (Reshuffled))

    2000
    Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary
    (Second Mori Cabinet (Reshuffled))
    (Second Mori Cabinet)

    1999
    Trustee, Committee on Health and Welfare
    Director, Social Affairs Division, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)

    1993
    Elected as Member of the House of Representatives
    (thereafter reelected in seven consecutive elections)
    1982

    Executive Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

    1979
    Joined Kobe Steel, Ltd

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister, 8/1/2019

  • Born on 18 March 1952 in Paris, France. Speaks fluently Georgian, French, and English and converses in basic Italian.

    Education

    Institute of Political Studies (1969-1972 – Paris, France)
    Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs (1972-1973 – New York, U.S.A.)

    Diplomatic and Political Career

    In 1974-2004, she worked in the diplomatic service for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France in several embassies (Italy, United States, and Chad) and with French representations to international organizations (UN, NATO, Western European Union, OSCE). In 2003, she was appointed as Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of France to Georgia. In 2004-2005, she served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. After the leaving the post, she founded on 11 March 2006 the political party “The Way of Georgia”.

    In 2006-2015, she was an Associate Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, France. From 2010 to December 2015, she led the United Nations Security Council monitoring group on sanctions against Iran.
    In 2016, she won her election as an independent Deputy in the Parliament of Georgia.
    In 2018, she was elected as the 5th President of Georgia.

    Publications

    Que sais-je? La Géorgie, Edition PUF, Paris, 1986
    Une femme pour deux pays, Edition Grasset, Paris, 2006
    „საქართველოსკენ“ - გამომცემლობა „ლიტერა“, Tbilisi, 2006
    Les cicatrices des nations, Edition Francois Bourin, Paris, 2008
    La tragédie géorgienne, Edition Grasset, Paris, 2009
    L’exigence démocratique, Edition Francois Bourin, Paris, 2010
    Cahiers CERI Sciences Po N°4: La démocratisation en Géorgie à l’épreuve des élections, Paris, 2007
    Penser l’Europe: What borders for Europe?, Paris, 2007
    Cahier de Chaillot, Institute for security studies of the European Union (N° 102), Paris, 2007

    Source: Office of the President of Georgia, 8/1/2019

  • Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah (formerly Rania Al-Yasin) was born in Kuwait on August 31, 1970 to a notable Jordanian family of Palestinian origin.

    She completed her primary and secondary education in Kuwait and in 1991 obtained a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the American University in Cairo.

    Upon her graduation from university, Queen Rania returned to Jordan and pursued a career in banking, followed by a brief career in the field of information technology.

    His Majesty King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein (then Prince) married Queen Rania on June 10, 1993. They have four children: HRH Prince Hussein, born June 28, 1994; HRH Princess Iman, born September 27, 1996; HRH Princess Salma, born September 26, 2000; and HRH Prince Hashem, born January 30, 2005.

    Since her marriage to then Prince Abdullah, Queen Rania has channeled her energies behind initiatives that aim to improve the livelihood various sectors of society in Jordan and beyond.

    In Jordan, Queen Rania's activities encompass issues such as education, health, youth, and the environment, among others. Her Majesty has been particularly vocal about the importance of cross cultural and interfaith dialogue towards greater understanding, tolerance and acceptance across the world. She also has a special interest in several core issues: the promotion of excellence, creativity, and innovation in education; the improvement of the quality of life of the family unit including the protection of children from violence and the promotion of early childhood development; and the development of income-generating projects and the advancement of best practices in the field of microfinance.

    Promoting excellence and creativity in education
    Queen Rania believes strongly that enhancing education is vital for bridging gaps, giving people hope, improving lives, and ensuring stability throughout the world. To this effect, over the past few years, Her Majesty has launched, championed, and given patronage to a number of initiatives in education and learning.

    Improving Access to Early Childhood Programs and IT
    Her Majesty championed the development and implementation of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) program of introducing a national early childhood development program and curriculum in Jordan. Queen Rania has also been a strong supporter of a nationwide program to introduce computers and information technology into schools across Jordan.

    Raising the Bar
    In October 2005, Her Majesty initiated, in partnership with the MOE, an annual teacher award, known as the Queen Rania Al-Abdullah Award for Excellence in Education, aimed at setting national standards of excellence in teaching, and celebrating, encouraging and honoring those who achieve them.

    Preparing Youth for the Workplace
    Queen Rania believes that an essential aspect of education is to equip youth with the necessary skills that enable them to perform well in the workplace. She is a strong supporter of INJAZwhich was established by Save the Children in 1999 and launched as a Jordanian non-profit organization by Her Majesty Queen Rania in 2001. INJAZ aims to build the skills of Jordan's future work force and enhance competitive adaptability in the global marketplace. Designed for youth between 14 and 24 years of age, INJAZ training courses develop leadership capacity and familiarize students with financial issues and the needs of the local market. The program works in cooperation with private sector volunteers who teach the INJAZ training courses.

    In May 2004, Her Majesty hosted the first joint annual meeting for the advisory council and board of directors of World Links Arab Region (WLAR) - a program which aims to improve educational outcomes, economic opportunities, and mutual global understanding for youth in developing countries through the use of technology and the Internet.

    Providing a Well-Rounded Education
    Queen Rania is establishing the first hands-on children's museum in the Kingdom with the mission to create interactive learning experiences that have the power to encourage and nurture lifelong learning for children and their families.

    Improving the quality of life of the family unit
    In 1998, Queen Rania oversaw the launching of Jordan River Foundation's Child Safety Program, which aims to comprehensively address the immediate needs for protecting children at risk of abuse and to adopt a long-term campaign to increase public awareness about violence against children. "Dar Al-Aman," the child safety center, which is the first of its kind in the Arab region, became operational in August 2000, offering protection and rehabilitation to abused and neglected children and counsel to their families. In 2005, JRF opened the Queen Rania Family and Child Center which promotes positive, hands-on training for parents and provide facilities to encourage constructive and educational activities for children.

    Queen Rania heads the National Council for Family Affairs, which was established by a royal decree in September 2001 to contribute to improving the quality of life of all Jordanian families. The council aims to ensure the right policy environment to support the development of family protection and unity and to identify and implement mechanisms for increased coordination between Jordanian public institutions and civil society organizations working in the field of family affairs. It also collects data and information, contributes to policy developments, and monitors and shares information on the well-being of children and families.

    The council's establishment as an umbrella organization came as a fruition of concrete national efforts to promote the well-being of Jordanian families. The National Team for Family Safety, which is chaired by Her Majesty, had been set up in 2000 to safeguard women and children in particular from domestic violence and abuse, and to establish a unified policy on preventing, managing, and treating cases of abuse. The Queen also headed the National Team for Early Childhood Development, founded in 2000 to draw up a national strategy to comprehensively tackle the issue of Early Childhood Development in Jordan.

    In March 2000, Queen Rania was appointed by the Jordanian Government to chair the Royal Commission on Human Rights.

    Encouraging income-generation and microfinance
    In 1995, Queen Rania established the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), a non-governmental organization working at the grassroots level to motivate low-income Jordanian families to participate in microfinance and income-generating initiatives. The foundation's projects include Jordan River Designs, Wadi Al-Rayan, and Bani Hamida. These initiatives not only assist women in creating additional sources of income to support their families, but are also designed to empower women to become decision-makers within their family unit and to be skilled contributors to the Jordanian economy. Additionally, these projects have contributed to the revival of a heritage of craft production and tribal rug-weaving in Jordan.

    In 1998, under the direction of Queen Rania, the Jordan River Foundation embarked on a project to deliver non-financial business support and training to microentrepreneurs in order to assist them in launching, expanding, and improving their businesses. Focusing on long-term sustainability and the adoption of best practices, this initiative is an extension of the Queen's recognized involvement in microfinance in the international arena.

    Encouraging the use of IT, tourism, and the preservation of Jordan's heritage
    Queen Rania also actively supports the development of Jordan's tourism sector, backing initiatives such as the International Center of Excellence Project that aims to develop and maintain Jordan's hospitality services. Through her involvement, the Queen is helping to highlight Jordan as a safe, comfortable, and first-class tourism destination that offers modernity and top-notch services on the one hand, with authenticity and heritage on the other.

    On the cultural front, Queen Rania supports numerous events that promote Jordan's heritage, arts, and cultural diversity. The Queen headed the Higher National Committee of the Declaration of Amman the Arab Cultural Capital 2002.

    She heads the Higher National Committee of the Jordan Song Festival, and also lends annual patronage to the Jordanian Festival for the Arab Child Song.

    In tribute to His Majesty the Late King Hussein, and on the first anniversary of his death, Queen Rania produced "The King's Gift", a children's book about the Late King. Proceeds of the book go to the benefit of underprivileged children across Jordan.

    Working internationally
    In September 2002, Queen Rania accepted an invitation by the World Economic Forum (WEF) Foundation Board to join as a member. She is also the Chairperson for the nominations committee of the Young Global Leaders at WEF. In January 2003, the Queen attended her first meeting as the only serving member from the Arab World. The Queen was invited to become a member of the Board in recognition of her concern for the state of the world and her commitment to engaging in collaborative efforts to meet the challenges of this century.

    In November 2000, in recognition of her commitment to the cause of children and youth, the United Nations Children's Fund invited Queen Rania to join its Global Leadership Initiative. The Queen is working alongside other world leaders, including former South African President Nelson Mandela, in a global movement seeking to improve the welfare of children.

    In 2001, Queen Rania became a member of the Board of Directors of the GAVI Fund, a non-profit organization harnessing resources that seek to provide children in the poorest countries of the world with access to life-saving vaccines. She joins world-famous personalities to call attention to the need to vaccinate every child, everywhere.

    In early 2002, Queen Rania joined the Board of Directors of the International Youth Foundation, based in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States. She joins a distinguished group of business, government, and civil society leaders from across the globe to support the work of one of the world's largest public foundations helping young people learn basic life skills and get the education, training, and opportunities they need to succeed.

    In September 2003, Queen Rania accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA), thus formalizing a relationship of support and advocacy which began in 2000. By accepting this invitation, Queen Rania reaffirmed her belief in FINCA's vision that microfinance organizations provide a tangible means of giving large numbers of the world's poorest a real stake in their societies.

    In 2005 Queen Rania was appointed as the MENA regional ambassador for Junior Achievement International.

    She is Honorary President of the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Sciences (AABFS), a pioneering institute in the region offering technical and academic training in banking and financial services. Queen Rania is also one of three Global Leaders for UNICEF.

    She is Honorary President of the Arab Women Labor Affairs Committee of the Arab Labor Organization and is Honorary Chairperson of the Jordanian Chapter of Operation Smile.

    Queen Rania is Patron of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), and in October 2001 she was awarded the prestigious Italian Government-sponsored Life Achievement Award in recognition of her efforts for the international cause of osteoporosis. Queen Rania is also patron of the Arab International Women's Forum and, Ambassador for the Hans Christian Anderson Foundation promoting literacy, and in September 2005, she was awarded the Honorary Citizenship of Milan.

    Her Majesty is President of the Jordan Society for Organ Donation and the Jordan Cancer Society.

    On July 12, 2001, Queen Rania was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.

    She is fluent in Arabic and English, and has a working knowledge of French.

  • Her Majesty the Queen was born in Uccle on 20 January, 1973. She is the daughter of Count and Countess Patrick d'Udekem d'Acoz. She studied speech therapy and psychology, and worked as a speech therapist from 1995 to 1999. She married Prince Philippe on 4 December, 1999, and they have four children. The Queen assists the King in carrying out his functions as Head of State. These include numerous visits to institutions, contacts with the population, ceremonies in Belgium and abroad, state visits, promoting Belgium's image abroad, audiences with representatives of various groups in society and countless trips all over the country.

    Apart from her activities in the company of the King, the Queen also devotes time to issues that are close to her heart. The Queen deploys the Queen's Charities to offer help to citizens who are struggling to cope with financial hardship in their daily lives and often turn to her as a last resort. She takes part in the social debate on subjects of relevance to the population. She has a particular concern for vulnerable people. As Honorary President of the Queen Mathilde Fund, the Queen endeavours to assist the weakest members of our society.

    The Queen is Honorary President of Child Focus, Foundation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children. Children’s well-being is for Her a fundamental principle and she dedicates herself in the fight against abduction and all forms of sexual abuse. The Queen is Honorary President of UNICEF Belgium and of the Breast International Group, a non-profit organisation for breast cancer research groups from around the world. She was the World Health Organisation Europe's Special Representative for Immunisation.

    In 2016, the Queen was invited by the UN Secretary General to join the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Advocacy Group. This group of eminent personalities supports the United Nations Organization in mobilizing the international community to take action to achieve the SDGs by 2030. The Queen received the Honorary National German Sustainability Award 2017 for her years of social and humanitarian commitment as well as her contribution to the debate on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2018 Queen Mathilde became the Honorary President of the Federal Council for Sustainable Development.

    Source:  International Conference on Sustainable Development, 9/6/19

  • Paula-Mae Weekes is a retired Justice of Appeal of the judiciaries of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and The Turks and Caicos Islands. She was educated at the Bishop Anstey High School, a premier secondary educational institution established in 1921 by Bishop Arthur Henry Anstey for the education of Anglican girls.

    In 1977 she entered The University of the West Indies, Faculty of Law, Cave Hill, Barbados graduating in 1980 with a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). She obtained her Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1982 and was admitted to the practice of law in Trinidad and Tobago later that year.

    President Weekes joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as State Counsel I in November 1982. After eleven years representing the State in the Magistrates’, High and Appeal Courts she resigned as Senior State Counsel in 1993 and entered private practice. She established her own Chambers after a brief period in the Chambers of a distinguished Senior Counsel.

    In 1996 she was invited to apply for the office of Puisne Judge in the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and was so appointed on September 1, 1996. She presided in the trial courts for nine years, almost exclusively in the criminal jurisdiction.

    President Weekes was elevated to the Court of Appeal in January 2005 and presided in that court for eleven years. She retired from the Judiciary of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on August 31, 2016, after two decades of service.

    Upon her retirement President Weekes was invited to join the Appellate Bench of the Judiciary of The Turks and Caicos Islands. On her assumption in September 2016 she became the first woman to serve in that capacity. Her last sitting was in November/December 2017 and she resigned in January 2018 ahead of her nomination for the Presidency.

    President Weekes is a qualified judicial educator, having been made a Fellow of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute in 2000. Since that time, she has been deeply involved in training for various levels of judicial officer and has conceptualised, designed and facilitated a wide range of training programmes both locally and regionally.

    Immediately after retirement from the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago President Weekes enjoyed a new incarnation as Executive Director of PMW Criminal Justice Consultancy and Training a small outfit providing services geared towards the development of the criminal justice sector. This venture is now in abeyance.

    President Weekes was Course Director for Ethics Rights and Obligations of the Legal Profession at the Hugh Wooding Law School (2010-2016) and created the current course manual, supervised associate tutors, pioneered innovative pedagogical techniques and served as First Examiner during that period.

    From 1997 until her election as President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago President Weekes was the Chancellor of the Anglican Church in the Diocese of Trinidad and Tobago. She was a member of the Diocesan Council and provided legal services on ecclesiastical and other matters to three successive Bishops of the Diocese.

    President Weekes received the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, which is the highest national award on 14th September 2018. She is a member of the Platform for Girls’ Education, which is a global body comprised of 12 influential people aimed at securing 12 years of quality education for girls across the world. The Platform, which is co-chaired by the British Foreign Secretary and the Kenyan Minister of Education, arose out of commitments to girls’ education made at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. The intention of the Platform is to build the capacity of developing countries to provide girls with quality education.

    President Weekes is an avid cultivator of orchids and enjoys exploring foreign lands.

    Biographical information provided by the Office of the President of Trinidad and Tobago in October 2018.

  • Paul Kagame is President of the Republic of Rwanda. He served a one-year term as Chairperson of the African Union until February 2019, and has been leading the institutional reform of the African Union since 2016. He is currently the Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC). Beginning in 1990, as commander of the forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), he led the struggle to liberate Rwanda.

    The RPF halted the Genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, which claimed over a million victims. The hallmarks of President Kagame’s administration are peace and reconciliation, women’s empowerment, promotion of investment and entrepreneurship, and access to information technology, a cause he also champions as Co-Chair of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. He tweets @PaulKagame. You can follow President Kagame’s daily work @UrugwiroVillage.

    Source: paulkagame.com, 9/3/2019

  • Born on June 1, 1975 in ldjevan, he graduated from ldjevan Secondary School Nl. In 1991-1995, he studied at the Yerevan State University. In the fifth year of graduation, he was dismissed from the YSU for political reasons. Since 1992, he had been actively engaged in journalism. He was on the staff of Dprutyun, Hayastan, Lragir, Lragir-Or and Molorak newspapers. In 1998, he founded Oragir daily, which was closed down by a court decision in 1999 for political reasons. In 1999, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Haykakan Zhamanak daily and held the post until 2012. 

    In August, 1999, he was sentenced to one year in prison for political motives. Later, at the request of international and Armenian journalists, the Court of Appeals delayed the imprisonment for a year. As a result, the imprisonment was never enforced. In 2007, he was founding member of Alternative public-political association. He headed the proportional list of Impeachment alliance in the parliamentary elections of 2007. During the 2008 presidential election, he was member of presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrosyan's campaign headquarters. 

    For a year following March 1, 2008, he was wanted by the Police and spent four months in hiding. On July 1, 2009, he came out of hiding and surrendered himself to the Office of General Prosecutor, where he was arrested and sentenced to seven years in January 2010 on charges of organizing mass disorders on March 1, 2008. 

    He has been widely recognized as a prisoner of conscience in Armenia and by the international community. After spending one year and 11 months in prison, he was released on May 27, 2011 by virtue of the general amnesty declared by the Armenian authorities. 

    In the general elections of 2012, he was elected to the National Assembly by the proportional list of the Armenian National Congress Alliance. In 2012-13, he was Chairman of the NA Ethics Committee. In 2013, he founded the Civil Contract public-political association. From 2013 to 2015, he was on the governing board of Civil Contract public-political association. Since 2015, he has been a board member of Civil Contract party. In May 2016, he was the commander of Civil Contract party volunteer detachment. He was elected to the National Assembly by the electoral list of Yelk Bloc in the general elections of April 2, 2017 from Constituency N4, which covered Kentron, Erebuni, Nork­-Marash and Nubarashen administrative districts of Yerevan. From May, 2017, he headed National Assembly's Yelk parliamentary faction. On March 31, 2018, he initiated and led the My Move movement from Vardanants Square in Gyumri, which resulted in a non-violent velvet revolution in April and May of the same year. 

    On May 8, 2018, at the request of the Popular Movement, he was elected Prime Minister by the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia. On October 16, 2018, in compliance with the pre-election pledge, he resigned from the office of Prime Minister in anticipation of snap parliamentary elections, and exercised the duties of Acting Prime Minister. Nikol Pashinyan headed the My Step alliance during the elections. On December 9, 2018, the My Step alliance won about 70 percent of the votes in the parliamentary elections. On January 14, 2019, in accordance with Article 149 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan was appointed to the post of Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia in the manner prescribed by Article 89 of the Constitution. 

    Nikol Pashinyan is married. He has three daughters and a son. 

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia, 8/1/2019

  • Nicolas Sarkozy was elected president of the French Republic on May 6, 2007. He previously served as Minister of State, in charge of the Interior and Regional Development between 2004 and 2007; Minister of State in charge of Economy, Finance and Industry in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's second government; and Minister of the Interior, Internal Security and Local Freedom in Jean-Pierre Raffarin's government.

    President Sarkozy has held positions of elected office since 1977, when he served as a member of the Municipal Council of Neuilly-sur-Seine. He went on to become mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine, a role he filled from 1983 - 2002. During this time he also served as vice-chairman of the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine in charge of cultural education (1986-1988) and was elected to the National Assembly as deputy for the Hauts-de-Seine (1988-2002). He has served as chairman of the Rassemblement pour la République (Rally for the Republic) local committee (2000), chairman of the General Council of the Hauts-de-Seine (2004), and minister for the budget (1993-1995) and for communication (1994-1995), among other positions.

    President Sarkozy is a lawyer formerly registered with the Bar of Paris. He received a law degree in 1981 and a masters degree in civil law in 1978. He earned his masters in political science (thesis on the 27th April, 1969 Referendum) and studied at the Institut d'études politiques de Paris from 1979-1981.

    President Sarkozy is the author of Testimony: France in the Twenty-first Century (2007) and numerous other publications. He is married and the father of three children.

  • Childhood

    Michelle Bachelet was born in Santiago on September 29th, 1951. She is the daughter of Alberto Bachelet, a General in the Chilean Air Force, and anthropologist Ángela Jeria; she is mother to Sebastián, Francisca and Sofia. During her childhood, Bachelet lived with her parents in Quintero, Antofogasta, the commune El Bosque in Santiago and the United States.

    Youth

    In 1964, Bachelet returned with her family to Chile, finishing her secondary studies as a distinguished and active student at Liceo N° 1, Javiera Carrera High School in Santiago. In 1970 she began studying in the Medical School at the University of Chile and became an active member of the Youth Socialist group, channeling her drive to serve others and her dedication to helping build a better country

    Coup d’état and Exile

    Following the coup d’état and while coping with the murder of her father in March of 1974, which came as a result of torture and excessive interrogations, Michelle Bachelet had to endure the plights of DINA agents at the Villa Grimaldi and Cualro Álamos detention centers where she was held with her mother. In 1975, both Bachelet and her mother were expelled from Chile. She lived in exile in Australia and Germany where she continued to study medicine and married Chilean architect Jorge Dávalos.

    Return and support for victims of the dictatorship

    In 1979 she returned to Chile and received her Medical Degree in Surgery and, thanks to her grades and publications, received a scholarship from the Chilean Association of Medicine to specialize in Pediatrics and Public Health at Roberto del Río Hospital. During the 1980’s, Bachelet held several social services positions in institutions such as the Pidee NGO, which is dedicated to providing professional help to children of those detained and victimized by the military regime in Santiago and Chillán

    Public service

    Beginning in 1990, and in conjunction with the return of democracy, Bachelet worked in the Westen Metropolitan Area Health Service; was incorporated into the National AIDS Commission (Conasida); was a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization (OPS) and worked in the Ministry of Health on topics related to bettering primary care and management of services. In 1996, interested in participating in the remerging of the civil and military worlds, she specialized in topics related to National Defense, completing two courses on military strategy and continental defense. She later became an advisor to the Ministry of Defense.

    Health minister

    In March of 2000, Michelle Bachelet became the Health Minister in Ricardo Lagos Escobar’s government, where she headed up an important improvement process for reducing waiting times and laid the foundation for beginning an overhaul to the Chilean healthcare system. In a widespread and participative process that included citizen forums and round table discussions where users, businesspeople, experts, academics, professional associations, and health unions agreed upon and presented the first legal proposal for the Reform of Health Care Workers’ Rights and Responsibilities.

    Defense minister

    In 2002, she became the Defense Minister, making her the first woman to hold this position in Chile and Latin America. Under her direction, important changes were made to the Compulsory Military Service, the role of the Ministry and the Military Staff was strengthened, rights for women in the Armed Forces, Police and Investigatory Police were improved, and more Chilean peacekeeping forces were deployed across the world.

    President of Chile

    In March of 2006, after winning widespread support in elections the previous year, Bachelet became the first female President of the Republic, marking the beginning of a period where the government focused on achieving greater equality and social inclusion in Chile.

    Fundación Dialoga

    In 2010, after finishing her presidential term marked by record citizen support and approval, she created the Fundación Dialoga (Dialog Foundation) in order to continue contributing to the renewal of ideas from center-leftists and to serve as a motivational space for new leadership to form.

    International leadership

    In 2010 she becomes the President of the Social Protection Floor Advisory Group, a joint-initiative with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that works to promote social policies that stimulate economic growth and social cohesion. Under her leadership in 2011, the Council published a report titled “Social Protection Floor for a Fair and Inclusive Globalization,” which currently serves as a guide for the United Nations in this material.

    UN Women

    On September 14th, 2011, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon named Michelle Bachelet the first Director of the recently created UN Women agency, an organization dedicated to fighting for the rights of women and girls internationally. On March 23rd, 2013, after two and a half years of service dedicated to increasing women’s political participation, women’s economic empowerment and fighting to put an end to violence against women, she resigns from the organization to return to Chile.

    Return and Presidential Candidacy

    On March 27th, 2013, Michelle Bachelet returned to Chile and publicly shared her decision to once again become a Presidential candidate, confirming her dedication to public service and to those Chileans who feel she possesses the necessary leadership skills that the country needs.

    Source: The Office of President Michelle Bachelet, 1/11/2018

  • On 11 November 2011, Michael D. Higgins was inaugurated as the ninth President of Ireland. On 11 November 2018 he was inaugurated for a second term.

    A passionate political voice, a poet and writer, academic and statesman, human rights advocate, promoter of inclusive citizenship and champion of creativity within Irish society, Michael D. Higgins has previously served at almost every level of public life in Ireland, including as Ireland’s first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.

    Michael D. Higgins was born on 18 April 1941 in Limerick city and was raised in County Clare. He was a factory worker and a clerk before becoming the first in his family to access higher education. He studied at the University College Galway, the University of Manchester and Indiana University.

    Michael D. Higgins is married to Sabina Higgins, and they have four children. Sabina Higgins attended the Dublin Stanislavski Acting Studio and was a founding member of the Focus Theatre.

    As a lecturer in political science and sociology in National University of Ireland, Galway, and in the United States, Michael D. Higgins was a passionate proponent for the extension of access to third level education beyond the walls of established Universities. He was centrally involved in the development of extra-mural studies at National University of Ireland, Galway, and he travelled extensively across the West of Ireland to provide accessible evening classes for interested citizens.

    A desire to work more directly for equality and justice led Michael D. Higgins to enter public life and he went on to serve as a public representative at many levels from Councillor and Mayor to 9 years in the Seanad and 25 in Dáil Éireann.

    As Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts in 1993-97, Michael D. Higgins’ achievements included the reinvigoration of the Irish film industry, the establishment of Teilifís na Gaeilge, now TG4, and the repeal of censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Acts. He also established a rich network of local arts and cultural venues which brought a crucial access to citizens across Ireland to these facilities. Moreover, he drove the revitalisation of Ireland’s canal network, resulting in over 1,000 kilometres of navigable waterways, supporting thousands of jobs, and creating wealth in many rural and economically-deprived areas of the State.

    Michael D. Higgins has, like many in Ireland, seen generations of his family emigrate. He has a strong interest and solidarity with the Irish abroad and has been a regular visitor to Irish Centres in Britain.

    Throughout his life, Michael D. Higgins has campaigned for human rights and for the promotion of peace and democracy in Ireland and in many other parts of the world, from Nicaragua and Chile to Cambodia, Iraq and Somalia. In 1992, Michael D. Higgins was the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize from the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki, in recognition of his work for peace and justice in many parts of the world.

    Michael D. Higgins is also a writer and poet, contributing to many books covering diverse aspects of Irish politics, sociology, history and and culture. He has published two collections of essays — ‘Causes for Concern — Irish Politics, Culture and Society’ and ‘Renewing the Republic’. He has also published four collections of poetry — ’The Betrayal; The Season of Fire; An Arid Season’ and ‘New and Selected Poems’.

    Among the other appointments Michael D. Higgins has held are:

    • Member of Dáil Éireann for 25 years;
    • Member of Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) for 9 years;
    • Ireland’s first Cabinet Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht 1993-97;
    • As Minister, he had direct responsibility for the promotion of the Irish language and for the economic and social development of Irish-speaking areas in the State;
    • Labour Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs in the Irish Parliament and founder member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs;
    • Lord Mayor of Galway on two occasions;
    • Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway;
    • Regular columnist for the popular ‘Hot Press’ magazine over the period 1982—1992, during which he engaged a young audience in the social issues of the day.

    Source: President of Ireland, 8/1/19

  • Mary Ellen Iskenderian is President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, the global nonprofit devoted to giving more low-income women access to the financial tools and resources they require to achieve security and prosperity. Ms. Iskenderian joined Women’s World Banking in 2006 and leads the Women’s World Banking global team, based in New York and also serves as a member of the Investment Committee of its $50 million impact investment fund. Prior to Women’s World Banking, Ms. Iskenderian worked for 17 years at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank. Before, she worked for the investment bank Lehman Brothers. Ms. Iskenderian is a permanent member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a member of the Women’s Forum of New York and the Business and Sustainable Development Commission. Ms. Iskenderian holds an MBA from the Yale School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in International Economics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

    Source: Woman's World Banking, 8/1/19

  • On 5 June 2018, the United Nations General Assembly elected Ecuadorean Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of its upcoming 73rd session; only the fourth woman to hold that position in the history of the world body, and the first since 2006.

    The President-elect of the seventy-third session of the General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, has more than 20 years of multilateral experience in international negotiations, peace, security, defence, disarmament, human rights, indigenous peoples, gender equality, sustainable development, environment, biodiversity, climate change and multilateral cooperation. She has served Ecuador as Minister of Foreign Affairs (twice), Minister of National Defence, and Coordinating Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage.

    In those capacities she coordinated the Sectorial Council on Foreign Policy and Promotion, which includes the Ministries of Tourism, Culture and HeritageForeign Trade, and the Environment. Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Chair of the Group of 77 and China until January 2018, and also served as Chair of the Andean Community. At the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, she promoted the adoption of the resolution presented by Ecuador entitled “Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication”. She was a chief negotiator at the sixteenth and seventeenth Conferences of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, where she facilitated the adoption of key elements in the outcome document entitled “The future we want”.

    As Minister of National Defence of Ecuador, Ms. Espinosa Garcés participated in debates on women, peace and security, and promoted the creation of the South American Defence School of the Union of South American Nations, among other initiatives.

    In 2008, she was the first woman to become Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in New York. During that posting, she cofacilitated the Working Group on the revitalization of the work of the General Assembly at its sixty-third session. She also led efforts at the global level towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

    As Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, she led and supported various negotiation processes at the Human Rights Council. She chaired the work of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Geneva, and at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP 21) on Climate Change in Paris.

    Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Special Adviser to the President of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the Constitution of Ecuador in 2008 and Regional Director (South America) and Adviser on Biodiversity (Geneva) at the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In both positions, she worked for approximately 10 years on various initiatives at WIPO and WTO; participated in negotiations on intellectual property, and traditional and ancestral knowledge; and supported the Andean Community and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization on strategic management and sustainable development.

    Before beginning her political and diplomatic career, Ms. Espinosa Garcés was Associate Professor and Researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador. During her time in academia, she received scholarships and grants from the Latin American Studies Association, the Ford Foundation, the Society of Woman Geographers and the Rockefeller Foundation towards her research in the Amazon. She also received awards from the German Agency for Cooperation, Deutsche Gesellschaft fϋr Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and Natura Foundation for her research work.

    Ms. Espinosa Garcés has written over 30 academic articles about the Amazon region, culture, heritage, sustainable development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, regional integration, defence and security. She is a PhD candidate in Environmental Geography at Rutgers University. She holds a master’s degree in social sciences and Amazonian studies and a postgraduate diploma in anthropology and political science from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede Ecuador, as well as a bachelor’s degree in applied linguistics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.

    Source: The United Nations, 7/30/2019

  • Madeleine K. Albright is a professor, author, diplomat and businesswoman who served as the 64th Secretary of State of the United States. Dr. Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama on May 29, 2012.

    In 1997, Dr. Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. As Secretary of State, Dr. Albright reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor, and environmental standards abroad. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Albright served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and was a member of the President’s Cabinet. From 1989 to 1992, she served as President of the Center for National Policy. Previously, she was a member of President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Council and White House staff and served as Chief Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Edmund S. Muskie.

    Dr. Albright is a Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Dr. Albright is Chair of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm, and Chair of Albright Capital Management LLC, an investment advisory firm focused on emerging markets. She also chairs the National Democratic Institute and serves as the president of the Truman Scholarship Foundation. She is a member of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Policy Board, a group tasked with providing the Secretary of Defense with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of defense policy. Dr. Albright also serves on the Board of the Aspen Institute. In 2009, Dr. Albright was asked by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Chair a Group of Experts focused on developing NATO’s New Strategic Concept.

    Dr. Albright’s latest book, Fascism: A Warning was published on April 10 and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. She is the author of five other New York Times bestselling books: her autobiography, Madam Secretary: A Memoir (2003); The Mighty and the Almighty: Reflections on America, God, and World Affairs (2006); Memo to the President: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership (2008); Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box (2009); and Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948 (2012).

    Dr. Albright received a B.A. with Honors from Wellesley College, and Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Columbia University’s Department of Public Law and Government, as well as a Certificate from its Russian Institute. She is based in Washington, DC.

  • Leymah Gbowee received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011 for her work in leading a women’s peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003. Gbowee shared the prize with fellow Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemen-native Tawakkol Karman. Gbowee and Sirleaf became the second and third African women to win the prize, preceded by the late Wangari Maathai of Kenya.

    Leymah is the founder and president of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa based in Liberia. Her foundation provides educational and leadership opportunities to girls, women and youth in West Africa.

    Leymah was born in central Liberia in 1972. She was living with her parents and sisters in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, when the First Liberian Civil War erupted. She recalls clearly the day the first Liberian civil war came to her doorstep. “All of a sudden one July morning I wake up at 17, going to the university to fulfill my dream of becoming a medical doctor, and fighting erupted.”

    Witnessing the effects of war on Liberians, she decided to train as a trauma counsellor to treat former child soldiers.

    A second civil war broke out in 1999 and brought systematic rape and brutality to an already war-weary Liberia. Responding to the conflict, Leymah mobilized an interreligious coalition of Christian and Muslim women and organized the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace movement. Through Leymah’s leadership, thousands of women staged pray-ins and nonviolent protests demanding reconciliation and the resuscitation of high-level peace talks. The pressure pushed President Charles Taylor into exile, and smoothed the path for the election of Africa’s first female head of state, fellow 2011 Nobel Laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Documenting these efforts in the Tribeca Film Festival 2008 Best Documentary winner Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Leymah demonstrated the power of social cohesion and relationship-building in the face of political unrest and social turmoil.

    In 2007, Leymah earned a Master’s degree in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University in the United States. Meanwhile, she continued to build women’s agency in fighting for sustainable peace. She is a founding member and former coordinator for Women in Peacebuilding/West African Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). She also co-founded the Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-Africa) to promote cross-national peace-building efforts and transform women’s participation as victims in the crucible of war to mobilized armies for peace.

    Ever-focused on sustaining peace, Leymah continued working on behalf of grassroots efforts in her leadership positions. She served as a member of both the African Feminist Forum and the African Women’s Leadership Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights, and as a commissioner-designate for the Liberia Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Through these positions, Leymah addressed the particular vulnerability of women and children in war-torn societies.

    In her current position as President of Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, Leymah pushes for greater inclusion of women as leaders and agents of change in Africa.

    Since winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Leymah travels internationally to speak about the pernicious and devastating effects of war and gender-based violence. She has been featured on a number of international television programmes including CNN, BBC and France24, and speaks internationally advocating for women’s high level inclusion in conflict-resolution. She has received several honorary degrees from universities, and is a Global Ambassador for Oxfam.

    She serves on the Board of Directors of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. She has received honorary degrees from Rhodes University in South Africa, the University of Alberta in Canada, Polytechnic University in Mozambique, and University of Dundee in Scotland. After receiving the Barnard College Medal of Distinction in 2013, she was named a Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice. Leymah is the proud mother of six children.

    When asked how she first found the courage to become a peace activist, Leymah explained: “When you’ve lived true fear for so long, you have nothing to be afraid of. I tell people I was 17 when the war started in Liberia. I was 31 when we started protesting. I have taken enough dosage of fear that I have gotten immune to fear.”

    "It is time to stand up, sisters, and do some of the most unthinkable things. We have the power to turn our upsidedown world right."

    Source: Nobel Women's Initiative, 8/1/19

  • Lee C. Bollinger became Columbia University's nineteenth president in 2002. Under his leadership, Columbia stands again at the very top rank of great research universities, distinguished by comprehensive academic excellence, historic institutional development, an innovative and sustainable approach to global engagement, and unprecedented levels of alumni involvement and financial stability.

    President Bollinger is Columbia's first Seth Low Professor of the University, a member of the Columbia Law School faculty, and one of the country's foremost First Amendment scholars. Each fall semester, he teaches "Freedom of Speech and Press" to Columbia undergraduate and graduate students. His most recent book, Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide-Open: A Free Press for a New Century, has placed Bollinger at the center of public discussion about the importance of global free speech to continued social progress.

    As president of the University of Michigan, Bollinger led the school's historic litigation in Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger, Supreme Court decisions that upheld and clarified the importance of diversity as a compelling justification for affirmative action in higher education. He speaks and writes frequently about the value of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity to American society through opinion columns, media interviews, and public appearances around the country. Columbia remains one of the most diverse universities among its peer institutions and has seen the number of applicants to Columbia College and the selectivity of admissions at the school reach record levels.

    As Columbia's president, Bollinger conceived and led the University's most ambitious expansion in over a century with the creation of the Manhattanville campus in West Harlem, the first campus plan in the nation to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's highest certification for sustainable development. An historic community benefits agreement emerging from the city and state review process for the new campus provides Columbia's local neighborhoods with decades of investment in the community's health, education and economic growth.

    The first two buildings, the Jerome L. Greene Science Center and the Lenfest Center for the Arts opened in the spring of 2017. The Jerome L. Greene Science Center is the headquarters of the Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, a cornerstone venture among Columbia's expanding interdisciplinary initiatives in neuroscience, nanotechnology and precision medicine. The home of state-of-the-art performance, screening, and presentation spaces, and a vibrant, publicly accessible venue for Columbia's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, the Lenfest Center allows Columbia University's School of the Arts to realize the creative vision of students and faculty, while becoming an active, engaged partner with the thriving cultural life of Upper Manhattan.

    Bollinger's commitment to excellence in architecture is evident across Columbia's campuses, from Renzo Piano's master plan for Manhattanville, to Rafael Moneo's design for the Northwest Corner Building on the historic Morningside campus, to the new Columbia Sports Center at Baker Field designed by Steven Holl.

    Among Bollinger's signal achievements at Columbia are the development of a network of eight Columbia Global Centers on four continents and the creation of new venues on the University's home campus supporting global conversations and scholarship, including the World Leaders Forum and the Committee on Global Thought

    From November 1996 to 2002, Bollinger was president of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he also served as a law professor and dean of the law school.

    He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is widely published on legal and constitutional issues involving free speech and press, and his books include: Eternally Vigilant: Free Speech in the Modern EraImages of a Free PressThe Tolerant Society: Freedom of Speech and Extremist Speech in America; and Contract Law in Modern Society: Cases and Materials. In January 2010, Uninhibited, Robust, and Wide Open: A Press for a New Century was published by Oxford University Press.

    Bollinger has received the National Humanitarian Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice and the National Equal Justice Award from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund for his leadership on affirmative action. He also received the Clark Kerr Award, the highest award conferred by the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, for his service to higher education, especially on matters of freedom of speech and diversity. He is the recipient of 10 honorary degrees from universities in this country and abroad.

    Bollinger is a director of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company) and serves as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

    After graduating from the University of Oregon and Columbia Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Law Review, Bollinger served as law clerk for Judge Wilfred Feinberg on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Chief Justice Warren Burger on the United States Supreme Court. He joined the University of Michigan Law School faculty in 1973.

    Bollinger was born in Santa Rosa, California, and raised there and in Baker, Oregon. He is married to artist Jean Magnano Bollinger, and they have two children and five grandchildren.

  • Kofi A. Annan was the seventh secretary-general of the United Nations, serving two terms from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 2006, and was the first to emerge from the ranks of United Nations staff. In 2001 Kofi Annan and the United Nations were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with the citation praising his leadership for "bringing new life to the organization."

    After leaving the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan continued to press for better policies to meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable, particularly in Africa. He also continued to use his experience to mediate and resolve conflict. In Kenya in early 2008, Mr. Annan led the African Union's Panel of Eminent African Personalities to help find a peaceful resolution to the post-election violence.

    In addition to his work with the Kofi Annan Foundation, Mr. Annan served as the chairman of the Africa Progress Panel, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Concordia 21, and as president of the Global Humanitarian Forum. Mr. Annan also served as the chancellor of the University of Ghana and is an active member of the Elders. He was also a board member, patron, or honorary member of a number of organizations, including the UN Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Club of Madrid, and the World Organisation Against Torture.

    One of Kofi Annan's main priorities as secretary-general was a comprehensive program of reform aimed at revitalizing the United Nations and making the international system more effective. He was a constant advocate for human rights, the rule of law, the Millennium Development Goals, and Africa, and sought to bring the organization closer to the global public by forging ties with civil society, the private sector, and other partners.

    At Mr. Annan's initiative, UN peacekeeping was strengthened in ways that enabled the United Nations to cope with a rapid rise in the number of operations and personnel. It was also at Mr. Annan's urging that, in 2005, member states established two new intergovernmental bodies: the Peacebuilding Commission and the Human Rights Council. Mr Annan likewise played a central role in the creation of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the adoption of the UN's first-ever counter-terrorism strategy, and the acceptance by member states of the "responsibility to protect" people from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity. His "Global Compact" initiative, launched in 1999, has become the world's largest effort to promote corporate social responsibility.

    Mr. Annan undertook wide-ranging diplomatic initiatives. In 1998 he helped to ease the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria. Also that year, he visited Iraq in an effort to resolve an impasse between that country and the Security Council over compliance with resolutions involving weapons inspections and other matters - an effort that helped to avoid an outbreak of hostilities, which was imminent at that time. In 1999 he was deeply involved in the process by which Timor-Leste gained independence from Indonesia. He was responsible for certifying Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, and in 2006 his efforts contributed to securing a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah. Also in 2006, he mediated a settlement of the dispute between Cameroon and Nigeria over the Bakassi peninsula through implementation of the judgment of the International Court of Justice. His efforts to strengthen the Organization's management, coherence and accountability involved major investments in training and technology, the introduction of a new whistleblower policy and financial disclosure requirements and steps aimed at improving co-ordination at the country level.

    Mr. Annan joined the UN system in 1962 as an administrative and budget officer with the World Health Organization in Geneva. He later served with the Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, the UN Emergency Force in Ismailia, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees in Geneva and in various senior posts in New York dealing with human resources, budget, finance and staff security. Immediately before becoming secretary-general, he was under-secretary-general for peacekeeping. Mr. Annan also served as special representative of the secretary-general to the former Yugoslavia from 1995 to 1996, and facilitated the repatriation from Iraq of more than 900 international staff and other non-Iraqi nationals in 1990.

    Kofi Annan was born in Kumasi, Ghana on April 8, 1938 and passed on August 18, 2018.

  • Kersti Kaljulaid was born on 30 December 1969 in Tartu.

    She graduated from the University of Tartu in 1992 in the field of genetics in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and completed master's studies in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration in 2001.

    From 1994 to 1999, she worked in various Estonian companies: first, as the sales manager of telephone switchboards in Eesti Telefon, later in Hoiupank Markets and Hansapank Markets as an associate in investment banking.

    From 1999 to 2002, Kersti Kaljulaid was Prime Minister Mart Laar's Economic Advisor. Her duties included organisation of cooperation of the Office of the Prime Minister with Estonian central bank, the Ministry of Finance and ministries that had larger budgets, as well as coordination of relations with the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Nordic Investment Bank and World Bank). She participated in preparing the pension reform together with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Social Affairs and advised the Prime Minister in annual budget negotiations held with other ministers.

    From 2002 to 2004, Kersti Kaljulaid was the CFO and CEO of the Iru Power Plant of state-owned energy company Eesti Energia.

    From 2004 to 2016 she was a Member of the European Court of Auditors. From 2004 to 2006 Kersti Kaljulaid organised the financial audit of the research and development funds of the budget of the European Union and from 2007 to 2010 she was responsible for the audit of the Structural Policies. From 2004 to 2007, she was the auditor of the Galileo project of the European Union. From 2010 to 2016 she coordinated the preparation of the Annual Report and State of Assurance of the European Court of Auditors. From 2005 to 2007, she was a member of the Europol Audit Committee and chaired the committee in 2007. From 2006 to 2008, she was the chair of the Administrative Affairs Committee of the Court of Auditors. From 2010 to 2014, she was responsible for the methodology and preparation of the Annual Report of the Court of Auditors. In 2016, she worked in the field of the agriculture audit.

    In addition, Kersti Kaljulaid was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Genome Center from 2001 to 2004. She was also a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Tartu from 2009 to 2011 and the Council Chair of the University of Tartu from 2012 to 2016. Kersti Kaljulaid has been a co-author of the social-political radio talk show Keskpäevatund (Midday Hour) in radio station Kuku from 2002 to 2004 and the editor of the Eurominutid (Euro-minutes) radio show from 2007 to 2016 in the same station.

    Kersti Kaljulaid is married and has four children.

    Career and public service
    As of 2016, the President of the Republic of Estonia
    20042016 Member of the European Court of Auditors
    20022004 CFO and CEO of the Iru Power Plant of Eesti Energia
    19922002 Economic Advisor of Prime Minister Mart Laar
    19941999 worked in various Estonian companies

    Involvement in Civic Groups
    2001–2004 Member of the Supervisory Board of the Estonian Genome Center
    20092011 Member of the Advisory Board of the University of Tartu
    20122016 Council Chair of the University of Tartu
    20022004 co-author of the Keskpäevatund radio talk show in radio station Kuku
    20072016 editor of the Eurominutid programme in radio station Kuku

    Decorations
    2016 The Collar of the The Order of the National Coat of Arms (Estonia)
    2017 Order of the White Rose of Finland, Grand Cross with Collar
    2018 Grand Cross in the Order of the Netherlands Lion
    2018 Grand Cross with Collar, the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

    Foreign languages
    English, French, Finnish

    Source: Office of President Kersti Kaljulaid, October 2018

     

  • Jens Stoltenberg was born in Oslo on 16 March 1959. He spent his childhood years abroad, with his diplomat father, mother and two sisters.

    Mr Stoltenberg holds a postgraduate degree in Economics from the University of Oslo. After graduating in 1987, he started work in Statistics Norway.

    • 1990-1991: State Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment
    • 1991-2014: Member of Parliament
    • 1993-1996: Minister of Industry and Energy
    • 1996-1997: Minister of Finance
    • 2000-2001: Prime Minister of Norway
    • 2002-2014: Leader of the Norwegian Labor Party
    • 2005-2013: Prime Minister of Norway

    While Mr Stoltenberg was Prime Minister, Norway’s defence spending increased steadily, with the result that Norway is today one of the Allies with the highest per capita defence expenditure. Mr Stoltenberg has also been instrumental in transforming the Norwegian armed forces, through a strong focus on deployable high-end capabilities. Under his leadership, the Norwegian Government has contributed Norwegian forces to various NATO operations.

    Mr Stoltenberg is a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic cooperation, including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. He sees NATO and the EU as complementary organisations in terms of securing peace and development in Europe and beyond.

    Mr Stoltenberg has had a number of international assignments. These include chairing the UN High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence and the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. He was also UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.

    Mr Stoltenberg is married to Ingrid Schulerud. Together they have two grown-up children.

    Source: NATO, 9/17/2019

  • Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake was appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth in June 2017 at the age of 26. She is the youngest senior official in the UN and the first woman to hold this position. In this role, Jayathma works to expand the UN’s youth engagement and advocacy efforts across all four pillars of work – sustainable development, human rights, peace and security and humanitarian action – and serves as a representative of and advisor to the Secretary-General.

    Originally from Sri Lanka, Ms. Wickramanayake has worked extensively on youth development and participation, and has played a key role in transforming the youth development sector in her home country.

    Prior to taking up her post, Ms. Wickramanayake was instrumental in creating the movement for civic and political engagement of young people, especially young women in Sri Lanka named “Hashtag Generation”. Previously, she advocated for global youth development on an international level including as the first ever Sri Lankan Youth Delegate to the United Nations and as the youth lead negotiator and member of the International Youth Task Force of the World Conference on Youth 2014 where she played a critical role in mainstreaming youth in the Post-2015 Process and in the establishment of World Youth Skills Day.

    Source: Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, 8/5/2019

  • His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the head of state and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He was born Lhamo Dhondrub on 6 July 1935, in a small village called Taktser in northeastern Tibet. Born to a peasant family, His Holiness was recognized at the age of two, in accordance with Tibetan tradition, as the reincarnation of his predecessor the 13th Dalai Lama, and thus an incarnation Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion.

    The Dalai Lamas are the manifestations of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who chose to reincarnate to serve the people. Lhamo Dhondrub was, as Dalai Lama, renamed Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso - Holy Lord, Gentle Glory, Compassionate, Defender of the Faith, Ocean of Wisdom. Tibetans normally refer to His Holiness as Yeshe Norbu, the Wishfulfilling Gem or simply Kundun - The Presence.

    The enthronement ceremony took place on February 22, 1940 in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet.

    Education in Tibet
    He began his education at the age of six and completed the Geshe Lharampa Degree (Doctorate of Buddhist Philosophy) when he was 25 in 1959. At 24, he took the preliminary examinations at each of the three monastic universities: Drepung, Sera and Ganden. The final examination was conducted in the Jokhang, Lhasa during the annual Monlam Festival of Prayer, held in the first month of every year Tibetan calendar.

    Leadership Responsibilities
    On November 17, 1950, His Holiness was called upon to assume full political power (head of the State and Government) after some 80,000 Peoples Liberation Army soldiers invaded Tibet. In 1954, he went to Beijing to talk peace with Mao Tse-tung and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-lai and Deng Xiaoping. In 1956, while visiting India to attend the 2500th Buddha Jayanti Anniversary, he had a series of meetings with Prime Minister Nehru and Premier Chou about deteriorating conditions in Tibet.

    His efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to Sino-Tibetan conflict were thwarted by Bejing's ruthless policy in Eastern Tibet, which ignited a popular uprising and resistance. This resistance movement spread to other parts of the country. On 10 March 1959 the capital of Tibet, Lhasa, exploded with the largest demonstration in Tibetan history, calling on China to leave Tibet and reaffirming Tibet's independence. The Tibetan National Uprising was brutally crushed by the Chinese army. His Holiness escaped to India where he was given political asylum. Some 80,000 Tibetan refugees followed His Holiness into exile. Today, there are more than 120,000 Tibetan in exile. Since 1960, he has resided in Dharamsala, India, known as "Little Lhasa," the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-exile.

    In the early years of exile, His Holiness appealed to the United Nations on the question of Tibet, resulting in three resolutions adopted by the General Assembly in 1959, 1961, and 1965, calling on China to respect the human rights of Tibetans and their desire for self-determination. With the newly constituted Tibetan Government-in-exile, His Holiness saw that his immediate and urgent task was to save both the Tibetan exiles and their culture alike. Tibetan refugees were rehabilitated in agricultural settlements. Economic development was promoted and the creation of a Tibetan educational system was established to raise refugee children with full knowledge of their language, history, religion and culture. The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts was established in 1959, while the Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies became a university for Tibetans in India. Over 200 monasteries have been re-established to preserve the vast corpus of Tibetan Buddhist teachings, the essence of the Tibetan way of life.

    In 1963, His Holiness promulgated a democratic constitution, based on Buddhist principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a model for a future free Tibet. Today, members of the Tibetan parliament are elected directly by the people. The members of the Tibetan Cabinet are elected by the parliament, making the Cabinet answerable to the Parliament. His Holiness has continuously emphasized the need to further democratise the Tibetan administration and has publicly declared that once Tibet regains her independence he will not hold political office.

    In Washington, D.C., at the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in 1987, he proposed a Five-Point Peace Plan as a first step toward resolving the future status of Tibet. This plan calls for the designation of Tibet as a zone of peace, an end to the massive transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, restoration of fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms, and the abandonment of China's use of Tibet for nuclear weapons production and the dumping of nuclear waste, as well as urging "earnest negotiations" on the future of Tibet.

    In Strasbourg, France, on 15 June 1988, he elaborated the Five-Point Peace Plan and proposed the creation of a self-governing democratic Tibet, "in association with the People's Republic of China."

    On 2 September 1991, the Tibetan Government-in-exile declared the Strasbourg Proposal invalid because of the closed and negative attitude of the present Chinese leadership towards the ideas expressed in the proposal.

    On 9 October 1991, during an address at Yale University in the United States, His Holiness said that he wanted to visit Tibet to personally assess the political situation. He said, "I am extremely anxious that, in this explosive situation, violence may break out. I want to do what I can to prevent this.... My visit would be a new opportunity to promote understanding and create a basis for a negotiated solution."

    Contact with West and East
    Since 1967, His Holiness initiated a series of journeys which have taken him to some 46 nations. In autumn of 1991, he visited the Baltic States at the invitation of Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis of Lithuania and became the first foreign leader to address the Lithuanian Parliament. His Holiness met with the late Pope Paul VI at the Vatican in 1973. At a press conference in Rome in 1980, he outlined his hopes for the meeting with John Paul II: "We live in a period of great crisis, a period of troubling world developments. It is not possible to find peace in the soul without security and harmony between peoples. For this reason, I look forward with faith and hope to my meeting with the Holy Father; to an exchange of ideas and feelings, and to his suggestions, so as to open the door to a progressive pacification between peoples." His Holiness met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1980, 1982, 1986, 1988 and 1990. In 1981, His Holiness talked with Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Robert Runcie, and with other leaders of the Anglican Church in London. He also met with leaders of the Roman Catholic and Jewish communities and spoke at an interfaith service held in his honor by the World Congress of Faiths: "I always believe that it is much better to have a variety of religions, a variety of philosophies, rather than one single religion or philosophy. This is necessary because of the different mental dispositions of each human being. Each religion has certain unique ideas or techniques, and learning about them can only enrich one's own faith."

    Recognition and Awards
    Since his first visit to the west in the early 1973, a number of western universities and institutions have conferred Peace Awards and honorary Doctorate Degrees in recognition of His Holiness' distinguished writings in Buddhist philosophy and for his leadership in the solution of international conflicts, human rights issues and global environmental problems. In presenting the Raoul Wallenberg Congressional Human Rights Award in 1989, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos said, "His Holiness the Dalai Lama's courageous struggle has distinguished him as a leading proponent of human rights and world peace. His ongoing efforts to end the suffering of the Tibetan people through peaceful negotiations and reconciliation have required enormous courage and sacrifice."

    The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize
    The Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award the 1989 Peace Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama won worldwide praise and applause, with exception of China. The Committee citation read, "The Committee wants to emphasize the fact that the Dalai Lama in his struggle for the liberation of Tibet consistently has opposed the use of violence. He has instead advocated peaceful solutions based upon tolerance and mutual respect in order to preserve the historical and cultural heritage of his people."

    On 10 December 1989, His Holiness accepted the prize on the behalf of oppressed everywhere and all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace and the people of Tibet. In his remarks he said, "The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated. Our struggle must remain nonviolent and free of hatred."

    He also had a message of encouragement for the student-led democracy movement in China. "In China the popular movement for democracy was crushed by brutal force in June this year. But I do not believe the demonstrations were in vain, because the spirit of freedom was rekindled among the Chinese people and China cannot escape the impact of this spirit of freedom sweeping in many parts of the world. The brave students and their supporters showed the Chinese leadership and the world the human face of that great nations."

    A Simple Buddhist monk
    His Holiness often says, "I am just a simple Buddhist monk - no more, nor less."

    His Holiness follows the life of Buddhist monk. Living in a small cottage in Dharamsala, he rises at 4 A.M. to meditate, pursues an ongoing schedule of administrative meetings, private audiences and religious teachings and ceremonies. He concludes each day with further prayer before retiring. In explaining his greatest sources of inspiration, he often cites a favorite verse, found in the writings of the renowned eighth century Buddhist saint Shantideva:

    For as long as space endures
    And for as long as living beings remain,
    Until then may I too abide
    To dispel the misery of the world.

    For as long as space endures
    And for as long as living beings remain,
    Until then may I too abide
    To dispel the misery of the world.

  • Since 2014 Frans Timmermans he has served as First Vice-President of the European Union Commission, in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Previously, Timmermans was Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, a Member of the Dutch parliament, representing Partij van de Arbeid (the Dutch Labour Party), Dutch Minister of European Affairs, and as a diplomat and civil servant in various senior advisory and administrative positions in the Dutch government and the European Union Commission. Timmermans holds a degree in French Language and Literature from Radboud University Nijmegen and has completed postgraduate coursework in European Law and French Literature at the University of Nancy.

  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the Emmy®-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN's reporting on health and medical news for American MorningAnderson Cooper 360°, CNN documentaries, and anchors the weekend medical affairs programSanjay Gupta, MD. Gupta also contributes to CNN.com and CNNHealth.com.

    His medical training and public health policy experience distinguish his reporting on a range of medical and scientific topics including brain injury, disaster recovery, health care reform, fitness, military medicine, HIV/AIDS, cancer and other areas. In 2011, Gupta has reported from earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan, adding clarity and context to the human impact and radiation concerns. In 2010, Gupta reported on the devastating earthquake in Haiti and unprecedented flooding in Pakistan.

    Based in Atlanta, Gupta joined CNN in the summer of 2001. He reported from New York following the attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. In 2003, he embedded with the U.S. Navy's "Devil Docs" medical unit, reporting from Iraq and Kuwait as the unit traveled to Baghdad. He provided live coverage of the first operation performed during the war, and performed life-saving brain surgery five times himself in a desert operating room. 

    Gupta contributed to the network's 2010 Peabody Award-winning coverage of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2006, Gupta contributed to CNN's Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina, revealing that official reports that Charity Hospital in New Orleans had been evacuated were incorrect. His "Charity Hospital" coverage for Anderson Cooper 360°resulted in his 2006 News & Documentary Emmy® for Outstanding Feature Story. In 2004, Gupta was sent to Sri Lanka to cover the tsunami disaster that took more than 155,000 lives in Southeast Asia, contributing to the 2005 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for CNN.

    In addition to his work for CNN, Gupta is a member of the staff and faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine. He is associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. In 1997, he was selected as a White House Fellow, serving as a special advisor to First Lady Hillary Clinton.

    Source: Information provided by CNN on behalf of Sanjay Gupta.

  • His Excellency Dr. Mohammad Ashraf Ghani is the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    For more information please visit the Office of the President.

    Overview

    Mohammad Ashraf Ghani grew up in Afghanistan before pursuing his education abroad. Like so many Afghans, foreign invasion and civil war led to the persecution of his family and forced him to remain in exile. Whilst abroad, he became a leading scholar of Political Science and Anthropology and then worked at the World Bank where he learned the tools of international development. Following the fall of the Taliban in 2001,he returned to Afghanistan to devote his unique skills and knowledge to rebuilding the country. He advised interim President Karzai and served as the Finance Minister in the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan until December 2004.

    During his tenure as Finance Minister, he designed a package of reforms and initiated several public investment programs that led to significant improvements in the livelihoods of ordinary Afghans across the country. He declined to join the newly elected Government in December 2004. However, he remained an influential voice in the political circles both in Afghanistan and abroad. He served as the chairman of the Transition Coordination Commission (TCC) in 2010 which was responsible for transferring authority from foreign to national troops. He resigned from TCC to run for president in October 2013. He was declared winner on September 22, 2014.

    Early Life

    Dr. Ghani was born into an influential family in Afghanistan in 1949, and spent his early life in the province of Logar. He completed his primary and secondary education in Habibia High School in Kabul. Growing up in Kabul under a monarchy, where his father worked in various senior capacities, he has been immersed in politics from his early days.

    Education and Early Career

    As a young man, Dr. Ghani travelled to Lebanon to attend the American University in Beirut, where he met his future wife, Rula, and earned his first degree in 1973. He returned to Afghanistan in 1974 to teach Afghan studies and Anthropology at Kabul University before winning a government scholarship to study for a Master’s degree in Anthropology at New York’s Columbia University. He left Afghanistan in 1977, intending to be away for two years.

    When pro-Soviet forces came to power, most of the male members of his family were imprisoned and he was stranded in the US. He stayed at Columbia University and earned his Ph.D. there, with a doctoral thesis entitled ‘Production and domination: Afghanistan, 1747-1901’, and was immediately invited to teach at University of California, Berkeley (1983) and then at Johns Hopkins University (1983-1991). During this period, he became a frequent commentator on the BBC Dari and Pashto services, broadcast in Afghanistan.

    International Career

    In 1991, Dr. Ghani joined the World Bank as lead anthropologist, advising on the human dimension to economic programs. He served for 11 years, initially working on projects in East Asia, but moving in the mid-nineties towards articulating the Bank’s social policy and reviewing country strategies, conditionalities, and designing reform programs.

    In 1996, he pioneered the application of institutional and organizational analysis to macro processes of change and reform, working directly on the adjustment program of the Russian coal industry and carrying out reviews of the Bank’s country assistance strategies and structural adjustment programs globally.

    He spent five years in China, India, and Russia managing large-scale development and institutional transformation projects. Whilst at the World Bank, Dr. Ghani attended the Harvard-INSEAD and Stanford business school leadership training program.

    Work After 2001

    Following the ousting of the Taliban in late 2001, Dr. Ghani was asked to serve as Special Adviser to Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Afghanistan. In that capacity, Dr. Ghani returned to Afghanistan and worked on the design, negotiation and implementation of the Bonn Agreement, which set out the roadmap for transition to a new government based on popular consent. During the Interim Administration, Dr. Ghani served, on a pro bono basis, as Chief Adviser to Interim President Karzai and was among the first officials to disclose his own assets. In this capacity, he worked on the preparation of the Loya Jirgas (grand assemblies) that elected president Karzai and approved the constitution.

    Work as Finance Minister

    As Afghanistan’s Finance Minister for the duration of the Transitional Administration, Dr. Ghani is widely credited with the design and implementation of some of the most extensive and challenging reforms of the period.

    He issued a new currency in record time; computerized the operations of treasury; institutionalized the single treasury account; adopted a policy of no-deficit financing; introduced the budget as the central instrument of policy; centralized revenue; reformed the tariff system and overhauled customs; and instituted regular reporting to the cabinet, the people of Afghanistan, and international stakeholders as a tool of transparency and accountability.

    Dr. Ghani has combined personal integrity with extremely tough measures against corruption. When he became Finance Minister, he fired corrupt officials from the Finance Ministry, ignoring those who threatened to take revenge. He refused to pay the army until they produced a genuine roster of soldiers, rightly suspecting that the figures were exaggerated so as to claim extra money.

    Dr. Ghani harnessed his knowledge of the international system to break new ground in coordinating donor assistance. He required donors to keep their interventions to three sectors, thereby bringing clarity and mutual accountability to their relations with government counterparts, and preparing a development strategy that put the Afghans in the driver’s seat regarding accountability for their future.

    In recognition of his services, he was awarded the Sayed Jamal-ud-Din Afghan medal, the highest civilian award in the country. He was recognized as the Best Finance Minister of Asia in 2003 by Emerging Markets for his efforts.

    On March 31-1 April 2004, he presented a seven-year program of public investment, ‘Securing Afghanistan’s Future’, to an international conference in Berlin attended by 65 finance and foreign ministers. Described as the most comprehensive program ever prepared and presented by a poor country to the international community, ‘Securing Afghanistan’s Future’ was prepared by a team of one-hundred experts working under the supervision of a committee chaired by Dr. Ghani. The concept of a double-compact, between the donors and the government of Afghanistan on the one hand and between the government and people of Afghanistan on the other, underpinned the program of investment in ‘Securing Afghanistan’s Future’.

    The donors pledged $8.2 billion at the conference for the first three years of the program –- the exact amount asked by the government — and agreed that the government’s request for a total seven-year package of assistance of $27.5 billion was justified.

    Throughout his career, Dr. Ghani has focused relentlessly on poverty eradication through the creation of wealth and the establishment of the rights of citizenship. In Afghanistan, he is attributed with designing the National Solidarity Program, a program of block grants to villages in which elected village councils determine both the priorities and the mechanisms of implementation. The program has been rolled out across the country and has become so successful that other countries around the world are seeking to emulate it.

    Dr. Ghani also partnered with the Ministry of Communication to ensure that telecom licenses were granted on a fully-transparent basis. As a result, the number of mobile phones in the country jumped from 100 in July 2002 to over a million at the end of 2005. Private investment in the sector exceeded $200 million and the telecom sector emerged as one of the major sectors of revenue generation for the government.

    Post-Finance Ministry

    After the election of President Karzai in October 2004, Mr Ghani declined to join the cabinet and instead asked to be appointed as Chancellor of Kabul University. As Chancellor, he was engaged in articulating the concept of shared governance among the faculty, students, and staff and advocating a vision of the University where men and women with skills and commitment to lead their country in the age of globalization can be trained.

    Dr. Ghani subsequently founded the Institute for State Effectiveness, to help governments and their international partners to build more effective, accountable systems of government. As Chairman of the Institute, Dr. Ghani co-authored a book, ‘Fixing Failed States’, to international acclaim.

    As a candidate during the 2009 presidential elections, he placed fourth. In 2010, he served as chairman of the Transition Coordination Commission. TCC was responsible for transfer of power from ISAF/NATO troops to Afghan Security Forces. During his time at TCC, he visited all of the 34 provinces several times.

    On October 1st 2013, he resigned as the chairman of TCC to run for presidential elections in 2014. He was declared winner of the June 14th runoff on September 22, 2014 with 55.27% of total votes. He was sworn in as president on September 29th, 2014.

    Source: Office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, 8/1/19

  • H.E. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003. During this period he opened up the country to foreign investments, reformed taxation, reduced trade barriers, oversaw the privatisations of numerous state-owned enterprises and created a world-class physical infrastructure. He also sought to bridge Malaysia’s ethnic divide by increasing general prosperity.

    In 1991, he launched the New Development Policy, which emphasised industrial and commercial development and the elimination of poverty. Under Tun Dr. Mahathir’s leadership, Malaysia developed into one of the most prosperous and dynamic economies in Southeast Asia, with a burgeoning industrial sector, an expanding middle class and enhanced quality of life.

    In 1995, the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) initiative was introduced to make Malaysia a global player in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

    Malaysia also played a more active role in the international arena, acting as the voice for developing nations in Asia and Africa. Always with one eye on the future, Tun Dr. Mahathir unveiled Vision 2020 in 1991, a blueprint for Malaysia’s journey towards becoming a developed economy and a mature democracy by the year 2020.

    Despite his retirement, Dr Mahathir has been kept busy with numerous invitations and speaking engagements locally and abroad.

    He is the Honorary President of Perdana Leadership Foundation (PLF), a think-tank set up to preserve, develop and disseminate the intellectual heritage of past leaders. Tun Dr Mahathir is also the Chairman of Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War (KLFCW) and President of Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF). Both these organisations aim at promoting global peace and criminalising war.

    In 2015, Tun Dr. Mahathir decided to come out of his political retirement and spearheaded a campaign to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from office.

    It came about following international expose of Prime Minister Najib’s complicity in the national sovereign fund entity known as 1MDB in which he allegedly was involved in the misappropriation of public funds amounting to billions of dollars.

    Tun Dr. Mahathir’s efforts to rid Malaysia of the Datuk Seri Najib, whom USA’s Department of Justice had described as committing the “biggest kleptocracy in the history of its investigation”, received widespread support.

    Following that, Tun Dr. Mahathir and several like-minded political leaders had formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) in which he is the chairman.

    Other political parties opposed to the Prime Minister had also rallied around him and elected Tun Dr Mahathir to be the chairman of Pakatan Harapan (Coalition of Hope) as well as naming him as the Prime Minister designate if they won the 14th general election.
    On 9th May 2018, the result of the 14th Malaysian General Election declared the Pakatan Harapan as the winner. Tun Dr Mahathir wins sworn in as the 7th Prime Minister the following day.

    Tun Dr. Mahathir is married to a doctor, Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, and they have seven children and sixteen grandchildren.

    Source: Consulate General of Malaysia, 9/6/2019

  • Jim Yong Kim (@JimYongKim), M.D., Ph.D., is the 12th President of the World Bank Group. Soon after he assumed his position in July 2012, the organization established two goals to guide its work: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity, focusing on the bottom 40% of the population in developing countries. In September 2016, the World Bank Group Board unanimously reappointed Kim to a second five-year term as President.

    During his first term, the World Bank Group supported the development priorities of countries at levels never seen outside a financial crisis and, with our partners, achieved two successive, record replenishments of the World Bank Group's fund for the poorest. The institution also launched several innovative financial instruments including facilities to address infrastructure needs, prevent pandemics, and help the millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes by climate shocks, conflict, and violence.

    Kim's career has revolved around health, education, and improving the lives of the poor. Before joining the World Bank Group, Kim, a physician and anthropologist, served as the President of Dartmouth College and held professorships at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. From 2003 to 2005, as director of the World Health Organization's HIV/AIDS department, he led the "3 by 5" initiative, the first-ever global goal for AIDS treatment, which greatly to expand access to antiretroviral medication in developing countries. In 1987, Kim co-founded Partners In Health, a non-profit medical organization that now works in poor communities on four continents.

    Kim has received a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship, was recognized as one of America's "25 Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report, and was named one of TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."

    Source: World Bank Group 

  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, a medical doctor, was Norway’s first woman Prime Minister, serving a total of ten years as head of government between 1981 and 1996. She chaired the World Commission on Environment and Development – known as the Brundtland Commission – which articulated the principle of sustainable development for the first time at a global level. She was Director-General of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003, UN Special Envoy for Climate Change from 2007 to 2010 and, from 2011 to 2012, was a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel.

    Source: Office of The Elders, 6/15/2019

  • Dr. Barham Ahmed Salih Qassim is the ninth President of the Republic of Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament elected him as the President of Iraq on October 2, 2018 with an overwhelming majority.

    The President was born on September 8, 1960. He earned his Doctor of Engineering in Statistics and Computer Applications from the University of Liverpool in 1987, and his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and Construction from the University of Cardiff in 1983.

    His Excellency has assumed several high-ranking positions in the Iraqi federal government. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister for economic affairs, and the head of the economic committee from 2005 – 2009. In 2005, he served as the Minister of Planning in the Iraqi transitional government, and in 2004 as Deputy Prime Minister in Iraq’s interim government.

    H.E. Dr. Salih was tasked by the Kurdish leadership to head the Kurdistani electoral slate and, was designated to form the sixth Kurdish government. Hence, he served as the Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Region from 2009 – 2011. He was also the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Regional Government in Sulaymaniyah from 2001-2004.

    President Salih is fluent in Arabic, Kurdish, and English languages.

    His Excellency is interested in the cultural and academic fields. He founded the American University of Iraq – Sulaymaniyah. He is an ardent supporter of civil society and, non- governmental organizations.

    Dr. Salih was politically active. During Saddam’s reign, he was arrested by the Special Investigative Committee in 1979 in Kirkuk. Later, he was arrested again at the Military Intelligence HQ in Sulaymaniyah. He was active in the opposition to the dictatorial regime and, participated in several conferences and conventions.

    His Excellency joined the ranks of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1976. In 2018 he founded the Alliance for Democracy and Justice. Later, it was agreed that he would resume his political activity with the PUK.

    The President is married to Dr. Sarbagh Salih. The First Lady is a botanist and women's rights activist. Together they have a son and a daughter.

    Source: Office of the President of Iraq, 9/3/2019

  • Ameenah Gurib-Fakim has been, prior to joining the State House, the Managing Director of the Centre International de Développement Pharmaceutique (CIDP) Research and Innovation as well as Professor of Organic Chemistry with an endowed chair at the University of Mauritius. Since 2001, she has served successively as Dean of the Faculty of Science and Pro Vice Chancellor (2004- 2010). She has also worked at the Mauritius Research Council as Manager for Research (1995-1997).

    Ms Gurib-Fakim earned a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Surrey (1983) and a PhD from the University of Exeter, UK (1987). During her academic journey, she has participated in several consultation meetings on environmental issues organized by international organizations. Between 2011-2013, she was elected and served as Chairperson of the International Council for Scientific Union – Regional Office for Africa, and served as an Independent Director on the Board of Barclays Bank of Mauritius Ltd between (2012-2015).

    As a Founding Member of the Pan African Association of African Medicinal Plants, she co-authored the first ever African Herbal Pharmacopoeia. She has authored and co-edited 28 books, several book chapters and scientific articles in the field of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. She has lectured extensively across the world; is a Member of the Editorial Boards of major journals, has served on Technical and national committees in various capacities. Elevated to the Order of the Commander of the Star and Key by the Government of Mauritius in 2008, she has been admitted to the Order of the Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Palmes Academiques by the Government of France in 2010 and is the recipient of 4 DSc (s).

    Elected Fellow of several academies and societies, Ms Gurib-Fakim received several international prizes including the 2007 l’Oreal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Science, the African Union Commission Award for Women in Science, 2009.

    On 05 June 2015, she was sworn in as the 6th President and the First Female President of the Republic of Mauritius. She was elevated to the Order of GCSK by the Government of Mauritius, admitted to the Order of Francois 1er des Deux Siciles by Prince Charles of Bourbon and received the ​Legion d’Honneur from the Government of France in 2016. In 2017, she received both the lifelong achievement award of the United States Pharmacopoeia-CePat Award and the American Botanical Council Norman Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award. In 2018, she received the Order of St George at the Semperopernball, Dresden, Germany and the Global Energy Parliament Award, State of Kerala, India.

    In June 2016, she was in the Forbes List for the 100 ‘Most Powerful women in the world’ and 1st among the Top 100 Women in Africa Forbes List 2017. She is honoured as one of Foreign Policy’s 2015 Global Thinkers.​

    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Mauritius, September 2018

  • Dr. Alassane Outtara was elected as the 5th President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire for the first time in 2010. An economist by training, President Ouattara holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration from Drexel Institute of Technology, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as a master's degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 

    In 1968, he joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where he held positions of increasing responsibilities, and later joined the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), where, at the Age of 40, he became Deputy Governor and later Governor of the Bank. 

    In April 1990, while Côte d'Ivoire was hit by an unprecedented crisis, Dr. Alassane Ouattara was appointed by late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny as Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Coordination of the Stabilization Program and Economic recovery. A few months later, he was appointed as Côte d'Ivoire's first Prime Minister and Head of Government, until December 1993. He then returned to the IMF where he served as Deputy Managing Director; the highest position held by an African in this institution, to date. 

    After his rich international career, Dr. Ouattara decided to return to his home country in 1999, where he took the presidency of the Rassemblement des Republicains (RDR) - one of Côte d'Ivoire's major political parties. In 2010, Dr. Ouattara won the presidential election with 54.10% of votes. 

    President Ouattara is considered as the father of the new emerging Côte d'Ivoire. He introduced many economic reforms that have transformed Côte d'Ivoire and improved the livelihood of millions of Ivorians.

    Under President Ouattara's leadership, Côte d'Ivoire became the 3rd fastest growing economy in Africa. Based on the tremendous economic growth and social progress experienced during his first presidential term, President Ouattara was brilliantly reelected for a second term in October 2015, on the first round of elections, with 83.66% of votes.

    Source: Office of the President of Côte d'Ivoire, September 2017

  • Dr. Brigitte Bierlein, born on June 25, 1949 in Vienna

    1971: Awarded JD at the University of Vienna

    1972-1975: Judicial preparatory service; qualification to exercise the
    function of a judge

    1975: Judge at civil and criminal district courts in Vienna

    1977: Public Prosecutor at the Public Prosecutor's Office, Vienna

    1986: Assignment to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, Vienna

    1987: Assignment to the Ministry of Justice, subsequently Chief Public
    Prosecutor at the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, Vienna

    1990: Solicitor General at the Procurator General’ Office with the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice

    1995: Member of the board of the Austrian Association of Public
    Prosecutors

    2001-2003: President of the Austrian Association of Public Prosecutors; Member of the Executive Committee of the IAP (International Association of Prosecutors)

    1 January 2003 to 22 February 2018 Vice-President of the Constitutional Court of Austria

    Since 23 February 2018 President of the Constitutional Court of Austria

    Since 3 June 2019 Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria

    Source: Federal Chancellery of Austria, 9/9/2019

  • Born in Rome on 4 August 1953, Antonio Tajani is the son of an Italian army officer and a Latin and Greek professor. He lived in France for five years, where he and his family accompanied his father to NATO command. He holds a degree in law from La Sapienza University in Rome.

    Mr Tajani completed his military service as an officer in the Italian Air Force. After attending a specialised air defence course at Borgo Piave di Latina, he joined the NATO Air Defence Ground Environment (NADGE).

    Mr Tajani was a professional journalist for more than twenty years. He started out as a presenter of news programmes on Rai Radio 1, the Italian state broadcaster, and was a special correspondent in Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia. He was then asked by, Indro Montanelli, the most recognised and revered Italian journalist of the twentieth century, to work for the newspaper, Il Giornale. A co-founder of Forza Italia, in 1994, he was elected to the European Parliament for the first time, the genesis of what have turned into more than two decades of profound engagement with the European Union and its citizens.

    He was appointed European Commissioner for Transport in 2008 and strongly backed the extension of passenger rights during his tenure. In 2010, he became European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, where he championed ambitious reindustrialisation goals, "green growth" and a particular emphasis on helping SMEs, notably through the Late Payments Directive and the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action plan.

    He was re-elected to the European Parliament and as one of its vice-presidents in 2014.

    Campaigning on a platform that promised to have the presidency focus on actively supporting the work of Members while bringing the institution closer to EU citizens, Mr Tajani was elected President of the European Parliament on 17 January 2017.

    Mr Tajani has always been driven by an unwavering belief that the European Union must derive its strength from the results it delivers to its citizens. Nevertheless, he also understands that the EU is going through a sensitive chapter in its history. As a matter of fact, it is only by working twice as hard to respond to the concerns of citizens that the European Parliament will win back the general public's trust. He looks forward to the challenge, working for all Europeans over the next two and a half years.

    Mr Tajani is married with two children. Besides Italian, he speaks French, Spanish and English.

    Honors and Awards:

    In 2007, Mr Tajani received the Grand Cross of the Order of Faithful Service from Romania.

    In 2012, he was awarded France’s highest order for military and civil merit: Officer of the Order of the Legion of Honour, from Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius.

    In 2013, he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit from the Prime Minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy.

    In 2015, he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from the Government of Chile.

    In 2017, he received the Princesa de Asturias de la Concordia Award from Spain.

    In 2018, he received the Carlos V European Award from the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation.

    Source: Office of the European Parliament, February 2019

  • Andrej Plenković was sworn in as Prime Minister on 19 October 2016, thus becoming the 12th Head of Government since Croatia's independence. On 17 July 2016, he was elected President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), a member of the European People's Party.

    Born in Zagreb on 8 April 1970, Andrej Plenković is married and has two children. He is fluent in English, French, and Italian, and conversant in German.

    Political Career

    • October 2016 Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia
    • September 2016 Won the general elections with a solid pro-European, reformist, centre-right and
    • Christian-democratic agenda
    • June 2016 President of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ)
    • 2013-2016 Member of the European Parliament
    • 2011-2013 Member of the Croatian Parliament
    • 2010-2011 State Secretary - for EU Affairs
    • 2011-2012 Conducted a successful referendum campaign on EU membership

    Diplomatic Career

    • 2005-2010 Deputy Ambassador to France
    • 2002-2005 Deputy Head of Croatia's Mission to the EU
    • 2001-2002 Member of the Negotiating Team on the Stabilisation and Association Agreement
    • 1997-2001 Head of the Department for European Integration
    • 1996-1997 Department for Analysis
    • 1995-1995 Head of the Office of the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
    • 1994 Joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Education

    • 2002 Master of International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb
    • 2002 Bar Exam
    • 1997 State Exam
    • 1993 Bachelor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb


    Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations, September 2017

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