• Zoran Milanović was born on 30th October 1966 in Zagreb, where he graduated from elementary and high school. He graduated Law at the University of Zagreb and was awarded with the Rector’s Award in 1990. In 1998, he earned a Master’s Degree in European Union Law at the Flemish University in Brussels (V.U.B.).

    He started his professional career as an intern at the Zagreb Commercial Court and in 1993 he joined the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was a political advisor to the OSCE peacekeeping mission in Azerbaijan in 1994, and from 1996 to 1999 he serves as an advisor at the Croatian mission to the European Union and NATO in Brussels. In 2003, Zoran Milanović became the Assistant Minister for Political Multilateral Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    In 2007 he was elected President of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, succeeding Ivica Račan. In that year, he also served as the President of the National Committee for Monitoring the Accession Negotiations of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union. He became a Member of the Croatian Parliament in 2008. Until 2011, he was the President of the SDP Parliamentary Group and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution, Standing Orders and Political System.

    As a leader of the four-party Centre-Left coalition, he won the parliamentary elections in 2011, thus becoming the Prime Minister of the 10th Croatian Government. During his mandate, Croatia became a member of the European Union in 2013. He served as the Prime Minister of Croatia until 2016. After the 2016 early elections, he ended his term as the President of the Social Democratic Party. Later on, he continued his professional career as a consultant.

    He returned to politics in 2019. He ran for and won the 2019-2020 presidential elections, thus becoming the fifth President of the Republic of Croatia.

    He has been married to Sanja Musić Milanović since 1994. They have two sons – Ante Jakov and Marko.

    Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations, August 2021

  • Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou made his directorial debut with Red Sorghum, winner of the Berlin Golden Bear in 1988.  Judou (1989) and Raise the Red Lantern (1991) were both nominated for Academy Awards in the category of “Best Foreign Language Film,” and To Live (1994) was a co-winner of the Grand Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.  More recently, he achieved enormous popular success with the films Hero (2002), featuring music composed by Tan Dun, and House of Flying Daggers (2004).  He made his operatic debut directing Turandot for the Teatro Comunale in Florence in 1997, then staging the same opera on location in the Forbidden City in Beijing in 1998. 

    Zhang Yimou was born in the ancient Chinese city of Xian in the Shaanxi Province.  While working on farms and factories during the Cultural Revolution, he began taking photographs that later helped him gain admission to study cinematography at the Beijing Film Academy, from which he graduated in 1982.  Zhang Yimou’s most recent film, Curse of the Golden Flower with Gong Li, is scheduled for release later this year.  His current projects include the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies, which he will co-design with Steven Spielberg.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2006

  • Mr. Komšić was born on January 20, 1964, in Sarajevo where he completed his education, receiving his law degree from the University of Sarajevo. During his schooling he was active in the student movement. Later he also graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

    In 1992, he worked as a lawyer at the Institute for Pension Insurance of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Immediately after the beginning of the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina he voluntarily joined the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  He demonstrated exceptional bravery in defending Sarajevo and received the «Zlatni ljiljan» (“Golden Lilly“), the highest military decoration. In the army he attained the rank of First Lieutenant and in 1996 he was demobilized at his own request.

    From 1996 to 1998, he was employed at the Federal Ministry for Displaced Persons and Refugees. Mr. Komšić embarked upon an active political career as a member of the Social Democratic Party of BH and was elected a member of the City Council of Sarajevo.

    From 1998 to 2000, he was the President of the City Council of Sarajevo.

    In the 2000 local elections, he was elected Mayor of the Municipality of Novo Sarajevo, a position he held till the autumn of 2001.

    Following the establishment of diplomatic relations between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, he was appointed as the first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Belgrade in 2001. In the spring of 2003, he resigned from the post of BH Ambassador to the FR of Yugoslavia as a gesture of disapproval towards the nationalist concept of governance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Mr. Komšić was elected into the top party leadership of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    From 2003 to 2004, he performed the duties of Deputy Mayor of the City of Sarajevo.

    Mr. Komšić won the 2004 local elections, becoming Mayor of the Municipality of Novo Sarajevo.

    At the Party Congress he was elected vice-president of the Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a position he still holds today.

    In the general election held in 2006, he ran as a candidate for the Croat member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mr. Komšić emerged victorious and was elected to a four-year term as a member (chairman) of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

    Mr. Komšić took over the chairmanship of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 6, 2007.

    Mr. Komšić is an Honorary Citizen of El Paso (Texas, USA) and the recipient of numerous civic awards and recognitions.

    Mr. Komšić lives in Sarajevo. He is married and has one daughter.

    Mr. Komšić dedicates a great deal of his time to social and humanitarian activities and is gladly seen amongst his fellow citizens.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • Yvonne Hirdman is Professor at the Department of History at Stockholm University. Her focus has been on gender issues and her book on the disciplinary aspects of the political and social ideals in Sweden, Att lägga livet tillrätta (1989), broke new ground in the study of Social Democracy. Among her recent publications are Det tänkande hjärtat: boken om Alva Myrdal (2006) and Genus: om det stabilas föränderligaformer(2003).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Yusef Komunyakaa, professor and distinguished senior poet at New York University, was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1947. His numerous books of poems include Pleasure Dome: New & Collected Poems, 1975–1999 (Wesleyan University Press, 2001); Talking Dirty to the Gods (2000); Thieves of Paradise (1998), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; Neon Vernacular: New & Selected Poems, 1977–1989 (1994), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Magic City (1992); Dien Cai Dau (1988), which won The Dark Room Poetry Prize; I Apologize for the Eyes in My Head (1986), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Award; and Copacetic (1984). Komunyakaa’s prose is collected in Blues Notes: Essays, Interviews & Commentaries (University of Michigan Press, 2000). Komunyakaa also co-edited The Jazz Poetry Anthology (with J. A. Sascha Feinstein, 1991) and co-translated The Insomnia of Fire by Nguyen Quang Thieu (with Martha Collins, 1995). His honors include the William Faulkner Prize from the Université de Rennes, the Thomas Forcade Award, the Hanes Poetry Prize, fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Louisiana Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam, where he served as a correspondent and managing editor of The Southern Cross. From 1999 to 2005, he served as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. Professor Komunyakaa's most recent book is Gilgamesh, a verse play (concept and dramaturgy by Chad Gracia; Wesleyan University Press, 2006).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • Yukiya Amano is Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA, an intergovernmental organization based in Vienna, is the global centre for cooperation in nuclear applications, energy, science and technology. Established in 1957, the Agency works with its Member States and partners to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Mr. Amano served as Chair of the Agency’s Board of Governors from September 2005 to September 2006. He was Japan’s Resident Representative to the Agency from 2005 until his election as Director General in July 2009. He assumed his duties as IAEA Director General on 1 December 2009. He has extensive experience in disarmament and non-proliferation diplomacy, as well as nuclear energy issues. At the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Mr. Amano was Director-General for the Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Science Department from 2002 until 2005. He previously served as a governmental expert on the U.N. Panel on Missiles and on the U.N. Expert Group on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education. Mr. Amano contributed to the 1995, 2000 and 2005 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conferences, and he chaired the 2007 Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty Review Conference.

    A graduate of the Tokyo University Faculty of Law, Mr. Amano joined the Japanese Foreign Ministry in April 1972, when he began a series of international postings in Belgium, France, Laos, Switzerland, and the United States. Mr. Amano was born in 1947, is married and speaks English, French and Japanese.

    Career Summary

    • August 2005–August 2009: Permanent Representative and AmbassadorExtraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna and Governor of the IAEA
    • April 2007: Chairman of the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the
    • 2010 NPT Review Conference
    • September 2005–September 2006: Chairman of the Board of Governors of the IAEA
    • August 2002: Ambassador, Director-General for Disarmament, Non- Proliferation and Science Department, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • August 2001: Visiting Scholar, Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA
    • July 2001: Governmental Expert on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Education to the UN Group
    • April 2001: Governmental Expert on Missiles to UN Panel
    • February 2001: Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, USA
    • January 2000: Chairman of the G7 Nuclear Safety Group
    • August 1999: Deputy Director-General for Arms Control and Scientific Affairs, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • June 1997: Consul General of Japan in Marseilles, France
    • August 1994: Counselor, Delegation of Japan to the Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, Switzerland
    • August 1993: Director, Nuclear Energy Division, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • February 1993: Director, Nuclear Science Division, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • February 1990: Director, OECD Publications and Information Center, Tokyo, Japan
    • October 1988: Director for Research Coordination and Senior Research Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs, Tokyo, Japan
    • April 1972: Joined Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    Education and Academic Experience

    • 2001-2002: Visiting Scholar, Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA
    • 2001: Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, USA
    • 2000-2001: Lecturer, International Politics, Sophia University, Japan
    • 1991-1992: Lecturer, International Politics, Yamanashi University, Japan
    • 1988-1990: Director for Research Coordination and Senior Research Fellow, Japan Institute of International Affairs, Japan
    • 1974-1975: Studies at University of Nice, France
    • 1973-1974: Studies at University of Besancon, France
    • 1972: Graduated from Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo, Japan


    • A Japanese View on Nuclear Disarmament (The Non-Proliferation Review, 2002)
    • The Significance of the NPT Extension (Future Restraints on Arms Proliferation, 1996)
    • La Non Proliferation Nucleaire en Extreme-Orient (Proliferation et Non- Proliferation Nucleaire, 1995)
    • Sea Dumping of Liquid Radio Active Waste by Russia ( Gaiko Jiho, 1994)

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2011

  • Born in Moscow to a typical intelligentsia family in 1956, Yegor Gaidar graduated from the Department of Economics at Moscow State University in 1978 and received his Ph.D. (candidate of sciences) in economics in 1980.  After several years as a researcher, he became a journalist and then received his doctor of economics in 1987.

    On the threshold of reforms in 1990, he was appointed director of the newly established Institute for Economic Policy.  In 1991, Dr. Gaidar became the deputy chairman in charge of matters of economic policy of the Government of the Russian Federation, as well as becoming the minister of economy and finance.  In 1992 he became the acting chairman of the government of the Russian Federation.  He consequently resigned and returned to his think-tank that had become known as the Institute for the Economy in Transition.  In 1993, he became the first deputy chairman of the government of the Russian Federation and acting minister of the economy of the Russian Federation.

    Dr. Gaidar was the founder and chairman of the Democratic Choice of Russia, a pro-market liberal party, and as such won elections to the first Russian Duma (Parliament) in 1993.  Between 1992 and 1994, he also was counselor on economic policy to the Russian Federation president.  However, he resigned a short time later in protest to the war in Chechnya.

    Dr. Gaidar initiated the establishment of the Union of Rightist Forces political party in 1998 and became its co-chairman.  From 1999 to 2004, he once again served as a member of Parliament.

    At present, Dr. Gaidar is the director of Institute for the Economy in Transition, co-chairman of the Executive Committee of the Union of Rightist Forces, and vice president of the International Democrat Union (Conservative).

    Dr. Gaidar is the author of several publications, including Economic Reforms and Hierarchic Structures (Russia, 1990); State and Evolution: Russia's Search for a Free Market (Russia, 1995; U.S., 2003); Days of Defeat and Victory (Russia, 1996; Japan, 1997; U.S., 1999); Anomalies of Economic Growth (Russia, 1997; Poland,1999); Selected Works (two volume edition: Russia, 1997); The Economics of Russian Transition (ed) (Russia, 1999; U.S., 2002); Long Time (Russia, 2005) and Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia (Russia, 2006; U.S. hardcover, 2007).

    Dr. Gaidar is also the author of over 200 papers published in Australia, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and by institutions worldwide. He is the 1996 Hitchcock Honorary Professor at the University of California, Berkeley and the 1997 Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecturer, at Duke University. 

    Dr. Gaidar is married and resides with his wife and four children in Moscow.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • Yadh Ben Achour is the former President of "The High Authority" of achieving the objectives of the revolution, political reform and democratic transition in Tunisia, whose primary mission was to prepare for the first free elections of the National Constituent Assembly according to democratic standards. In 1992, he resigned from the Constitutional Council on the grounds of President Ben Ali's attempt to control the Tunisian League for Human Rights through a reform of the law on associations. From 1993 to 1999 he served as Dean of the Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences at the University of Carthage. Professor Ben Achour specializes in Islamic political theory and public and international law and is the author of several books, most recently Tunisia: A revolution in an Islamic country, Tunis, CERES Editions, December 2016.

    Source: Biography provided by the Columbia Global Centers.

  • Yaga Venugopal Reddy is the twenty-first Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India's central bank. He was born on August 17, 1941 in Andhra Pradesh, India. He holds a Ph.D. from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, and was a visiting faculty member at both Osmania University and the London School of Economics.

    Prior to his appointment as Governor, Dr. Reddy was India's Executive Director on the Board of the International Monetary Fund. Dr. Reddy was also an adviser to the World Bank and is on the International Monetary Fund’s panel of consultants in Fiscal Affairs. His experience in the development process includes advising China, Bahrain, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

    Dr. Reddy served a six-year tenure with the Reserve Bank of India as its Deputy Governor, monitoring the monetary policy, exchange rate policy, internal and external debt management, foreign exchange reserves management and economic research.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2008

  • Xiguang Liis the Executive Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication of Tsinghua University. He was the founding director of the Center for International Communications Studies of Tsinghua University, which was a brainchild of Mr. Wang Daohan, China’s late veteran political figure. As an academic research and education center in China, the center works as a trail blazer in pushing forward the reforms of Chinese press system as well as the journalism education system. Serving as a think tank in press and politics, the center strives for an open press system through press reform.

    Li has been leading a national program training health officials, policy makers, government officials and media leaders about important public health issues. During the outbreak of SARS, Li and his center served as a leading think tank and advisory body to the national government and Beijing municipal government. Li has led 10 workshops in Beijing, Henan and Sichuan, training Chinese journalists, editors and media managers on reporting HIV/AIDS.

    Drawing on international resources, he is running a regular media forum, debating about press, politics, journalism and media industry. In recent years, Li and his Center has helped organize media events and live coverage for the public speeches of President George Bush, Prime Minister Tony Blair, former President Bill Clinton and former French President Giscard d’Eestaing, at Tsinghua University. For international journalists, the Center offers a home where visitors meet with local colleagues and gain access to China through a growing network of professional and academic exchanges.

    Li is an author of many books, including (co-authored): Journalism in Transition (2005), The Soft Power and Global Communication (2005), The HIV/AIDS Media Book (2005), The Deformed Press (2004), The Art of Looking for Stories (2003), The Next Media (2002), New Global Communications (2002), Media Power (2002), and Essential Journalism (2002).

    Li has received a number of awards in education including Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Higher Education by the State Council (2004), China’s Top 10 Educators (2004), The National Best University Course(awarded by the Ministry of Education, 2004), Top 10 New Academicians(awarded by Tsinghua Univesity, 2003), Best Teachers of the Year(awarded by Tsinghua University, 2002), Best Teacher and Good Friend(awarded by Tsinghua Graduate Students Union, 2001).

    Li was an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow with the Washington Post in 1995 and a research fellow with the Shorenstein Center for Press, Politics and Public Policy of Harvard University in 1999. He worked as a science writer, editor, senior editor and director of the political desk of Xinhua News Agency for 11 years before he joined Tsinghua University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2006

  • Dr. Schäuble has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1972 and served as the Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group from 1981 to 1984. He then held the offices of Federal Minister for Special Tasks and Head of the Federal Chancellery before serving as Federal Minister of the Interior from 1989 to 1991. Dr. Schäuble has been a member of the CDU National Executive Committee since 1989. He headed the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag from 1991 until 2000; from 1998 until 2000 he was also national chairman of the CDU. He has been a member of the CDU Presidium since then. He was the Deputy Head of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag for Foreign, Security and European Policy from 2002 to 2005, following which he again served as Federal Minister of the Interior. He held that office until October 2009, when he was appointed Federal Minister of Finance.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2015

  • Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka is renowned as an artist, a humanitarian and a uniquely eloquent voice of the modern African experience. Born in Western Nigeria and educated in Ibadan, Mr. Soyinka continued his studies at the University of Leeds, served as a play-reader at the Royal Court Theatre in London and in 1960 returned to Nigeria, where he founded a theater company. His first plays, The Swamp Dwellers and The Lion and the Jewel, were published in 1963. Since then, he has published numerous works for the theater; two novels, The Interpreters and Season of Anomy; memoirs (Aké: The Years of Childhood); literary essays (Myth, Literature and the African World); political works (The Open Sore of a Continent); and several volumes of poetry. He has taught widely, with academic associations including Emory University, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz: politician, lawyer, farmer; born September 13, 1950, in Warsaw, married, two children: daughter Małgorzata and son Tomasz.

    Education: studied at Law and Administration Department of Warsaw University, obtained M.A. in 1972, Ph.D. in 1978 at International Organizations Section of the Institute of International Law at the Law and Administration Department of Warsaw University; assistant and lecturer, 1972-1978; Fulbright scholarship holder in 1980-1981, scholarship at Columbia University in New York; from 1985 - private farmer; vice-premier and justice minister, 1993-1995; premier, 1996-1997 Member of the Union of Socialist Youth, 1968-1973 (chairman of the Union's board at Warsaw University in 1972-1973), Union of Polish Students/Socialist Union of Polish Students 1968-75 (Chairman of the University Council , 1973); member of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR) , 1971-1990; member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 1992-1996; member of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) since 1999; member of parliament since 1989 (member of the PZPR caucus, 1989-1990); chairman of the SLD parliamentary fraction, 1990-1993; deputy speaker of the Sejm (lower house of parliament), 1995-1996; chairman of the constitutional commission, 1995-1996; member of the special commission on territorial self-government, 1990; vice-chairman of the national minorities commission, 1989-1991; member of the parliamentary foreign affairs commission since 1989; member of the board of the Inter-parliamentary Union, 1989-1991; member of the Podlaskie province council, 1998-2001.

    Knight of the Order of Merit of the French Republic since 1997, Knight of the Order of the Greek Republic since 1997, honorary doctorate degrees from Appalachian University (1998) and South Carolina University (1997).

    He likes spending free time with family. Hobbies include reading, handiwork, hunting, angling.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • William H. Foege is an epidemiologist who worked in the successful campaign to eradicate smallpox in the 1970s.  Dr. Foege became Chief of the CDC Smallpox Eradication Program, and was appointed director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in 1977.  He attended Pacific Lutheran University, received his medical degree from the University of Washington, and his Master's in Public Health from Harvard University.

    In 1984, Foege and several colleagues formed the Task Force for Child Survival, a working group for the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the Rockefeller Foundation.  Its success in accelerating childhood immunization led to an expansion of its mandate in 1991 to include other issues which diminish the quality of life for children.

    Dr. Foege joined The Carter Center in 1986 as its Executive Director, Fellow for Health Policy and Executive Director of Global 2000.  In 1992, he resigned as executive director of The Carter Center, but continued in his role as a Fellow and as Executive Director of the Task Force for Child Survival and Development; he resigned from this position in October of 1999.  In January 1997, he joined the faculty of Emory University, where he was Presidential Distinguished Professor of International Health at the Rollins School of Public Health.  In September 1999, Dr. Foege became a Senior Medical Advisor for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  He retired from both Emory and the Gates Foundation in December 2001. 

    Dr. Foege has championed many issues, but child survival and development, injury prevention, population, preventive medicine, and public health leadership are of special interest, particularly in the developing world.  He is a strong proponent of disease eradication and control, and has taken an active role in the eradication of Guinea worm, polio and measles, and the elimination of River Blindness.  By writing and lecturing extensively, Dr. Foege has succeeded in broadening public awareness of these issues and bringing them to the forefront of domestic and international health policies. 

    Dr. Foege is the recipient of many awards, holds honorary degrees from numerous institutions, and was named a Fellow of the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1997.  He is the author of more than 125 professional publications.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 6/2006

  • William C. Dudley became the tenth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on January 27, 2009. In that capacity, he serves as the vice chairman and a permanent member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the group responsible for formulating the nation’s monetary policy.

    Mr. Dudley had been executive vice president of the Markets Group at the New York Federal Reserve where he also managed the System Open Market Account for the FOMC. The markets group oversees domestic open market and foreign exchange trading operations and the provisions of account services to foreign central banks.

    Prior to joining the bank in 2007, Mr. Dudley was a partner and managing director at Goldman, Sachs & Company and was the firm’s chief U.S. economist for a decade. Earlier in his career at Goldman Sachs, he had a variety of roles including a period when he was responsible for the firm’s foreign exchange forecasts. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 1986, he was a vice president at the former Morgan Guaranty Trust Company. Mr. Dudley was an economist at the Federal Reserve Board from 1981 to 1983.

    He was a member of the technical consultants group to the Congressional Budget Office from 1999 to 2005.

    Mr. Dudley received his doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1982 and a bachelor of arts degree from the New College of Florida in Sarasota in 1974.

    Mr. Dudley serves as chairman of the Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems of the central banks of the G-10 countries hosted at the Bank for International Settlements.

    Mr. Dudley and his wife, Ann E. Darby, reside in New Jersey.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2009

  • Wang Zheng is an Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Associate Research Scientist of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. She received her Ph.D. in history from University of California, Davis, specializing in the study of women and gender in modern China. Prof. Wang's publications concern feminism in China, both in terms of its historical development and its contemporary activism, and changing gender discourses in China's socioeconomic, political and cultural transformations of the past century. Her recent research deals with gender in Maoist urban reorganization. She is particularly interested in how gender identities and gendered subjectivity have been variously shaped in competing discourses as well as in heterogeneous cultural and social locations against a rapidly changing historical background. She is the co-director of the UM based program "Creating a Transnational Learning Community" that collaborates with Chinese universities on developing graduate programs in women's and gender studies in China.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Vuslat Doğan Sabanci is an international business leader and philanthropist, as well as a leading voice on human rights, gender equality, and independent media in Turkey and globally.

    Currently, Ms. Doğan Sabanci is the Chairwoman of Hürriyet, the leading Turkish newspaper and the country's largest independent news outlet. She is also a Member of the Board of Dogan Group of Companies Holding, one of Turkey's largest business enterprises.

    For the last 67 years, Hürriyet has been the most influential media brand in Turkey. One in two Turkish Internet users interact with Hürriyet’s online content daily, more than any other company site. The company, under Ms. Doğan Sabanci's leadership, launched a massive digital transformation to become one of Turkey's biggest internet groups in digital content and online classifieds.

    Before joining Hürriyet, Ms. Doğan Sabanci worked at The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, where she aided in the formation of the Asian Business World News Channel and the Latin American Edition of the Journal.  She holds a BA degree in Economics from Bilkent University and completed her graduate studies in International Media and Communications at Columbia University's SIPA. She currently serves on the Columbia University's Global Centers Advisory Board.

    Ms. Doğan Sabanci has been actively advancing positive discussions and images about Islam, having co-hosted with the Atlantic Council "Islamophobia: Overcoming Myths and Engaging in a Better Conversation" and, together with her family, sponsored the Art of Qu'ran Exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution.  To advance the social empowerment of women, in 2004 she initiated the "No! To Domestic Violence" campaign. The campaign was honored with a UN Grand Award for outstanding achievement in public relations in October 2006 and was also introduced as a role model in the European Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly Women's Rights Commission's report. For the empowerment of women in politics, Ms. Doğan Sabanci initiated The Rightful Women Platform, which was formed together with 42 prominent NGOs. The platform strives to achieve equal representation of women in politics, business and in social life. Via her support of a major microcredit project of the Grameen Bank in Turkey, Ms. Doğan Sabanci is also contributing to the economic empowerment of Turkish women.

    Ms. Doğan Sabanci is a life time honorary board member of International Press Institute (IPI) that serves for the freedom of expression and media. She is the Founding Board Member of Endeavour Turkey which cultivates entrepreneurship in Turkey. Ms. Doğan Sabanci is also member of the Industry & Business Association (TUSIAD), and Turkish Businesswoman Association (TIKAD).

    Source: Biography provided by Vuslat Doğan Sabanci’s office.

  • Vladimir Putin was born on born October 7, 1952, in Leningrad, USSR, now Saint Petersburg, Russia. He became acting president on December 31, 1999, succeeding Boris Yeltsin, and then won the 2000 presidential election.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • Dr. Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu took office as President of the Republic of Kosovo in April 2021. She graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Prishtina and completed her Master and Doctoral studies at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, USA.

    Vjosa Osmani was elected the first female Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo in February 2020, and also served as Acting President of the Republic of Kosovo between November 2020- March 2021. Vjosa Osmani was elected as a member of parliament four times, and in the most recent election received the highest number of votes for any candidate in the history of the Republic of Kosovo.  In previous terms as an MP, she chaired the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on European Integration, and was the Deputy Chair of the Committee on Constitutional Reform.

    Between 2006-2010, Vjosa Osmani served as Chief of Staff of President Sejdiu and Senior Advisor on Legal Affairs and International Relations. She represented the President in the Commission for the drafting of the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo and was a member of the team that represented Kosovo in the case for the declaration of independence at the International Court of Justice.

    Since 2006, she has been lecturing at the Faculty of Law of the University of Prishtina, while she has also lectured at the University of Pittsburgh in the USA as a visiting professor. She has been honored by the University of Pittsburgh with the Sheth International Award.

    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Kosovo, September 2021

  • Vikram Pandit is chief executive officer of Citigroup. Before being named CEO on December 11, 2007, Dr. Pandit was chairman and CEO of Citi's Institutional Clients Group, which includes Markets & Banking and Citi Alternative Investments.

    Before joining Citigroup as  the chairman and CEO of Citi Alternative Investments, Dr. Pandit was a founding member and chairman of the members committee of Old Lane, LP, a multi-strategy hedge fund and private equity fund manager that was acquired by Citi in 2007.   From 2000 to 2005, he was president and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley’s institutional securities and investment banking business and was a member of the firm’s management committee. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Dr. Pandit taught at Indiana University. He has also taught at Columbia’s Business School

    Dr. Pandit is a trustee of the Trinity School in New York City, a member of the Governing Board of the Indian School of Business (Hyderabad, India) and a former member of the New York City Investment Fund. He is a former board member of the American India Foundation, and served on the NASDAQ stock market board from 2000 to 2003.

    Born in India, Dr. Pandit received four degrees from Columbia: a BS in electrical engineering in 1976, an MS in electrical engineering in 1977, an MBA in 1980, and a PhD in business in 1986. He joined the Board of Overseers at the Graduate School of Business in 2002 and has hosted events at Morgan Stanley for Business School alumni. In 2003, he became a Trustee of Columbia University. He is a member of the executive steering committee for the Columbia Campaign.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, Aril 2010

  • Verna Eggleston is Commissioner of Human Resources Administration in New York City. In January 2002, Verna Eggleston returned to the NYC Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services (HRA/DSS) after her first eleven years at the agency, appointed as the Administrator/Commissioner of the nation's largest municipal social services agency by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. She is the longest serving HRA Commissioner to date, and the first appointed to two consecutive terms. Ms. Eggleston oversees more than 14,000 employees, a $5.6 billion budget, $15 billion in contracts, and provides vital services to more than 3 million people.

    These services include welfare to work programs, temporary public assistance, food stamps, Medicaid, HIV/AIDS support services, domestic violence prevention, homelessness prevention and emergency intervention services.

    Ms. Eggleston served as the Deputy Administrator of the New York City Child Welfare Administration under Mayor Ed Koch. Under Mayor David Dinkins, she served as the Director of New York City's Family Shelter programs, where she oversaw the provision of emergency services for homeless families with children. During the height of the homeless crisis, she ran all the emergency welfare assistance units in the five boroughs. In addition, Ms. Eggleston opened the City's first AIDS facility for HIV-infected infants. Prior to her appointment in the Bloomberg Administration, Ms. Eggleston served as the Executive Director of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk School.

    In a career spanning nearly three decades, Ms. Eggleston has worked as an administrator, advocate and policymaker in public, private and not-for-profit agencies to help children, adolescents and families rise above limiting circumstances to fulfill their potential and achieve self-sufficiency. Ms. Eggleston has consulted as a spokesperson and authority on a wide range of issues confronting youth and their families. She served on the National Board of Directors for the Child Welfare League of America, and worked with Former President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, New York State Senator Hillary Clinton, and Attorney General Janet Reno to advocate for hate crimes legislation, youth violence prevention, and adolescent mental health issues.

    After serving five years as Commissioner/Administrator, Ms. Eggleston will leave HRA to join the Bloomberg Family Foundation to research and develop the Foundation's projects in 2007.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, January 2007

  • Since he burst onto the international scene just a few years ago, Valery Gergiev has become one of the most sought after conductors in the world. He is currently the Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg , home to the Kirov Opera and Ballet. Under his leadership, the Kirov Opera has become recognized as one of the great opera companies of the present day. He is also Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.

    Gergiev has guest conducted most of the world's major orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, London's Royal Philharmonic, Rome's Santa Cecilia, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Tokyo's NHK Symphony, and the Berlin Philharmonic.

    Maestro Gergiev is also the organizer of St. Petersburg ’s annual "White Nights Festival," the "Rotterdam Philharmonic/Gergiev Festival," and is director and founder of the Mikkeli International Festival in Finland , the Peace to the Caucasus Festival, and the Red Sea International Music Festival in Eilat , Israel .

    In addition to being one of the world's leading conductors, Gergiev is among Russia's most powerful and prominent cultural figures.  Gergiev is Russia's de facto musical ambassador. He has brought worldwide attention to often neglected works by Russian composers and introduced many now prominent Russian artists to Western audiences. People often describe Gergiev as a force of nature. His intense, visceral style of conducting makes him one of the most dynamic performers at work today.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2011

  • On July 8, 1999, Vaira Vike-Freiberga took the oath of office as president of Latvia, the first woman to head a post-communist Eastern European state. A distinguished psychology professor with no political experience, she had only recently returned to her homeland after more than 50 years abroad.

    Born in Riga in 1937, Vike-Freiberga lived in Latvia until 1944, when she and her family left to escape the advancing Red Army. In 1949, after several years in a refugee camp in Germany, they left for Morocco and immigrated to Canada five years later when she was 16.  She received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from McGill University in 1965. Vike-Freiberga embarked on a distinguished academic career as a professor of psychology specializing in the relationship between thought and language. She taught at the Université de Montréal from 1965 until retiring as a professor emerita in 1998.

    In 1998, Vike-Freiberga returned to Latvia to become director of the newly created Latvian Institute, established to raise the profile of Latvia and Latvians around the world. She was elected President of the Republic of Latvia on June 17, 1999, and re-elected to a second four-year term on June 20, 2003.

    She was originally not a candidate but the Latvian parliament failed to elect a president in the first round. Vaira Vike-Freiberga was chosen as a compromise candidate, as a highly respected person not affiliated with any of the political parties in the parliament. Throughout her two presidential terms, she has been very popular among Latvians, with her approval rating ranging between 70% and 85%.

    She has been most active in foreign policy. Vike-Freiberga is known for her outspoken criticism of Russia and the active pursuit of Latvia's membership in NATO and the EU.  She was also a strong supporter of the US-led war on Iraq.

    During Vaira Vike-Feiberga’s tenure as president, Latvia has demonstrated unprecedented activity in relations with the major European states, including regular dialogue and exchange of visits with the leaders of France and Germany and a gradual improvement in the relations between Latvia and Russia.

    Vike-Freiberga is a prodigious author whose publications include Linguistics and Poetics of Latvian Folk Songs, Latvian Sun-songs (with Imants Freibergs,) La frequence lexicale des mots au Quebec and, in Latvian, The Warm Sun (2002), The Chronological Sun (1999), and The Cosmological Sun (1997).

    She has received honorary degrees from Victoria University in Toronto, the University of Latvia, and McGill University; and been awarded the Grand Medal of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (1997), the Pierre Chauveau medal for distinguished work in the humanities from the Royal Society of Canada (1995), and the Latvian Three-Star Order (1995).

    Vike-Freiberga is married to Imants Freibergs, a professor emeritus of computer science at Université du Québec à Montréal and information technology specialist at the IT division of the University of Latvia and at the President’s Chancellery. They have two grown children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Václav Klaus was born on June 19, 1941, in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He graduated from the Prague School of Economics in 1963, where he studied international economic relations and international trade. Until 1970 he worked as a researcher at the Institute of Economics at the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences. His main areas of interest were macroeconomic theory, monetary and fiscal policies, and comparative economics. After the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact forces, he was forced to leave the Academy of Sciences for political reasons, and from 1971 until 1986 worked in various positions in the Czechoslovak State Bank. He holds a professorship in finance at the Prague School of Economics.

    As one of the founders of the Czechoslovak Civic Forum Movement (OF), the leading political organization in the country after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, Václav Klaus was elected its chairman in 1990. After the split of the OF in 1991, Václav Klaus was one of the founders of the Civic Democratic Party and was its chairman from April 1991 until December 2002.

    Since March 1996, Václav Klaus has served as vice chairman of the European Democratic Union and in June 2002 was elected vice chairman of the International Democrat Union.

    From December 1989 until July 2, 1992, Václav Klaus served as the first non-communist finance minister after more than forty years of communist rule. In June 1992, after victory in the parliamentary elections, he became prime minister of the Czech Republic. He was again reappointed as prime minister in July 1996. He resigned from this position in November 1997.

    In July 1998, after the parliamentary elections, he was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament, a position which he held until June 2002.

    In February 2003, Václav Klaus was elected president of the Czech Republic.

    Václav Klaus is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society and a recipient of many doctoral degrees and international awards in various countries. His views on inflation, monetary and fiscal policies, comparative economic systems, and economic transformation have been published in many scientific journals in his homeland and elsewhere. He has published more than thirty books.

    He is married to Livia Klausová and has two sons and five grandchildren.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources,  March 2009

  • 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).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2017

  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves was born on December 26, 1953, to an Estonian family living in Stockholm, Sweden. He acquired his education in the United States – he graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1976 and received his Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978.

    In 1984 he moved to Europe, to work at the office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, first as a researcher and foreign policy analyst and later as the Head of the Estonian Desk.

    From 1993 to 1996 Toomas Hendrik Ilves served in Washington as the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America and Canada. During this time he initiated with education minister Jaak Aaviksoo the Tiger Leap initiative to computerize and connect all Estonian schools online. From 1996 to 1998, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. After a brief period as Chairman of the North Atlantic Institute in 1998, he was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until 2002.

    From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Ilves was a Member of the Estonian Parliament; in 2004 he was

    elected a Member of the European Parliament, where he was vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee. As a MEP, he initiated the Baltic Sea Strategy that later was implemented as official regional policy of the European Union.

    Toomas Hendrik Ilves was elected President of the Republic of Estonia in 2006. Ilves was re-elected for a second term in office in 2011.

    During his presidency Toomas Hendrik Ilves has been appointed to serve in several high positions in the field of ICT in the European Union. He served as Chairman of the EU Task Force on eHealth from 2011 to 2012, and since November 2012, at the invitation of the European Commission, he became Chairman of the European Cloud Partnership Steering Board. His interest in computers stems from an early age – he learned to program at the age of 13, and he has been promoting Estonia’s IT-development since the country restored its independence. During recent years, President Ilves has spoken and written extensively on integration, trans-atlantic relations, e-government, cyber security and other related topics.

    President Ilves has published many essays and articles in Estonian and English on numerous topics ranging from Estonian language, history and literature to global foreign and security policy and cyber security. His books include essay collections in Estonian, Finnish, Latvian and Hungarian.

    Toomas Hendrik Ilves is married and has three children, a son and two daughters.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013

  • Tina Rosenberg has been a member of the New York Times editorial board since 1996. She also writes articles for the New York Times Sunday magazine on subjects such as human rights, AIDS, and globalization. She is the author of Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America and The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. She has also written for The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe New RepublicHarper'sRolling StoneForeign AffairsForeign Policy, and other publications.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Thoraya Ahmed Obaid is the Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s largest multilateral source of population assistance. Ms. Obaid was appointed head of UNFPA, effective 1 January 2001, with the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. She is the first Saudi Arabian to head a United Nations agency.

    From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Obaid was Director, Division for Arab States and Europe, UNFPA. Before joining UNFPA, Ms. Obaid was Deputy Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) from 1993 to 1998. She was the Chief of the Social Development and Population Division, ESCWA, from 1992 to 1993, and Social Affairs Officer, responsible for the advancement of women, from 1975 to 1992. A central focus of Ms. Obaid’s work at ESCWA and UNFPA has been to cooperate with governments to establish programmes to empower women and develop their capacities as citizens with rights and responsibilities. She has also worked with women’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to advocate for women’s equality.

    In 1975, Ms. Obaid established the first women’s development programme in Western Asia. The programme helped build partnerships on women’s issues between the United Nations and regional NGOs. Ms. Obaid chaired the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Gender in Amman, Jordan, in 1996. In November 1997, she was a member of the United Nations Inter-Agency Gender Mission to Afghanistan. Between 1984 and 1985, she was a member of the League of Arab States Working Group for Formulating the Arab Strategy for Social Development.

    In 1963, Ms. Obaid became the first Saudi Arabian woman to receive a government scholarship to study at a university in the United States. She has a doctorate degree in English Literature and Cultural Anthropology from Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan. She is a member of the Middle East Studies Association and of Al-Nahdha Women’s Philanthropic Association, a Saudi NGO.

    Throughout her career, Ms. Obaid has emphasized the importance of development that emerges from the context of each society, taking into consideration the cultural values and religious beliefs that shape people and affect their actions. As UNFPA Executive Director, she has introduced a special focus on culture and religion in the Fund’s development work, thereby linking universal values of human rights to values of the human worth promoted by all religions and found in all cultures.

    Ms. Obaid has received many awards and honours. She is married and has two daughters.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Tom Frieden is Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in New York City. He began his career as a community organizer in the Mississippi Delta region, helping a community health center increase its reach.  He then received his MD and MPH degrees at Columbia University, followed by internal medicine specialty training at Columbia and infectious disease fellowship at Yale.

    Dr. Frieden then joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he worked for 12 years, initially as an Epidemiologic Intelligence Service Officer – a “disease detective” – investigating and controlling disease outbreaks in New York City.  At the height of NYC’s tuberculosis epidemic in 1992, he was named as Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Health Department’s tuberculosis control program.  By 1996, NYC had decreased the incidence of tuberculosis by nearly half and incidence of multi-drug resistant TB by more than 80%, becoming a national and global model for stopping tuberculosis.

    Dr. Frieden’s success led him to India, where he worked for the next 5 years helping establish what is now the world’s largest effective tuberculosis program.  India’s program has now treated more than 6 million patients and saved more than a million lives.

    Dr. Frieden was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, one of the world’s oldest and largest public health agencies, in January 2002.  Dr. Frieden implemented a comprehensive tobacco control program that has resulted in nearly 200,000 fewer smokers and will prevent approximately 60,000 premature deaths; established Take Care New York, a comprehensive health policy that targets the City’s most critical health problems; strengthened systems to monitor health status; and opened community-based Public Health Offices in Harlem, Central Brooklyn, and the South Bronx to improve health in the City’s sickest neighborhoods.

    Dr. Frieden’s approach is to use data to drive decision making and improve health, particularly of those most in need.  This perspective is evident in the more than 150 articles he has written.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, January 2007

  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam was elected as Singapore’s President in September 2023.

    He served in politics for 22 years before resigning to contest in the Presidential Election. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister for several years, and earlier as Education Minister. He last served in government as Senior Minister.

    He has been committed through his years to building future economic resilience and a more inclusive social compact.

    On the latter, he has been especially engaged in sustaining social mobility, making life-long learning a reality for all, and deepening Singapore’s multiculturalism.

    Tharman has led several international councils focused especially on global financial reforms, preparedness for future pandemics, human development, and the changes needed to ensure a sustainable global water cycle.

    This has included his chairing the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance in 2017-2018. He was earlier selected by his international peers to chair the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the IMF’s top policy forum. He has also co-chaired the Advisory Board for the UN Human Development Report (HDR) since 2019, most recently with Joseph E. Stiglitz.

    He is married to Jane Ittogi, a lawyer by background and actively engaged in sustainability and social development initiatives. They have a daughter and three sons.

    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Singapore, November 2023

  • Currently a researcher at the Centro de Estudios de la Mujer, Teresa Valdés worked for many years at FLACSO. A sociologist trained at the Catholic University of Chile, Valdés specializes on social heterogeneity in Latin America, with an emphasis on gender. She has been Tinker Visiting Professor at Columbia University, and a consultant to numerous international organizations, including UNICEF and UNESCO.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Tarja Kaarina Halonen was elected the 11th President of Finland, and the country's first female head of state, in 2000. Throughout her long and active career in public service, issues such as human rights, democracy, and promotion of equality and social justice have been central themes on her agenda. She has also played an active role in the international solidarity movement.

    Born in 1943, Halonen holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Helsinki. She began her professional life with the National Union of Finnish Students, and then as a lawyer with the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions in 1970. After joining the Social Democratic party in 1971, Halonen was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister three years later. In 1979, she was first elected to Parliament, where she held her seat for five consecutive terms before assuming the Presidency in 2000. She was also a five-term member of the Helsinki City Council from 1977 to 1996.

    Halonen served in three cabinets, as Minister of Social Affairs and Health from 1987 to 1990, Minister of Justice in 1990-91, and Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1995 to 2000.

    On the international level, Halonen has played an active role at the Council of Europe, first as Deputy-Chair of the Finnish Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly from 1991-1995 and later in the Ministerial Committee. During her term as Foreign Minister, Finland held the EU Presidency for the first time, from July-December 1999.

    With approval ratings between 94% and 97%, President Halonen has announced her candidacy for a second term in the 2006 elections.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • Tan Dun's creative output ranges from opera, chamber and symphonic compositions to multimedia and visual music projects, which have been performed by premier institutions around the world.  His operas include Marco Polo (1995), which won him the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for music composition, and Tea (2002), an opera for ceramic, stone and paper instruments with orchestra. Other key works include Water Passion after St. Matthew for the Internationale Bachakadamie in Stuttgart, commemorating the 250th anniversary of Bach's death; Water Concerto commissioned by the New York Philharmonic; Paper Concerto, premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at theopening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall; and The Map: Concerto for Cello, Video and Orchestra, premiered by Boston Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma with the composer conducting.  Tan Dun's original score for Ang Lee's film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) won both a Grammy and an Oscar. His current commissions include a new work for pianist Lang Lang and the New York Philharmonic to premiere in 2008.

    Born in Hunan, China, and now based in New York, Tan Dun worked as a rice-planter and performer of Peking opera during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s. He later studied at Beijing's Central Conservatory, where he encountered Western classical music for the first time, including much 20th-century repertory previously suppressed in China. Tan Dun soon became a leading composer of contemporary music in China and moved to New York in 1986 to study on a scholarship at Columbia University, where he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1993.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2006

  • Tahar Ben Jelloun has taken a pre-eminent place in today’s world of letters as both an imaginative writer and a public figure, in the tradition of his mentor Jean Genet. Born in Fez, he taught philosophy and published poetry in his native Morocco before emigrating in 1971 to France, where he began writing for Le Monde while earning his doctorate in psychiatric social work. He came to prominence with his 1985 novel L’Enfant de Sable (The Sand Child) and won the Prix Goncourt for his novel La Nuit sacrée (The Sacred Night). His book-length essay Le Racisme expliqué à ma fille (Racism Explained to My Daughter) was published to acclaim in 1998 and has been translated into 25 languages. He continues to contribute to the European press and to publish fiction and essays, most recently Cette aveuglante absence de lumière (winner of the International Impac Dublin Literary Award), L’Islam expliqué aux enfants, Amours sorcières and Le dernier ami.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • Syeda Sughra Imam, daughter of Syed Fakhar Imam, was born on November 14, 1972 in Lahore, and graduated in 1994 from Harvard University, USA. After graduation, she worked at the US based foreign policy think tank, the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, and as a consultant to the UNDP and other NGOs. She served as Chairperson, Zila Council, Jhang during 1998-99, and has been elected as Member Provincial Assembly of the Punjab in General Elections 2002. She was appointed Minister for Social Welfare on 24 November 2003 and resigned on 18 June 2004. She belongs to a well known political family. Her mother, Syeda Abida Hussain, remained Member Punjab Assembly during 1972-77, Member National Assembly during 1985-88, 1988-90, 1990-93, 1997-99, and also served as Federal Minister; her father remained Member, National Assembly during 1985-88, 1990-93, and 1997-99; and also served as Speaker, National Assembly during 1985-86

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces who defeated Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus’s longstanding autocratic leader, in a presidential election on August 9, 2020. Tsikhanouskaya’s win has been corroborated and championed by both the international and impartial observers that were present for the elections, and many international democratic leaders and institutions.  Her husband, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, was ultimately arrested for his pro-democracy presidential aspirations. Lukashenka has publicly dismissed Tsikhanouskaya as a “housewife,” claiming that a woman couldn’t become president. Instead, Tsikhanouskaya united Belarusian democratic forces together with two other leaders – Maria Kalesnikava and Veranika Tsapkala. 

    After her forced exile to Lithuania, Tsikhanouskaya inspired an unprecedented number of peaceful protests, some numbering in the hundreds of thousands, across Belarus. Tsikhanouskaya visited more than 20 countries gathering support for free Belarus, advocating for the release of 500+ political prisoners and peaceful changes through Belarus’ first free and fair election process. In her meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel, and other world leaders, she emphasized the need for a braver response to the actions of the Belarusian dictatorship and Russian malign influence in the post-Soviet space.  

    Tsikhanouskaya became a symbol of peaceful struggle for democracy and female leadership.  Among dozens of other distinctions, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is a recipient of the 2020 Sakharov Prize and 2022 Charlemagne Prize. In 2020, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and Norwegian MPs nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize. She is included in Bloomberg's TOP-50 Most Influential People, Financial Times' Top 12 Most Influential Women, and POLITICO's Top 28 Most Influential Europeans.

    In the six months since Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, Tsikhanouskaya has expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their struggle against Russian attempts to delegitimize their sovereignty. She has spoken incessantly about the Lukashenka regime’s role in the invasion and has denounced any Belarusian and global support for the ongoing conflict.

    Source: Office of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, September 2022

  • Suzanne Malveaux is a White House correspondent for CNN and primary substitute anchor for The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.  Based in the Washington, D.C., bureau, Malveaux joined the network in May 2002. 

    Malveaux covered the 2008 presidential election cycle from the campaign the trail as a member of the network’s Best Political Team on Television.  In advance of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, Malveaux anchored a 90-minute documentary on Senator Barack Obama as part of a two-part series on the presidential candidates.  Additionally, Malveaux served as a panelist questioning the candidates in the Democratic presidential primary debate sponsored by CNN and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in January 2008. She also played a key role in CNN’s 2004 election coverage and its Emmy-winning 2006 election coverage.

    As White House correspondent, Malveaux has interviewed President George W. Bush, former presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton and first lady Laura Bush.  Her coverage of presidential trips overseas has taken her to Europe, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, Africa, Australia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

    Malveaux has broken numerous stories for CNN, including the plea deal of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, White House personnel changes and the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. In September 2005, Malveaux returned to her hometown New Orleans where she reported on the devastation and recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina.

    Before joining the network, Malveaux was a correspondent for NBC News based in both Chicago and Washington, D.C. During her tenure, she covered the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon; the Kosovo and Afghanistan wars from the Pentagon; Clinton’s impeachment trial; Election 2000; and the Elian Gonzalez story.

    Previously, Malveaux was a general assignment reporter for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., and from 1991 through 1994 for FXT-TV and New England Cable News in Boston. Before getting into the news business, Malveaux produced documentaries in Egypt and Kenya and worked on a one-hour documentary on the Great Depression with Boston-based Blackside Inc.

    Malveaux earned a 1996 Emmy Award and contributed to New England Cable News' AP award for Best Newscast in Boston. She was part of the coverage teams that earned CNN a George Foster Peabody award for its Katrina coverage and an Alfred I. duPont Award for its coverage of the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia. Malveaux was also named one of “America's Most Powerful Players Under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine, Ebony’s “Outstanding Women in Marketing & Communications” and the National Black MBA’s “2004 Communicator of the Year.” Malveaux was also selected to participate in Fortune/Aspen Institute's 2006 Brainstorming Summit.

    Malveaux earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2009

  • Susilo Yudhoyono (born September 9, 1949), Indonesian retired military general and statesman, is the sixth President of Indonesia, and the first to be elected directly by voters. Yudhoyono won the presidency in September 2004 in the second round of the Indonesian presidential election, in which he defeated incumbent President Megawati Sukarnoputri. He was sworn into office on 20 October 2004, together with Jusuf Kalla as Vice President.

    Yudhoyono was born in Pacitan, East Java, the son of Raden Soekotjo, an Army officer, and Siti Habibah. He graduated from the Indonesian Military Academy in 1973, and received the prestigious Adhi Makayasa Medal as the best graduate of the year. He received his PhD in agricultural economics from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture on 3 October 2004, two days before his presidential victory was announced.  He married Kristiani Herawati, the third daughter of an army commander, General Sarwo Edhi Wibowo, who played a role in defeating the alleged coup d'état attempt by the Communist Party of Indonesia in 1965.

    During his time as the commander of 305th Battalion 2nd Infantry Platoon in 1976, Yudhoyono was assigned to East Timor, and had several tours of duty there since. Like many other Indonesian officers involved in the occupation of East Timor, he has been accused of war crimes, but has never been charged with any specific act. He was once seen as a protégé of the former Armed Forces chief, General Wiranto, who was then also a presidential candidate, but severed his relations with Wiranto when he decided to run for President.

    As an Army officer, Yudhoyono was regularly assigned to study in the United States, starting from Airborne School and U.S. Army Rangers education in 1976 to U.S. Army's Infantry Officer Advanced Course in 1982 and 1984 to U.S. Command and General Staff College in 1991. He also gained an MA in business management from Webster University in 1991. He was Indonesia's Chief Military Observer of United Nation Peacekeeping Force in Bosnia in 1995-96. He later held territorial commands in Jakarta and in southern Sumatra. He was appointed Chief of the Armed Forces Social and Political Affairs Staff in 1997, and was known in the media as "the thinking general" due to his popular ideas and concepts in reforming military and the nation. As a media commentator has put it, "General Yudhoyono has spent more time in classrooms than in battlefields." He retired from active service on April 1, 2000, due to his appointment as a minister.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005


  • Dr. Surakiart Sathirathai is a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government and a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School. He is also the Chairman of the Executive Board of Siam Premier International Law Office Ltd. in Thailand. His law firm is associated with Allens Arthur Robinson from Australia. The firm has a network of 12 regional offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

    Dr. Surakiart is also President of the Saranrom Institute of Foreign Affairs Foundation (SIFAF). The Foundation supports the activities of the Institute which serves as the academic arm and think tank of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand. The Foundation was established upon the initiative of Dr. Surakiart during his tenure as Foreign Minister.

    Between 2005 - 2006, Dr. Surakiart was Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, where he oversaw foreign affairs, education, and culture. The Royal Thai Government had nominated Dr. Surakiart as Thailand's candidate for United Nations Secretary-General when H.E. Mr. Kofi Annan completed his term at the end of 2006. The Leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN- comprising Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) had also endorsed Dr. Surakiart's candidature.

    An expert in international law, finance, and economic development, Dr. Surakiart has over twenty years of experience in academia, government, and business, including terms as Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, and policy advisor to the Prime Minister. Dr. Surakiart also has significant private sector experience. He had served as Chairman of a Thai commercial bank and head of the Thai national petroleum enterprise, as well as founding partner of a leading commercial law firm.

    Dr. Surakiart has a record of successful management reform in difficult circumstances, having spearheaded the reform and privatization of major Thai enterprises, reformed the operations of the Thai Foreign Ministry, and having instituted major curricular changes at the Faculty of Law at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. He has deep experience in international negotiation, both diplomatic and commercial, and a record of strengthening multilateral cooperation across Asia.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • As the only daughter and close political associate of Girija Prasad Koirala, President of Nepali Congress and Prime Minister several times during 1991 – 2008 and Sushma Koirala (in whose memory she has established trust, hospital and colleges), Sujata Koirala hails from a politically very active and well-known Koirala family. A close witness to and actor in major developments of Nepalese politics particularly in the last two decades, she was extensively involved in the struggle for restoration of democracy and people's rights.

    Active family association in politics and personal commitment to the service of the people led her to politics. As the younger generation leader of the Nepali Congress Party, she was also jailed in the struggle against autocracy and for the restoration of democracy and people's rights in Nepal. The Nepali Congress Party which is a progressive democratic and socialist party, is the torchbearer of the democratic awakening in Nepal, which was established by her uncle, the popular leader B.P. Koirala, under whose leadership, 104 year old Rana oligarchy was overthrown in 1950. The party is being successfully led by her father G.P. Koirala, who led the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and spearheaded the People's Movement of April 2006. This ended the autocracy of the King and brought the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) CPN-M into the democratic mainstream beginning the peace process in Nepal, while ensuring the supremacy of democracy in the country.

    She has cosmopolitan outlook and is committed to contribute to the society through dedicated service to the common people. She is also interested in painting, listening to classical music and reading books. Her passion is engaging in social work and philanthropic activities.

    Career in Politics

    - Member of Central Working Committee, Nepali Congress Party
    - Head of International Relations Department, Nepali Congress Party
    - Minister at the Prime Minister's Office (2007-08)
    - Minister for Foreign Affairs (June 2009)

    International Experiences:

    In her personal, political and social capacity she has visited many countries of Asia and Europe and also in Africa, Australia and North America. She has also participated in many international conferences and high-level interactions.

    (1) Member of Nepalese delegations under the leadership of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala at the Sixth and Fifteenth SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summits held in Colombo in 1991 and 2008 respectively.

    (2) Member of Nepalese delegations in the State, official and goodwill visits of Prime Minister and Nepali Congress Party President Girija Prasad Koirala to India (1991, 2006 and 2009), China (1992 and 2002), Israel and Finland (1993), Tibet Autonomous Region of China (1993) and Japan (1998).

    (3) Member of Nepalese delegation led by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to the 10th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Jakarta (1992) and 11th Summit of NAM, Durban (1998).

    (4) Member of Nepalese delegations headed by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to the United Nations Human Rights Summit, Vienna (1993) and United Nations Millennium Summit, New York (2000).

    (5) Lobbied in US, India and Europe for the restoration of Parliament and protection of democracy in Nepal after the Royal takeover in 2005.

    (6) Led the delegation of the Nepali Congress International Relations Department to India (2008), China (2008) and India (2009).

    (7) Paid visits as Chief Guest, Member of Parliament and went on goodwill missions to Republic of Korea (2007), United Kingdom (2008), United States (2008), Sweden (2008) and India (2009).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Steven W. Sinding is Director-General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, headquartered in London.  He directs a global federation of 151 member associations and six regional offices operating programs in more than 180 countries around the world.  He has been in the IPPF post since September 2002 and recently announced his decision to retire in August 2006.

    Immediately prior to joining IPPF, Dr. Sinding was Professor of Population and Family Health and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at Columbia University, positions he assumed in September 1999. While at Columbia, he directed a three-year study on the future of international development cooperation and assistance, with a special emphasis on reproductive health and population programs. In August 2002 that study was published as Re-engaging with the Developing World: The Aid Imperative.

    From 1991 to 1999, Dr. Sinding served as Director of the Population Sciences program at the Rockefeller Foundation.  The Foundation provided approximately $18 million annually in grants for social science and biomedical research and international policy work to mobilize additional resources for population and reproductive health programs in developing countries.  Under Dr. Sinding’s leadership the Foundation convened meetings that led to the creation of the south-to-south network, Partners in Population and Development; sponsored a major scientific review of the global fertility transition; and convened a symposium that produced a new scientific consensus on the relationship between population growth, economic development, and poverty.  He served in 1994 as a member of the United States delegation to the International Conference on Population and Development at Cairo.

    Prior to joining Rockefeller, Dr. Sinding served as Senior Population Adviser to the World Bank, following a 20-year career at the U.S. Agency for International Development. At USAID he was the Director of the Mission to Kenya (1986-90) and Agency Director for Population (1983-86).  Previously he directed the agency’s population, health and nutrition programs in Asia, worked as a population program officer in Pakistan (1975-78) and as head of population, health and nutrition programs in the Philippines (1980-83), and he has visited more than 90 countries of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

    Dr. Sinding has written extensively on international population issues and is called upon frequently to speak to both academic and general audiences on international population issues.  Since joining IPPF he has become a major public spokesman on population and sexual and reproductive health issues.  He is the author of the article on “family planning programs” in the Encyclopedia of Population and co-editor of Population Matters: Demographic Change, Economic Growth, and Poverty in the Developing World  (Oxford: 2001).

    Dr. Sinding has a longstanding interest in U.S. international development policy and was co-sponsor and co-author of the Overseas Development Council’s white papers, Re-Inventing Foreign Aid in 1992, and What Future for Aid? in 1996.

    Dr. Sinding received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in 1965 and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Stephen Lewis is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, a post he’s held since June 2001.  He is also a Commissioner for the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health, and a Senior Advisor to the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.   Mr. Lewis serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI).  And is the chair of the board of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

    Mr. Lewis’ work with the UN has shaped the past two decades of his career.  From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Lewis was Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF at the organization’s global headquarters in New York. 

    In 1997, in addition to his work at UNICEF, Mr. Lewis was appointed by the Organization of African Unity to a Panel of Eminent Personalities to Investigate the Genocide in Rwanda. The ‘Rwanda Report’ was issued in June of 2000.

    In 1993, Mr. Lewis became coordinator for the international study -- known as the Graça Machel study -- on the "Consequences of Armed Conflict on Children". The report was tabled in the United Nations in 1996.

    From 1984 through 1988, Stephen Lewis was Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations. In this capacity, he chaired the Committee that drafted the Five-Year UN Programme on African Economic Recovery.  He also chaired the first International Conference on Climate Change, which drew up the first comprehensive policy on global warming.

    Mr. Lewis holds 22 honorary degrees from Canadian universities and is an honorary fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  In May 2003, in recognition of outstanding contributions to public health, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health honoured Mr. Lewis with the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award. 

    Mr. Lewis was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest honour for lifetime achievement, in 2003.   The same year, Maclean’s magazine honoured Mr. Lewis as their inaugural “Canadian of the Year.” 

    In March 2004, Mr. Lewis was honoured by the United Nations Association in Canada with the Pearson Peace Medal, which celebrates outstanding achievements in the field of international service and understanding.  

    In April 2005, TIME magazine listed Stephen Lewis as one of the ‘100 most influential people in the world’.  The same year, the International Council of Nurses awarded Mr. Lewis their prestigious Health and Human Rights Award, which is awarded quadrennially for outstanding contributions to international health and human rights.

    Stephen Lewis’ book, Race Against Time was released in October 2005, and was short listed for the Writers’ Trust Award and the Trillium Book Award.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Sir Simon Milton, deputy mayor and chief of staff, was appointed as deputy mayor for policy and planning to the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, in September 2008. He has oversight of the preparation of the mayor’s new London Plan and supports the mayor on strategic planning applications. As the mayor’s chief of staff, he also leads on the budgets and administration of the Greater London Authority.

    Prior to joining Mayor Johnson’s administration, Milton had a twenty-year career as an elected councillor on the Westminster City Council, holding a number of senior posts. He became leader of the council in 2000 and served in that role for a record eight years, during which time the council won many awards. For two years running, he was voted the most respected leader in local government by his peers and in July 2007 was elected chairman of the Local Government Association, the national voice of local authorities. He received a knighthood for services to local government in the New Year’s Honours list in January 2006.

    Milton also has a private sector background as the managing director from start-up of a successful public relations consultancy employing forty people and before that was a director of his family-owned business employing 200 people. He is a nonexecutive director of the Energy Savings Trust.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • A universal man of the theatre, Sir Peter Hall achieved early fame for directing the world premiere of the English-language version of Waiting for Godot (1955). He formed his own production company in 1957 and made his opera directing debut (at Sadler’s Wells) in the same year. In 1960, he created the Royal Shakespeare Company, for which he directed 18 plays, including the premieres of Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming and Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance. He succeeded Sir Laurence Olivier as director of the National Theatre in 1973, which he led until 1988, when he launched the Peter Hall Company with productions of Tennessee Williams’s Orpheus Descending (with Vanessa Redgrave) and The Merchant of Venice (with Dustin Hoffman). He served as artistic director at Glyndebourne Festival Opera from 1984 to 1990 and has directed operas at Covent Garden, Bayreuth, and the Metropolitan Opera. He was knighted in 1977.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • 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)


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


    President of LDP
    Prime Minister

    Resigned Prime Minister

    President of LDP
    Prime Minister

    Chief Cabinet Secretary
    (Third Koizumi Cabinet (Reshuffled))

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

    Secretary-General, LDP

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

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

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

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

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

    Executive Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs

    Joined Kobe Steel, Ltd

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister, September 2014

  • Education

    • Research Fellow in Political Science at the London School of Economics 1989-90.
    • Master in Arts, Political Science (Humanities) from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.
    • Bachelor’s Degree in Law from Tribhuvan University.
    • Bachelors in Arts (Humanities) from Tribhuvan University.

    Political Background

    • 2016 March 7 to current: President of Nepali Congress Party.
    • 2008 June to 2012: Vice President, Socialist International.
    • 2006 May to Sep.: Elected President of Nepali Congress (Democratic)
    • 2006 May to Sep. 2007: Leader of the Parliamentary
    • 2004 June to 2005 Feb.: Prime Minister of Nepal.
    • 2001 Aug. to 2002 Oct.: Prime Minister of Nepal.
    • 2002 Sept. to 2006 Jan.: President, Nepali Congress (Democratic)
    • 1999 Dec. to 2000 Oct.: Head of the high Level Recommendation Committee for the Resolution of Maoist Problem.
    • 1999 Apr. to 2002 July: Elected Member of Parliament (with highest number and margin of votes).: Elected member of the Central Working Committee of the Nepali Congress Party.
    • 1997 Mar. to 1998: Remained Member of Parliament and elected member of Central Working Committee of Nepali Congress Party.
    • 1995 Sep. to 1997 Mar.: Prime Minister.
    • 1994 Nov. to 1995 Sept.: Elected Member of Parliament on a Nepali Congress Parliamentary Committee and Leader of Main Opposition Party.
    • 1991 to 1994 Nov.: Elected Member of Parliament from Dadeldhura District, Far-Western Nepal.
    • 1991 Dec. to 1994 Sept.: Minister for Home Affairs of Nepali Congress Government.
    • 1991: Political in Charge, Far-Western Region, Nepali Congress
    • 1990: Actively participated in the Popular Movement for Restoration of Democracy in Nepal in Western Countries during the 1990 Movement.
    • 1982 to 1998: Convener, Political Consultative Committee, Nepali Congress.
    • 1985: Played a leading role in the Civil Disobedient.
    • 1980:  Active in promoting multi-party Democracy in Nepal during the National Referendum.
    • 1971 to 1980:  Founder member and President of the Nepal Students’ Union.
    • 1966 to 2005:  Imprisoned for political beliefs for a period of ten years (at different points of time).
    • 1965 to 1968:  Chairman, Far-Western Students’ Committee, Kathmandu.

    Countries Visited:  United Kingdom, United States of America, Bhutan, Maldives, India, China, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Japan, Germany, France, Norway, Colombia, Sweden, Belgium, Qatar, Switzerland, Australia, South Korea and Greece

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 9/2017

  • Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi is United Arab Emirates’ Minister for Economy.  In November 2004, she became the first woman in the country’s history to assume a cabinet position, appointed to manage the UAE’s newly merged economy and planning portfolio. Sheikha Lubna was also the Chief Executive Officer of Tejari (www.tejari.com), the Middle East’s premier electronic business-to-business marketplace and now serves as a board member of Tejari.

    After honoring Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi as the “Distinguished Government Employee Award” in 1999, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Defense Minister appointed her as the head of Tejari at the launch of the marketplace in 2000.

    Prior to managing Tejari, Sheikha Lubna was the senior manager of the information systems department at the Dubai Ports Authority (DPA), a position she held for more than seven years.  Before joining DPA, Sheikha Lubna acted as the Dubai branch manager for the General Information Authority, the organization responsible for automating the federal government of the United Arab Emirates.  She has more than fifteen years of information technology management experience in the Middle East region.

    In 2001, Sheikha Lubna headed the Dubai e-government executive team responsible for instituting e-government initiatives throughout the public sector.  Sheikha Lubna holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University of Chico, and an Executive MBA from the American University of Sharjah.

    She volunteers extensively with the “Friends of Cancer Patients” Society and serves on the Board of Directors for the Dubai Autism Center.  She also serves as a Board Member for the following organizations: Directors for Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai; Trustees for Dubai University College, Dubai; Trustees for Electronic-Total Quality Management College, Dubai; Trustees for Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management, Phoenix Arizona; Trustees for Zayed University, UAE; Director for Emirates Foundation-Abu Dhabi.

    Forbes.com recognizes ٍSheikha Lubna Al Qasimi as one of the women to watch in the Middle East.  She was also recognized in May 2005 by Women News in New York as one of 21 leaders in the 21st Century.

    She is a recipient of many awards for her personal achievements, to name a few:

    Premio Minerva International Award for her outstanding contribution in the politics & Economy – 2005; ITP- Arab Technology Awards for 'Outstanding Contribution to E-Commerce' – 2005; American Business Council of Dubai & the Northern Emirates: American Business Award 2004; Great Britain’s House of Lords: Entrepreneurship Award 2004; Commonwealth of Kentucky: Honorary title: “Kentucky Colonel” 2003; Datamatix: Outstanding Contribution year 2002; Datamatix: IT Woman of the year 2001;

    Business.com: Personal Contribution Award year 2001; Dubai Quality Group: For Support to Leadership, Quality, and Change year 2000; ITP: The Best Personal Achievement Award year 2000.

    Under her leadership, Tejari has been recipient of the following awards: UAE Super Brands Council – Super Brand of 2005,2004,2003; Gulf Marketing Review: Gulf Brand of the Decade Award (E-Commerce & IT Category) in 2003; World Summit for Information Society Geneva – Best eContent Provider in e-business – 2003; MEED Awards: IT Project of the Year 2002; PC Magazine D.I.T: Awards of Excellence year 2000; Business.Com/Visa: Best B2B Marketplace site www.tejari.com year 2000.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, assumed the office on 12 January 2014 for the third time after her party Awami League-led grand alliance won the January 5 Parliamentary elections.

     She assumed the office of the Prime Minister for the first time on 23 June 1996 when her party Bangladesh Awami League emerged as the majority party in the Parliamentary elections held on 12 June 1996.

    Bangladesh Awami League was defeated in the 2001 elections through state mechanism perpetrated by the then caretaker government and Sheikh Hasina again became the leader of the opposition. After two years’ of military-backed caretaker government’s rule, the 9th Parliamentary election was held in December 2008. Her party earned absolute majority in the widely acclaimed free and fair election and Sheikh Hasina assumed the office of the Prime Minister for the second time on 6 January 2009.

    Earlier, in the parliamentary election held in 1986, Sheikh Hasina won from three seats. She was elected Leader of the Opposition. She led the historic mass movement in 1990 and announced the constitutional formula for peaceful transfer of power through Articles 51 and 56 of the Constitution.

    Following the election of 1991, Sheikh Hasina became Leader of the Opposition in the country's Fifth Parliament. She steered all the political parties in the parliament towards changing the Presidential system of government into the Parliamentary one.

    Sheikh Hasina is a staunch crusader against fundamentalism, militancy and terrorism. Assuming the office on 6 January in 2009, her government enacted laws to constitute International Crimes Tribunal to try those who committed crimes against humanity during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971.

    The fundamentalist forces led by BNP-Jamaat vehemently opposed the trial and smeared an unholy campaign at home and abroad to foil the people’s mandated move to bring the war criminals into book. Braving all odds, the government of Sheikh Hasina has been going ahead with the trial.

    Failing to foil the trial, the BNP-Jamaat resorted to widespread violence throughout 2013 killing innocent people and law enforcers, and carrying out vandalism and arson. They also tried to thwart the 10th Parliamentary election by carrying out violence, killing innocent people, and vandalism and torching numerous vehicles and establishments. But the government of Sheikh Hasina frustrated all destructive activities and conspiracies of the opposition. The 10th parliamentary election was held and her party-led grand alliance earned a landslide victory in the election.

    Sheikh Hasina, the eldest of five children of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was born on 28 September, 1947 at Tungipara in Gopalganj district.

    Sheikh Hasina graduated from the University of Dhaka in 1973. She has a checkered political career. She was elected Vice President of the Students Union of Government Intermediate Girl's College. She was a member of the Students League Unit of Dhaka University and Secretary of the Students League Unit of Rokeya Hall. She actively participated in all the mass movements since her student life.

    Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along with the members of his family was martyred on the fateful night of 15 August 1975. Sheikh Hasina and her younger sister Sheikh Rehana were the only survivors as they were in West Germany at that time. Later, she went to the United Kingdom from where she started her movement against the autocratic rule in 1980. Sheikh Hasina was unanimously elected President of Bangladesh Awami League in 1981 in her absence while she was forced to live in exile in New Delhi. Ending six years in exile, she returned home finally on 17 May 1981.

    In the 1996-2001 term, Sheikh Hasina’s government achieved laudable successes in many fields, the most significant being the 30-year Ganges Water Sharing Treaty with India; the Peace Accord on Chittagong Hill Tracts; the Bangabandhu Bridge; and food security. She also introduced beneficial programs for farmers, and social safety nets for the distressed, landless and deprived. These included allowances for distressed women, widows, the disabled and freedom fighters; Shanti Nibas for elders; Ashrayan for the homeless and “One house-One farm” scheme.

    In the 2009–13 term, Sheikh Hasina’s government’s achievements included power production capacity reaching 11000 MW; GDP growth over 6 %; 5 crore people raised to middle class; ICT services centres in all union parisads; forex reserve over US$ 20 billion; distribution of agri-cards and scope to open bank accounts with Tk 10 only for farmers, poverty level reduced to 26 percent in 2013 from 31.5 in 2010 and adoption of her Peace Model by an UN resolution.

    Sheikh Hasina was conferred honorary doctorates by Boston University, Bridgeport University, Barry University in the USA; Waseda University in Japan; University of Abertay in Scotland; Vishwa-Bharati University and Tripura University in India; Australian National University; Catholic University of Brussels; People’s Friendship University and State University of Petersburg in Russia; Dhaka University and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University. The University of Dauphine in France conferred on her Diploma for her outstanding contribution to strengthening democratic process and empowerment of women. 

    Sheikh Hasina was also honoured with awards for her outstanding contributions to social work, peace and stability. These include UNESCO’s Houphouet-Boigny Peace Prize 1998; Pearl S Buck Award 1999; CERES Medal by FAO; Mother Teresa Award; MK Gandhi Award; Paul Harris Fellow; Indira Gandhi Peace Award 2009; Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque in Kolkata; Paul Haris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, Medal of Distinction in 1996-97 and 1998-99 and Head of State Medal in 1996-97 by the International Association of Lions Clubs, Global Diversity Award in the UK; and two South-South Awards.

    She has authored several books including "Why are they Street Children", "The Origin of Autocracy", 'Miles to go "Elimination of Poverty and Some Thoughts", "People and Democracy", "My Dream My Struggle" and "Development for the Masses."

    Sheikh Hasina is the Chairperson of ‘The Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Trust.’ She believes in democracy, secularism, inclusive growth and progress and dedicated to eliminating poverty and barriers that marginalize people. Her interest is in technology, cuisine, music and reading. 

    Her husband, an internationally reputed nuclear scientist, Dr M Wazed Mia died on 9 May 2009.

    Sheikh Hasina’s only son Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed is an ICT expert. Her only daughter Saima Hossain Wazed is a psychologist and has been working for the betterment of autistic children. She has five grandchildren.

    Source: Office of Prime Minister Hasina, September 2015 

  • Shaukat Aziz was sworn in as 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 28, 2004, having been elected Senator a couple of years earlier.  

    Aziz was born in 1949 in Karachi, Pakistan, and has nearly 30 years of experience in global finance and international banking.  After earning an MBA degree from University of Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration in 1969, he joined Citibank in Karachi.  He moved overseas in 1975 and has since served in several countries including the Philippines, Jordan, Greece, USA, UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Saudi Arabia. His assignments included Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for the Asia Pacific Region; Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Corporate Planning Officer, Citicorp; Managing Director, Saudi American Bank; and Global Head, Private Banking for Citigroup. He was appointed Vice President of Citibank in 1992.

    In November 1999 Mr. Aziz was appointed as Pakistan's Minister of Finance with responsibility for Finance, economic Affairs, Statistics, Planning and Development and Revenue Division. As Minister of Finance, Mr. Aziz was also Chairman of Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet, Chairman, Executive Committee of National Economic Council and Chairman, Cabinet Committee on Privatization. 'Euro money' and Bankers Magazine' declared him as the Finance Minister of the year 2001. The Government of Prime Minister Jamali also retained him as Finance Minister, indicating continuation of Finance and Economic Reforms Agenda.

    Mr. Aziz is a frequent Speaker on international finance and has attended numerous forums, seminars and conference on international finance as well as attended management course at several universities. He has been a member of the Board of several Citibank owned entities including Saudi American Bank, Citi Islamic Bank as well as several non-profit organizations.

    Mr. Aziz enjoys golf, music and art. He is married with three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2006

  • Seth F. Berkley is the President, Chief Executive Officer, and founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a global not-for-profit organization, operational in 23 countries, working to ensure the development of safe, effective, accessible, preventive HIV vaccines for use throughout the world.  He is a medical doctor specializing in infectious disease epidemiology and international health.  Prior to founding IAVI in 1996, Dr. Berkley was the Associate Director of the Health Sciences Division at The Rockefeller Foundation.

    He has worked for the Center for Infectious Diseases of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and for the Carter Center, where he was assigned as an epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in Uganda.  In Africa, Dr. Berkley played a key role in Uganda’s first study of HIV and helped develop its National AIDS Control programs.

    He is an adjunct Professor of Public Health a t Columbia University and an adjunct Professor of Medicine at Brown University, sits on a number of international steering committees and corporate and not-for-profit boards and has consulted or worked in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The author of over 85 publications, Dr. Berkley has written extensively on infectious disease and frequently serves as a media commentator on health technology development, AIDS and global health issues.  He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and trained in Internal Medicine at Harvard University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Sergio Mattarella was born in Palermo on 23 July 1941. He has three children.

    In 1964 he obtained a summa con laude Law Degree from “La Sapienza” University of Rome with a dissertation on: “Public Policy Guidelines”. He was admitted to the Palermo Bar Association in 1967.

    He taught parliamentary law at the Law School of the University of Palermo until 1983, when he took leave of absence upon being elected member of the Chamber of Deputies.

    Most of his scientific research and publications have focussed on constitutional law (the role of the Regional Government of Sicily in the economy, bicameralism, legislative process, parliamentary scrutiny, compensation for expropriation, evolution of Sicily’s regional administration, oversight over local government). Other publications have been on subjects linked to his activity in parliament and government. He has been a speaker at conferences on law studies and has held lectures at Masters and postgraduate courses in several universities.

    His political experience originated in the Catholic social and reform movement. In 1983 he was elected to Parliament for the Christian Democracy Party in the western Sicily constituency and remained a member of the Chamber of Deputies until 2008.

    During these seven parliamentary terms he was member of the Constitutional Affairs Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Legislative Commission, which he also chaired.

    He was also member of the Bicameral Committee for Institutional Reform of the XI Legislature (and its Deputy Chairman), of the Bicameral Committee for Institutional Reform of the XIII Legislature, of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on Terrorism and Massacres, and of the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry on the Mafia. In the XV Legislature he was Chairman of the Jurisdictional Committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

    In the XIII Legislature he was Leader of the People’s and Democratic Parties Parliamentary Group (from the beginning of the parliamentary term to October 1998).

    From July 1987 to July 1989 he was Minister for Relations with Parliament. During his mandate, legislative reform of the Prime Minister’s Office was enacted and secret ballot voting in Parliament was discontinued as the standard procedure. He was Minister of Education from July 1989 to July 1990. During his term in office the National Conference on Schools was held in January 1990 and a primary school reform was implemented introducing a “module” with three teachers for two classes (Act No. 148 of 1990).

    He became Deputy Prime Minister in October 1998 and Minister of Defence from December 1999 to the June 2001 elections. During his mandate, laws were enacted to abolish conscription and to turn the Carabinieri into an autonomous armed force. In those years, Italy stepped up its involvement in UN peace missions and contributed significantly to the interposition and peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. During that period, Italy strongly supported the establishment of the European Security and Defence Policy, which led to the creation of the first European Army Corps.

    He did not run for the 2008 political elections and ended his political activity.

    In May 2009 Parliament elected him member of the Bureau’s Council for Administrative Justice, of which he was elected Deputy Chairman.

    On 5 October 2011 he was elected Constitutional Judge by Parliament and was sworn in as member of the Constitutional Court on 11 October 2011.

    He was elected twelfth President of the Republic on 31 January 2015.

    Source: Office of President Sergio Mattarella, February 2016 

  • Born on January 27th, 1963, Sérgio de Oliveira Cabral Santos Filho is the current Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro.

    As a journalist, he began his political career in the 1980’s when he first integrated the Youth of the PMDB (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party). In 1984, he was the Coordinator of the Pedro Ernesto Committee, supporting Tancredo Neves, and in the following year became Director of Rio de Janeiro’s Tourism Company Operations. In 1990, he was elected State Representative for Rio de Janeiro, being reelected in 1994 and 1998. He presided, for eight years, the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro. In 2002, was elected Senator, working hard to achieve the approval of the Elderly Statute.

    In 2006, he was elected, for the first time, Governor of Rio de Janeiro (RJ), starting an intense transformation process in the state. In 2009, he was considered one of the 100 most influent Brazilians by the “Revista Época”. In the following year, he was reelected Governor of Rio de Janeiro with more than 66% of the valid votes.

    The current government placed Rio de Janeiro in an economic spotlight in the national scenario, being the first Brazilian state to receive the investment grade given by the risk agency Standard and Poor’s and lately also by the agency Fitch. The excellent economic momentum lived by RJ is imputed, among other factors, by the public security policy that has been significantly minimizing the criminality index through the pacification of the communities, where the state power could not be reached.

    In addition, the constant search for the equality of the opportunities and social integration is one of the most important features of the current state management. Economic and Social incentive programs, such as “Rio Sem Miséria” (Rio Without Poverty), which acts through income transfer, and the promotion of entrepreneurship, with the provision of microcredit by AgeRio, are noteworthy examples.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, May 2014

  • Sebastián Piñera Echenique was born in Santiago, Chile, on December 1, 1949. His parents are José Piñera Carvallo (1917-1991) and Magdalena Echenique Rozas (1919-2000). In 1973, he married Cecilia Morel Montes. Together they have four children and six grandchildren.

    He graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile as a Commercial Engineer with a minor in Economics and also received a Masters and Doctorate degree from the University of Harvard in the United States.

    The boy
    He is the third of six children born to José Piñera and Magdalena Echeñique. He received a Christian, well-rounded, liberal education from his parents, emphasizing a deep sense of duty and a strong calling to public service.

    In 1950, he set off along with his family to the United States, where his father had recently been appointed as a representative in the first overseas office of the Chilean Economic Development Agency (CORFO in Spanish).

    Upon his return to Chile, he enrolled in the Verbo Divino school, run by German priests. There, he coursed his elementary studies and part of high school (1955-1964). He stood out as one of the top students of his class and had an active participation in the Boy Scouts.

    After President Eduardo Frei Montalva won the 1964 election, his father was appointed Ambassador to Belgium, so he moved to Europe and continued his high school curriculum at the Saint Boniface School, in Brussels. It was there that he became drenched in the spirit of the great university movements that were sweeping across Europe at the time. In 1967, when his father took over the position of Chilean Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), he returned to Verbo Divino to complete his senior year.

    The student
    In 1968, he enrolled in the Economics Faculty of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Early on, he understood that this social science was a formidable tool to help improve the quality of life of the less fortunate. In 1971, he received his degree as a Commercial Engineer and was honored with the Raúl Iver award for graduating at the top of his class.

    In 1973 he travelled to the United States to obtain a Doctorate in Economics at Harvard University. His thesis, which earned him his doctor’s degree, was entitled: “The Economics of Education in Developing Countries: A Collection of Essays”.

    During his time as a Harvard student, he met noted economists -several of whom are Nobel Prize winners-, he was an assistant professor and he began to appreciate the value of freedom and democracy, as well as the opportunities a country like the United States had to offer.

    The family man
    In 1973, before going to the United States, he married Cecilia Morel Montes. She graduated as a family and youth counselor at the Carlos Casanueva Institute and also holds a degree in Family and Human Relations from Universidad Mayor. They are the proud parents of Magdalena (1975), a History and Geography Teacher; Cecilia (1978), a Pediatrician; Sebastián (1982), a Commercial Engineer and Cristóbal (1984), a Psychologist.

    During his spare time, he likes to be with his family and friends, enjoying all kinds of outdoor activities, sports and cuisine. He is a fervent reader with a special passion for world history.

    The scholar
    He returned to Chile in 1976 and focused mainly on teaching. He was a professor at the Economics Faculties of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, the University of Chile, Adolfo Ibañez University and at the Valparaíso Business School.

    During the same period, he was a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (1974-1976), consultant for the World Bank (1975-1978) and he worked for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). At this last institution, he contributed actively to a macro project called “Latin American poverty map and policies for overcoming poverty”, 1976.

    The entrepreneur
    In 1976, he obtained representation rights in Chile for Visa and MasterCard and created Bancard S.A., granting Chileans access to this new payment and credit system. Continuing along these same lines, he participated in the creation of CMB S.A., Las Américas Real Estate Company S.A., Aconcagua Constructing Company and Los Andes Publishing House S.A. At the same time, he was the official representative in Chile of transnational giant Apple, and a few years later he became a major shareholder in companies such as Lan Chile, Chilevisión and Blanco y Negro (sports club), among others.

    The public servant
    For the Plebiscite of October 5, 1988, he was actively involved in bringing back democracy, voting NO to continue with the Military Regime.

    En 1989, along with his wife Cecilia Morel, he created, and still supports, the Mujer Emprende Foundation. The idea behind this institution is to encourage training and development for economically challenged women. (www.mujeremprende.cl)

    In addition, in 1993, he created the Futuro Foundation. The driving force behind Futuro is making a contribution towards bringing culture to all Chileans. In order to achieve this goal, educational programs were created, such as “El arte se acerca a la gente” (Art approaches the people), “Yo descubro mi ciudad” (Discovering my city), “Museo a la mano” (Museum within arms reach) and “Pasantías culturales para profesores” (Cultural internships for teachers). Likewise, the foundation set in motion citywide projects like “El Mapocho navegable” (Navigable Mapocho river), “Transformación del Estero Margamar” (Transformation of the Margamar marsh) and “Estadios para Chile” (Stadiums for Chile). (www.fundacionfuturo.cl)

    The Futuro Foundation has also developed environmental initiatives. In 2005, Tantauco Park was inaugurated on the southern shores of Chiloé Island. The park spans 346,000 acres, featuring 136 miles of trails and camp sites where visitors can go hiking, fishing, bird-watching and even enjoy the migration habits of blue whales. Endangered species and ecosystems are preserved and protected within the park. Tantauco encourages sustainable ecotourism programs and carries out research to help achieve this goal. (www.parquetantauco.cl)

    On top of all of the above, for many years he was an advisor to Hogar de Cristo (Christ’s Home, a local not-for profit organization) and participated in a number of pro-bono commissions. Just to name a few, he was a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Advisory Council and of the Comisión Bicentenario (Bicentennial Commission), which was created by former President Ricardo Lagos.

    The politician
    In 1989, he ran for senator as an independent backed by the Pacto Democracia y Progreso (Democracy and Progress Pact). He won in the 8ª Circunscripción de la Región Metropolitana (8th Voting District of the Eastern Metropolitan Region) and served during the legislative period running between 1990 and 1998. It was then that he entered the ranks of the Renovación Nacional (National Renewal) party.

    During his term as senator, he was part of permanent commissions that dealt with Treasury issues, Human Rights, Healthcare, the Environment and National Assets. His concern for the environment was illustrated by the introduction of the Environment and Nature Protection Bill.

    His democratic spirit was proven thanks to another Bill introduced to modify the Organic Constitutional Laws governing political parties, popular votes and tallying and municipalities. This allowed independent candidates to run head to head with party member candidates in presidential, congressional and municipal elections. He also presented a Bill that simplified the process needed to create a political party.

    Another area he participated in involved a Bill regulating the judicial and ethical principles behind human reproduction, including assisted reproduction, establishing penalties for whoever violates these regulations.

    He was chosen best Senator of his term by his peers along with Andrés Zaldívar, a former Senator who served during the same period.

    The candidate
    He was President of the Renovación Nacional (National Renewal) party between 2001 and 2004. During the Renovación Nacional National Council of May 2005, he was proclaimed the party’s presidential candidate. During the presidential elections of December 2005, Sebastián Piñera obtained 25.4% of the votes, while Michelle Bachelet received 45.9%. Both candidates faced-off in a second round of elections in January, 2006, where Michelle Bachelet won with 53.5% of the total ballots. Sebastián Piñera obtained 46.5%.

    Ever since then, he centered his daily agenda around three core activities: travelling across Chile listening to the needs and demands of the people; campaigning alongside the Alianza por Chile (Alliance for Chile, a group of political parties) candidates during the 2008 Municipal Elections; and, creating the “Tantauco Groups”, made up of over 1,200 professionals split into 37 working commissions devoted to research and proposing public policies for future administrations.

    In May 2009, the Coalición por el Cambio (Coalition for Change) was founded. This new political alliance brought together Renovación Nacional (National Renewal) and the Unión Demócrata Independiente (Independent Democratic Union), which were part of the Alianza por Chile (Alliance for Chile), as well as newer parties, such as Chile Primero (Chile First), Humanismo Cristiano (Christian Humanism), Norte Grande (Greater North) and the Independents. This new coalition appointed Sebastián Piñera as their official candidate for the Presidency of the Republic.

    The calling card of that presidential campaign was direct contact with the men and women of Chile, who were united under two slogans: “Cambio, Futuro y Esperanza” (Change, Future and Hope) and “Súmate al Cambio” (Be Part of the Change). Even though there was no law in place forcing him to do so, when he was still a presidential candidate, Sebastián Piñera handed over the administration of his participation in public corporations to four investment fund administrators, creating a Voluntary Blind Trust.

    The president
    Sebastián Piñera obtained 44% of the votes in the presidential elections held on December 13, 2009, moving on to a second round along with the candidate representing the Concertación (Concert of Parties for Democracy), Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle. When the ballots were tallied on January 17, 2010, Sebastián Piñera obtained 51.6% of the votes, making him the new President elect.

    On March 11, 2010, at the National Congress building, Sebastián Piñera was sworn in as the 47th President of the Republic of Chile.

    Source: The Government of Chile, September 2013

  • Santiago Peña Palacios was born November 16, 1978, in Asunción, the Capital of the Republic of Paraguay. He is the youngest President of the democratic era of his country.

    The President has been married for 25 years to Mrs. Leticia Ocampos, Architect. At the age of 17, Mr. Peña became the father of his first child and today, he has two children, Gonzalo and Constanza.

    After finishing his undergraduate studies at the Catholic University of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, he gained the title of Bachelor in Economics. Then, he travelled to the United States of America, where he completed his graduate studies for a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at Columbia University in New York.


    Mr. Santiago Peña worked at the Central Bank of Paraguay between 2000 – 2009 at the Department of Monetary and Financial Studies of the Monetary Studies Management, and in the Department of Open Market Operations (DOMA, for its acronym in Spanish). Then, he served at the African Department of the International Monetary Fund. Afterwards, became an Analyst at the Department of the International Monetary Fund.

    Before his designation as Minister of Finance of Paraguay, he held the position of Member of the Directory at the Central Bank of Paraguay.

    He also taught as an Associate Professor of Financial Theory in 2004 and was a Tenured Professor of Economic Theory in 2005 at the Catholic University of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.

    Mr. Peña published several researches on monetary policy and finance fields. In 2017, he was invited by the Ecuadorian Professor Roberto Izurieta to participate as a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Political Management of the University of George Washington, where Mr. Peña shared his experience on public administration in Paraguay. He also was the thesis advisor of Geovanny Vicente Romero, CNN Columnist and Professor at Columbia University.

    Source: Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the United Nations, September 2023

  • Sanna Marin was born in Helsinki on 16 November 1985. She spent her childhood in Pirkkala and now lives in nearby Tampere with her husband and their daughter Emma (b. 2018).  

    Having completed her general upper secondary education in 2004, Marin took a Master’s degree in Administration Sciences at the University of Tampere in 2017. Her Master’s thesis, entitled ‘Finland, a country of Mayors’, looked into the professionalisation process of political leadership in Finnish cities. 

    In 2015, Marin was elected to Parliament for her first run. There she has been member of the Grand Committee, Legal Affairs Committee and Environment Committee. She is member of Tampere city council, which she chaired in 2013–2017.  

    In 2014, Marin was elected as a second deputy party leader of the Social Democratic Party, and since 2017 she has served as the First Deputy Party Leader.  

    Marin has been actively engaged in politics since 2006. “Being involved and making a difference represent civil rights for me. Changing things takes commitment. The welfare state or the ground rules for working life should not be taken for granted; they are the result of hard work and determined efforts.”  

    Environmental values are also close to Sanna Marin’s heart: “Climate change and loss of biodiversity are some of the biggest problems of our times. Addressing them takes strong political will and determination.” 

    During the government formation talks in spring 2019, Marin chaired the negotiating table that addressed the theme ‘Carbon neutral Finland that protects biodiversity’. She served as Minister of Transport and Communications in the Rinne Government. 

    Sanna Marin was appointed Prime Minister on 10 December 2019. Marin is the third female Prime Minister of Finland and the youngest prime minister in Finland’s history. 

    Source: Permanent Mission of Finland to the United Nations, February 2020

  • 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, September 2011

  • Judge Sang-Hyun Song of South Korea was among the first group of judges elected to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has served in the ICC’s Appeals Division since March 11, 2003. Initially serving a three-year term as ICC judge, he was re-elected for a full nine-year term starting March 11, 2006. Judge Song was first elected president of the ICC by his fellow judges as of  March 11, 2009, and re-elected in 2012 for another three-year term. As president of the ICC, Judge Song is responsible for the proper administration of the Court, exercises specific judicial and legal functions as a member of the presidency which consists of the president and two vice-presidents, and represents the ICC in communication with States, international organizations and civil society. At the same time, he also continues to hear cases as a member of the ICC’s Appeals Chamber.

    Judge Song has extensive practical and academic experience in the areas of court management, civil and criminal procedure, and the law of evidence, as well as relevant areas of international law, principally international humanitarian law and human rights law. For more than thirty years, he taught as a professor of law at Seoul National University, beginning in 1972. He has also held visiting professorships at a number of law schools, including Harvard, New York University, Melbourne, and Wellington. Judge Song started his legal career as a judge-advocate in the Korean army and later as a foreign attorney in a New York law firm. He has served as a member of the advisory committee to the Korean Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice. As such, he led initiatives to reform the national litigation system and the criminal justice system.

    Alongside his function in the ICC, Judge Song is the president of UNICEF/KOREA. He is also the respected author of several publications on relevant legal issues, and the recipient of the highest decoration of the Korean Government (MUNGUNGHWA, 2011).

    Source: Information provided by the office of Judge Sang-Hyun Song, February 2012


  • In January 2005 the Hon. Sam Kutesa took office as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uganda. As Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Sam Kutesa protects Uganda’s vital interests abroad and works to create an enabling environment for the promotion of trade, tourism, investment and other national needs and interests. Prior to his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa served as Minister of State for Investment in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry since 2001. Prior to this appointment there, the Hon. Kutesa served as Attorney General in the Ugandan Ministry of Justice.

    Under his able leadership, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Uganda has played an important role in promoting regional cooperation integration, peace and security in Eastern Africa and the extended neighborhood of the Great Lakes Region and Southern Africa. Uganda is now working together with its partners in the African Union to help stabilize the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, as part of AMISOM, the African Union’s peacekeeping force. The Minister has also pursued and expanded on its relationships with traditional allies such as the United States, as well as emerging powers such as India and China.

    Sam Kutesa holds a law degree Bachelor of Law (LLB). He also holds the Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in Kampala. From 1973 until 2001 Sam Kutesa was in private law practice. He served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Mbarara North Constituency until 1985, and as a delegate to the Constituent Assembly that drafted the 1995 Ugandan Constitution. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Mawogola County in 2001 and re-elected in 2006. He continues to serves as the current incumbent.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

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


    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.


    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

  • Born in Bishkek, August 23, 1950

    A graduate of the Philosophical Faculty of Moscow State University, Otunbayeva began her career in 1975 as a teacher in the Department of Dialectical Materialism of the Kyrgyz State University, eventually becoming head of department. From 1981 to 1986 she worked as Second Secretary of Leninsky District Committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, and Secretary of Frunze City Committee of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan. From 1986 through 1989 she held a number of increasingly responsible positions, including Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz SSR, Candidate Member of the Bureau of the Communist Party of Kyrgyzstan, elected Deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Kyrgyz SSR, Executive Secretary, and later Chairman of the Commission of the USSR for UNESCO. In 1989-91 she held the post of Vice-president of the UNESCO Executive Council (Paris), and became the first woman member of the board of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of USSR.

    Beginning in January 1992 she led the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of sovereign Kyrgyzstan as Vice Prime Minister on foreign policy, becoming Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1994. In 1992-2002, she held ambassadorial appointments in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, was Managing Director from the Kyrgyz Republic to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and was appointed Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Georgia on the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict in 2002.

    She actively opposed nepotism and the clan system and the corruption in the Government of Kyrgyzstan, becoming one of the leaders of the "Tulip Revolution" in March 2005. That same year she was made Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kyrgyz Republic.

    She has been a member of the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan since 2007 and was made Vice-Chairman of the Party the following year. In 2007 she was elected Deputy of the Jogorku Kenesh (Parliament) of the Kyrgyz Republic from the Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK); from  November 11, 2009, to April 2010, she was leader of the Social Democratic Party. She stepped down as leader of the party in connection with being named interim president.

    In March 17, 2010 during the People's Kurultai (Assembly) of Kyrgyzstan she was elected as Chairman of Central Executive Committee of the People's Kurultai (Assembly), and was made President of the Kyrgyz Republic in April 2010.

    She has the Diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kyrgyz Republic and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the USSR. She is a member of many prestigious international committees and editorial boards.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2011

  • Rosemarie MacQueen is strategic director for the built environment for Westminster City Council in London.

    Her departmental portfolio is one of the largest and busiest in the United Kingdom. In her role, she is responsible for planning, development, and transportation policy; economic development and regeneration; urban design and conservation; public realm improvement as well as development management; planning enforcement; and building control.

    MacQueen has advised the UK’s central government and other agencies on behalf of Westminster City Council via her membership  in many stakeholder groups and working parties, and also in select committees of Parliament. She lectures on a wide variety of planning, regeneration, and design topics at conferences and at academic institutions, and is an external examiner on postgraduate courses.
    She is a member of a number of professional bodies. She has been a committee member for the UK’s Institute of Historic Building Conservation and chair of the London Region, a member of the  UK’s Royal Town Planning Institute’s Built Environment panel, and  
    a member of the UK’s Planning Officers Society’s Development Management Panel and also of its Design and Delivery panel. She  
    is a member of the Westminster Abbey Fabric Commission.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Ronald Schneider was born in Minneapolis and attended school in Valley City, North Dakota. He graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in 1954 at the head of his class and continued his studies in political science at Princeton University, receiving an MA in 1956 and a PhD in 1958. His first book was Communism in Guatemala: 1944–1954, published at the end of 1959. By that time he was working as a political analyst in the State Department, a learning experience enlivened by a temporary assignment to the Embassy in Rio de Janeiro at the behest of then Ambassador Lincoln Gordon.

    From 1963 to 1970 he taught at Columbia as an associate professor of public law and government and was active in the Institute of Latin American Studies, then headed by the late Charles Wagley. Becoming a professor of political science at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, he produced four books on Brazil while serving as general editor of a series of studies on individual Latin American nations. After 2000 he devoted his efforts to a comprehensive volume, Latin American Political History: Patterns and Personalities. Having worked extensively on Central and South America, in 2007 he undertook a study of the Dominican Republic that resulted in Caribbean Crusader: Leonel Fernández and the Transformation of the Dominican Republic.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Rocco Landesman was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 7, 2009 as the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Prior to joining the NEA, he was a Broadway theater producer.

    Mr. Landesman was born (July 20, 1947) and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He pursued his undergraduate education at Colby College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and earned a doctorate in Dramatic Literature at the Yale School of Drama. At the completion of his course work, Mr. Landesman stayed at the school for four years, working as an assistant professor.

    Mr. Landesman's ensuing career has been a hybrid of commercial and artistic enterprises. In 1977, he left a faculty position at Yale School of Drama to start a private investment fund which he ran until his appointment in 1987 as president of Jujamcyn, a company that owns and operates five Broadway theaters: St. James, Al Hirschfeld, August Wilson, Eugene O'Neill, and Walter Kerr theaters.

    Mr. Landesman has been active on numerous boards, including the Municipal Art Society; the Times Square Alliance; The Actor's Fund; and the Educational Foundation of America. Mr. Landesman has also vigorously engaged the ongoing debate about arts policy, speaking at forums and writing numerous articles, focusing mainly on the relationship between the commercial and not-for-profit sectors of the American theater. Over the years, he returned to the Yale School of Drama and Yale Rep to teach.

    Mr. Landesman is married to Debby Landesman. Mrs. Landesman is an independent consultant and the former executive director of the Levi Strauss Foundation; she advises corporations and foundations on their philanthropic strategies. He has three sons: North, Nash, and Dodge.

    Source: Information provided by the Office of the President, November 2012 


  • Olhaye graduated from the Commercial School of Addis Ababa, Ehtiopia, in 1964 with an Intermediate Diploma in Commerce. He qualified as a professional accountant in England in 1972. Olhaye began his career in 1964, holding positions in auditing, accountancy and taxation in Ethiopia. He stayed in that field until 1973, when he was appointed Regional Chief Accountant for TAW International Leasing Corporation in Nairobi. He became Financial Director, Africa, for that firm in 1975. In 1982, he founded the Banque de Djibouti et du Moyen Orient, S.A., as a joint venture with another bank in the Middle East. Earlier, he had served as an independent consultant concentrating on financial issues.

    Olhaye’s public service career began in the early 1980s. From 1980 to 1985 he was Honorary Consul of Djibouti to Kenya, during which time the two countries established diplomatic relations. From 1986 to 1988, Olhaye served as Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) in, Nairobi. In 1988, he was appointed ambassador to the U.N. and to the U.S., posts he has held ever since. During his term in office, Mr. Olhaye has represented his country in the Security Council, served as President of the Council (February 1994) and Chairman of the Sanctions Committee established by Security Council resolution 841 on Haiti. In August 1994, as a member of the Security Council Mission to Mozambique, he assisted in the process towards democratic elections. He has also participated in numerous international conferences and meetings As the longest-serving ambassador to the Unites States, Olhaye  holds the post of Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Washington D.C.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Roberta Metsola was elected President of the European Parliament in January 2022.

    She was first elected to the European Parliament in 2013, becoming one of Malta's first female Members of the European Parliament.

    Metsola was re-elected in 2014 and then again in 2019.

    In 2020 she was elected as the First Vice President of the European Parliament, becoming the first Maltese national to hold the post. She was responsible for the European Parliament's relations with national parliaments and for the Parliament's participation in the interreligious dialogue governed by Article 17 of the treaties.

    Within the European Parliament, President Metsola was the EPP Group's Coordinator in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, between January 2017 and 2020. President Metsola was the Parliament's rapporteur on the European Border and Coastguard Regulation in 2019. She also co-authored the Parliament's own-initiative report on the need to protect journalists in the European Union from Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation.

    Professionally she is a lawyer who has specialised in European law and politics.

    Prior to her election as a MEP, President Metsola served within the Permanent Representation of Malta to the European Union and later as the legal advisor to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. In her student years, she campaigned actively for Malta's EU membership was active in various organisations, acting as the Secretary-General for the European Democrat Student organisation between 2002-2003.

    She completed an ERASMUS exchange in France and graduated from the University of Malta and the College of Europe in Bruges.

    Born in 1979, Roberta Metsola is married to Ukko Metsola and is the mother of four boys.

    Source: Office of the President of the European Parliament, August 2023

  • Robert Yaro is the president of Regional Plan Association (RPA), America’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research, and advocacy group. Based in Manhattan, RPA promotes plans, policies, and investments needed to improve the quality of life and competitiveness of the New York Metropolitan Region, America’s largest urban area. Yaro cochairs the Empire State Transportation Alliance and the Friends of Moynihan Station, and is vice president of the Forum for Urban Design. He serves on Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability Advisory Board, which helped prepare PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s new long-range sustainability plan. 

    Since 2001 Yaro has been professor of practice in city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania. He also taught at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts.

    He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from  Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Wesleyan University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Robert Hormats is an economist who has had a distinguished career in international trade, diplomacy, and investment banking. He is currently vice chair of Goldman Sachs International Corp., a position he has occupied since 1987. From 1982 to 1987 he was vice president

    of international corporate finance at Goldman Sachs. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Bob was a presidential adviser and helped prepare eight economic summit meetings. He served in the State Department as assistant secretary of state for economic and business affairs (1981-82), ambassador and deputy U.S. trade representative (1979-81), and senior deputy assistant secretary for economic and business affairs (1977-79). He was on the staff of the National Security Council from 1969 to 1977. Bob has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission and is on the board of directors of the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, Englehard Hanovia, and the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as being on the board of overseers of Tufts University. He has received the French Legion of Honor and the Arthur Flemming award. Bob is the author or coauthor of numerous books and reports. He has also contributed to major news and business magazines in the U.S. and abroad.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2008 

  • Current work at the UN

    • Work at the UN currently encompasses a wider area of the socio-economic agenda, including the issue of HIV/AIDS, women and children’s issues and other development issues.

    Summary of relevant experience

    • Practiced law for 22 years in Papua New Guinea before being appointed by   the Government of Papua New Guinea to become Ambassador to the UN.
    • During the intervening years was a member of the Papua New Guinea
      Business Council and its President for the years 1999 to 2002. During that
      period ensured that social issues were a part of the critical discussions on the economic and development agenda of Papua New Guinea.
    • Initiated liaison and discussions with Papua New Guinea Government ministers and officials.
    • One of the private sector representatives on the Government's Consultative Implementation & Monitoring Committee, a body set up to work and liaise with all sectors of the Papua New Guinea economy.
    •  Was part of other organizations such as the Rotary International. Rotary promotes malaria prevention and has added HIV/AIDS to its initiatives in Papua New Guinea.

    Educational and Professional Background

    • Graduated LLB from the  University of Papua New Guinea in 1980
    • Practicing Commercial Lawyer (1980 to 2002) with major firm in Papua New Guinea.  Was a partner and part-owner of the law firm Posman, Kua, Aisi.
    • Held positions in various corporations:
    • Post-Courier Limited – Owner and Publisher of the largest daily newspaper in Papua New Guinea
    • Aon Corporation – Director
    • Papua New Guinea Business Council President

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • With family origins in Turkey’s Rize, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was born in Istanbul on February 26, 1954. He graduated from Kasımpaşa Piyale Elementary School in 1965 and from Istanbul Religious Vocational High School in 1973 (İmam Hatip Lisesi).  Erdoğan received his high school diploma from Eyüp High School. Erdoğan graduated in 1981 from Marmara University’s Faculty of Economics and Commercial Sciences.

    Preferring to blend his social life with politics from his early days, Erdoğan embraced the disciplined teamwork and team spirit that football taught him, which he took up in his youth. He engaged in the sport as an amateur from 1969 to 1982. It was also during that time that, as a young idealist, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to feel a concern for national issues and the problems of society, inciting his participation in politics.

    An active member of various branches of the Turkish National Students’ Union in his high school and university, in 1976, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected chairman of the Beyoğlu Youth Branch of the National Salvation Party (MSP), later to be elected chairman of the Istanbul Youth Branches of the party in that same year. Erdoğan continued to occupy these posts until 1980. Following the September 12th, 1980, military intervention which closed down all political parties, Erdoğan worked in the private sector as a consultant and a senior executive.

    Following the establishment of the Welfare Party in 1983, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan returned to politics and in 1984, became Beyoğlu District Chairman of the party. In 1985, he was appointed the party’s provincial chairman for Istanbul as well as a member of its central decision-making and executive board. While acting as provincial chairman for Istanbul, Erdoğan initiated a reorganization which served as a model for other political parties. During this period, Erdoğan worked to increase the participation of women and young people in politics and took important steps in creating a grassroots movement by encouraging larger sections of the society to take an interest in politics. This reorganization earned the Welfare Party huge success in the Beyoğlu district in the local elections of 1989 and it became a model for political efforts all around the country.

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected ma Istanbul Mayor in the local elections of March 27, 1994. With his political skills, the importance he placed on teamwork, and his successful management of human resources and financial matters, Erdoğan was able to make correct diagnoses and create solutions for the many chronic problems of Istanbul, one of the most important metropolitan areas of the world. The water shortage problem was solved with the laying of hundreds of kilometers of new pipelines. The garbage problem was solved with the establishment of state-of-the-art recycling facilities. While Erdoğan was in office, air pollution was eliminated through a plan developed to switch to natural gas. The city’s traffic and transportation jams were tackled with more than fifty bridges, viaducts, and highways. Many projects were developed that would shed light on the problems of later years. While taking precautions to prevent corruption, Erdoğan took measures to ensure that municipal funds were used prudently. Erdoğan paid back a major portion of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s two billion dollar debt when he took office and meanwhile invested four billion dollars in the city. Opening an entirely new era in municipality affairs in Turkey, Erdoğan became a model for other municipalities, while also earning a high level of public trust.

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was sentenced to a prison term because of a poem he recited during a public address in the province of Siirt on December 12, 1997. The poem was quoted from a book published by a state enterprise and one that had been recommended to teachers by the Ministry of Education. He was removed from the office of Istanbul Mayor due to this.

    After four months in prison, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to the insistent demands of the public in an environment of improved democratic conditions, and established the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with a group of friends on August 14, 2001. He was subsequently elected Founding Chairman of AK Party by the Founding Board. From its first year, the confidence and trust of the people in AK Party resulted in its becoming the largest publicly-supported political movement in Turkey. In 2002, the general elections resulted with the AK Party winning two-thirds of the seats in parliament, forming a single-party government.

    Because of the court order against him, Erdoğan was not permitted to become a candidate deputy in the elections of November 3, 2002.  He participated in the renewal elections for the province of Siirt on March 9, 2003, upon the lifting of the legal obstacles to his candidacy for parliamentary membership. Receiving 85 percent of the votes in this election, Erdoğan became a deputy for the province of Siirt for the 22nd Term of Parliament.

    Appointed Prime Minister on March 15, 2003, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued to harbor his ideal of a bright and rapidly developing Turkey.  He implemented numerous reforms of vital importance within a short period of time. A great deal was achieved in democratization, attaining transparency, and preventing corruption. Parallel to this, inflation, which had for decades adversely affected the country’s economy and the people’s psychological state, was finally taken under control and the Turkish Lira retrieved its former prestige through the elimination of six zeros. Interest rates for public borrowings were pulled down; per capita income grew significantly. A host of new dams, housing projects, schools, hospitals, and power plants were inaugurated at a pace never before witnessed in the history of the country. All of these positive developments were named “the Silent Revolution” by some foreign observers and Western leaders.

    In addition to the major initiatives that have been characterized as turning points in the country’s journey toward European Union membership, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s sensible foreign policy and intensive diplomatic visits have paved the path for a lasting solution in the Cyprus issue and the development of productive relations with several countries around the world. With the stability that has been achieved, Turkey’s internal dynamics have been revived, causing it to be a central point of interest. Turkey’s foreign trade volume and political power have increased not only in its own geographical region, but on an international scale as well.

    As the chairman of Justice and Development Party, which won general elections with an overwhelming majority on July 22, 2007, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan formed the 60th government of the Republic of Turkey.   

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is married and the father of four.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2008

  • 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Rajat Kumar Gupta is a Senior Partner Worldwide of McKinsey & Company.

    Mr. Gupta joined McKinsey's New York Office in 1973, becoming the leader of its Scandinavian offices in 1981. Joining the Chicago Office in 1987, he became its Office Manager in 1989. Mr. Gupta served as Managing Director Worldwide of McKinsey between 1994 and 2003. Since joining McKinsey, Mr. Gupta has directed a number of projects aimed at helping companies in a variety of industries to develop new product/market strategies and reorganize for improved effectiveness and operations capabilities.

    Mr. Gupta is associated with many educational, professional and development organizations, including as Chairman of the Board of the Indian School of Business; Chairman of the Board of Associates of the Harvard Business School; Co-Chair of the United Nations Association of America; and Chairman of the India AIDS Initiative of The Gates Foundation. He serves on a number of Boards and Councils, including the World Economic Forum Foundation Board; the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the Global Health Council; the Dean’s Council of the Harvard School of Public Health; and the Board of Overseers of the Weill Cornell Medical College.

    Mr. Gupta also serves as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on UN management reform.

    Born in Maniktala, Kolkata, Mr. Gupta was educated in India, receiving his bachelor of technology degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Dehli), and in the United States, earning an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • Rafael Correa, born April 6, 1963, is an Ecuadorean economist, a former finance minister, and currently the president of Ecuador. President Correa was sworn in as president on January 15, 2007. As president, Correa has pursued economic policies aimed at alleviating poverty, limiting the influence of foreign corporations, and protecting the environment. In an attempt to preserve Ecuador’s unique ecological biodiversity, President Correa announced the Yasuní-ITT Initiative during the 2007 UN General Assembly. The Yasuní-ITT Initiative is a historical decision to permanently forego the extraction of the Yasuní Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) oil fields (about 846 million barrels). The Yasuní-ITT Initiative, which is being administered through a trust fund established by the United Nations Development Programme, has since raised millions of dollars from governments and private citizens throughout the world.

    In 2005 President Correa served as the economy and finance minister. Upon leaving his position as finance minister, Dr. Correa founded the Alianza PAIS party. Before entering politics, President Correa was a professor in the Department of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. He is a tenured professor and director of the Department of Economics at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador. 

    President Correa received a master’s degree in economics from the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2001. President Correa has published numerous scientific papers as well as two books on developmental economics published in Quito, Ecuador. In addition to Spanish, he is fluent in French, English, and Quechua—the language of the majority of the native Indian population concentrated in the Andes region.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • 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

  • Pritish Nandy led the Times of India Group during the 1980s, apart from being a renowned editor and writer.  He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1998 to 2004 and writes two columns that, between them, have the highest reach and readership.  He has won countless awards as a poet, journalist, editor and TV host and has received honors too many to list, including the Padma Shri at the age of 26.  He was editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India, Filmfare and The Independent and publishing director of The Times of India. Author of sixty books, Nandy founded Pritish Nandy Communications in the belief that content will drive the future of media and entertainment.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2006

  • Prabhat Patnaik is one of India’s most eminent economists. He has a PhD from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar from India.  He was on the faculty of Cambridge University for some years before he returned to become the Sukhamoy Chakravarti Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, from which he retired in 2010.  He is the author of several books, including Accumulation and Stability under CapitalismTime, Inflation and GrowthMacroeconomicsEconomics and Egalitarianism, and most recently The Value of Money. He is the recipient of many honors and awards and has an honorary degree  from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London University.

    Source: http://heymancenter.org/people/prabhat-patnaik/

  • Ambassador Philip T. Reeker served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs from July 2011 through October 2013, focused on the Balkans, Central Europe, and Holocaust Issues.   He was U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia from 2008 to 2011.  Ambassador Reeker will become Consul General in Milan, in 2014

    Previous assignments include:  Minister Counselor for Public Affairs under Ambassador Ryan Crocker at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq (2007-2008);  Deputy Chief of Mission in Budapest (2004-2007);  Deputy State Department Spokesman/Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, under Secretaries of State Albright and Powell (2000-2004);  and Director of Press Relations at the State Department (1999-2000).  He served earlier tours in Budapest, Hungary and Skopje, Macedonia.

    He is the 2013 Recipient of the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award, named in honor of the late Ambassador Frasure, “in recognition of his commitment to peace and the alleviation of human suffering caused by war or civil injustice.”  Reeker received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy in 2003.

    Ambassador Reeker is a graduate of Yale University (1986), and received an MBA from the Thunderbird School of International Management (1991).  He is married to Solveig Johnson Reeker, also a member of the U.S. Foreign Service.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2013

  • Petro Poroshenko, elected as President of Ukraine at the early presidential elections in the first round on May 25, 2014. Sworn as President on June 7, 2014.

    Petro Poroshenko was born on September 26, 1965. In 1982-1989 he studied at Taras Shevchenko National University at the International Relations and International Law Department. He graduated with a degree in International Economic Relations. Served in army 1984-1986.

    From 1989 to 1992, worked as postgraduate student assistant at the Department of International Economic Relations in Taras Shevchenko National University, Kyiv. From 1993 to 1998, Petro Poroshenko worked as CEO of Ukrprominvest corporate group.

    In 1998, Petro Poroshenko was first elected as Member of Parliament of Ukraine. In 2000, he became a Deputy Head of the National Bank Council of Ukraine. In 2002 again elected to the Parliament and took chairmanship at the Parliamentary Committee on Budget Issues.

    In 2002, he earned a postgraduate Degree in Juridical Sciences with thesis "Legal Regulation of Managing State Corporate Rights in Ukraine".

    In 2005, Petro Poroshenko served as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. He was again elected as Member of Parliament of Ukraine and, from 2006 to 2007, chaired the Committee on Finance and Banking Activity of the Parliament of Ukraine.

    In 2009, appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and in 2012 - Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. In October 2012 again elected as Member of Parliament and the Co-chair of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

    Petro Poroshenko is an honored economist of Ukraine, the Ukraine State Prize winner in the sphere of science and technology, awarded with P. Orlyk international prize and decorated with Grand Cross Order of Civil Merit of the Kingdom of Spain.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2015 

  • Pervez Musharraf was born on born August 11, 1943. He became the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on June 20, 2001.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • 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 Cochair of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. He tweets @PaulKagame. You can follow President Kagame’s daily work @UrugwiroVillage.

    Source: paulkagame.com, September 2019

  • Medical anthropologist and physician Paul Farmer is a founding director of Partners In Health (PIH), an international non-profit organization that provides direct health care services and has undertaken research and advocacy activities on behalf of those who are sick and living in poverty. Dr. Farmer is the Kolokotrones University Professor and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School; Chief of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital; and the United Nations Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti, under Special Envoy Bill Clinton.

    Dr. Farmer and his colleagues in the U.S. and in Haiti, Peru, Russia, Rwanda, Lesotho, and Malawi have pioneered novel community-based treatment strategies that demonstrate the delivery of high-quality health care in resource-poor settings. Dr. Farmer has written extensively on health, human rights, and the consequences of social inequality. His most recent book is Haiti After the Earthquake. Other titles include Partner to the Poor: A Paul Farmer Reader, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, The Uses of Haiti, Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues, and AIDS and Accusation: Haiti and the Geography of Blame.

    Dr. Farmer is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Margaret Mead Award from the American Anthropological Association, the Outstanding International Physician (Nathan Davis) Award from the American Medical Association, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and, with his PIH colleagues, the Hilton Humanitarian Prize. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Patrick Heiniger, managing director and chief executive officer of Montres Rolex SA, is only the third chief executive since Rolex was founded a century ago, in 1905. A lawyer by training, Mr. Heiniger left the law firm he founded and joined Rolex in 1986 as marketing director. In 1992, he was appointed president and CEO of Rolex, as well as chairman of the holding company. Over the past decade, he has been largely responsible for the company’s continued pre-eminence in the watch industry. Concerned with the well-being of Rolex’s 7,000 employees world-wide, as well as with maintaining the Rolex corporate image, Heiniger has been the driving force behind the expansion of the headquarters’ facilities in Geneva and building projects in Paris, Melbourne, Bangkok, Los Angeles, Mexico, and Tokyo, as well as the creation of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • Pascal Lamy served two terms as Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from September 2005 to September 2013.

    He graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, the Institut d'Etudes Politiques (IEP) and the Ecole Nationale d' Administration (ENA).

    He began his career in the French civil service at the General Inspectorate of Finance and at the Treasury. In 1981 he became advisor of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Jacques Delors, then Deputy Head of Prime Minister’s Pierre Mauroy cabinet in 1983.

    Between 1985 and 1994, Pascal Lamy was Head of the President of the European Commission’s Cabinet, Jacques Delors, and its "sherpa" at the G- 7.

    In 1994 he joined the team in charge of the recovery of the French bank Crédit Lyonnais then becoming its CEO up to its privatization in 1999. He then returned to the European Commission having been appointed as Commissioner for Trade under the presidency of Romano Prodi.

    After his mandate in Brussels, for a short sabbatical period Pascal Lamy chaired "Notre Europe", a think tank created by Jacques Delors that focuses on European integration. He also became associate professor at the Institut d'Etudes Politiquesde Paris and advisor to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the European Socialist Party.


    Pascal Lamy also proved his commitment to the European Union and its vision of globalization through several publications:

    • Quand la France s’éveillera (Odile Jacob, 2014)
    • The Geneva Consensus, (Cambridge University Press, 2013)
    • Now for the Long Term (Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, 2013)
    • La Démocratie-monde – Pour une autre gouvernance globale  (Seuil, 2004)
    • L'Europe en première ligne (Seuil, 2002)
    • L'Europe de nos volontés (with J. Pisani- Ferry, Plon, 2002 The Europe we want, Arch Press / The Policy Network, 2002)
    • Report "Monde-Europe", chaired by P. Lamy in the XIth plan of the Commissariat général du Plan (Dunod, 1993)

    He received honorary degrees from eight universities as well as several awards and decorations from the French government and other countries world-wide.

    Pascal Lamy is currently Honorary President of Notre Europe - Jacques Delors Institute, President of the World Committee of Tourism Ethics, President of the Oxford Martin School’s Commission on future challenges, Vice-President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), member of the Global Ocean Commission and of UNAIDS and Lancet Commission, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble (Orchestra Marc Minkowski), member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques and of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, member of the Advisory Board of Transparency International, affiliated Professor at HEC Paris et Strategic Advisor of the Simone Veil Governance Center for Europe (Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2014

  • Mr. Ong Keng Yong has served as the Secretary-General of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) since 1 January 2003. Mr. Ong joined the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in June 1979. Since then, he served as the Charge d’Affaires of the Singapore Embassy in Saudi Arabia, the Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission in the Singapore High Commission in Malaysia, the Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission in the Singapore Embassy in the United States of America (USA), and Singapore’s High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal.

    Mr. Ong was the Press Secretary to the Prime Minister of Singapore and concurrently the Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts from September 1998 to December 2002. Between 1999 and 2002, he was also the Chief Executive Director of the People’s Association, a grassroots-based community development organization in Singapore.

    Mr. Ong holds a Bachelor of Law (with Honors) from the University of Singapore and a Master of Arts in Arab Studies (with Distinction) from Georgetown University (Washington DC, USA).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Oleksandra Matviichuk is a human rights defender who works on issues in Ukraine and the OSCE region. At present she heads the human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties, and also coordinates the work of the initiative group Euromaidan SOS. The activities of the Center for Civil Liberties are aimed at protecting human rights and establishing democracy in Ukraine and the OSCE region. The organization is developing legislative changes, exercises public oversight over law enforcement agencies and judiciary, conducts educational activities for young people and implements international solidarity programs. 

    The Euromaidan SOS initiative group was created in response to the brutal dispersal of a peaceful student rally in Kyiv on November 30, 2013. During three months of mass protests that were called the Revolution of Dignity, several thousand volunteers provided round-the-clock legal and other aid to persecuted people throughout the country. Since the end of the protests and beginning of Russian aggression in Ukraine, the initiative has been monitoring political persecution in occupied Crimea, documenting war crimes and crimes against humanity during the hybrid war in the Donbas and conducting the #LetMyPeopleGo and #SaveOlegSentsov international campaigns to release political prisoners detained by the Russian authorities. 

    Oleksandra Matviichuk has experience in creating horizontal structures for massive involvement of people in human rights activities against attacks on rights and freedoms, as well as a multi-year practice of documenting violations during armed conflict. She is the author of a number of alternative reports to various UN bodies, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE and the International Criminal Court.

    After the beginning of new armed aggression in February 2022, Oleksandra Matviichuk together with other partners created the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative in order to document international crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in all regions of Ukraine which became the targets of attacks of the Russian Federation.

    In 2016 she received the Democracy Defender Award for "Exclusive Contribution to Promoting Democracy and Human Rights" from missions to the OSCE. In 2017 she became the first woman to participate in the Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program of Stanford University. In 2022 Oleksandra Matviichuk was awarded with the Right Livelihood Award and recognized as one of the 25th influential women in the world by Financial Times. The same year Center for Civil Liberties which Oleksandra Matviichuk head’s for received the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Source: Center for Civil Liberties, March 2024

  • President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is the fifth president of the Republic of Iceland. He received his B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Manchester in 1965, and he also received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester five years later. He subsequently became the first professor of political science at the University of Iceland. The President first took a seat in Althingi (the national parliament of Iceland) in 1974 and served as Iceland’s minister of finance from 1988 to 1991.

    President Grímsson has been extremely active in international venues. He was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1981 to 1984. From 1995 to 1996 he served as chairman and later president of the international organization, Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA), from 1984 to 1990, remaining on its council until 1996.

    Among the many international awards he has received is the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize which he received on behalf of PGA, and, in 2008 he will be awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding. He was a member of the committee of the Peace Initiative of Six Heads of State from 1984 to 1989.

    In recent years the President has been very active in international dialogue on renewable energy and climate change. Together with Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President Grímsson initiated the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, which met both at Columbia University and in Iceland and included representatives from nearly 100 European and American corporations, as well as experts, scientists and leaders. He has actively participated in the Clinton Global Initiative and has helped establish projects to benefit Africa. President Grímsson strongly advocates for the use of geothermal energy, which is a renewable, economically viable and reliable resource, as proven convincingly by Iceland.

    President Grímsson has for several years been a board member of the Special Olympics, and he played a major role in the international drug prevention campaign, Youth in Europe, which now enjoys the participation of 19 European cities. He has also been active in promoting cooperation between Icelandic and foreign universities, and has lectured at prominent American academic institutions including Harvard University, Brown University and Ohio State University.

    President Grímsson is married to Dorrit Moussaieff. He has two daughters from his marriage to Gudrun Katrin Thorbergsdottir, who passed away in 1998.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Dr. Nirupam Bajpai is Director of the Columbia Global Centers | South Asia and a Senior Development Advisor at the Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York. He is also a member of the United Nations Millennium Project on the Millennium Development Goals, the internationally agreed goals to reduce extreme poverty, disease, and hunger by the year 2015.

    Over the last two decades, Dr. Bajpai has been working at different U.S. universities beginning at the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1992; Harvard University from 1995 to 2002 and since July 2002 at Columbia University. Prior to his arrival at Columbia, he worked for seven years at Harvard University, most recently at the Kennedy School of Government.

    Dr. Bajpai is considered to be a leading economic advisor of his generation. For over two decades, he has been studying the challenges of economic development, poverty alleviation, and globalization and the impact of anthropogenic climate change and advising governments.

    Since June 2004, Dr. Bajpai has had the high honor and privilege of advising the Honorable Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India and several of his cabinet ministers, including the Minister of Health and Family Welfare. Earlier, between 1999 and 2004, he served as an economic advisor to the Honorable Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India and to several of his cabinet ministers, including the Ministers of Finance, Commerce and Industry, and Information Technology.

    Dr. Bajpai is the recipient of several honors and awards. On the eve of India’s 59th Republic Day on January 25, 2008, Dr. Bajpai was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India, which is a high civilian national honor bestowed by the Government of India. In the category of ‘Literature and Education,’ Dr. Bajpai is the youngest awardee ever since the Padma Awards were instituted in 1954 having been conferred the award at the age of 45.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013

  • 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2010

  • From June to August 2006, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Federal Republic of Nigeria, overseeing Nigeria’s international relations.  She headed Nigeria’s acclaimed Presidential Economic Team, responsible for implementing President Obasanjo’s sweeping economic and social reform agenda for Nigeria.    

    From July 2003 to June 2006, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, served as Minister of Finance and Economy for the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  As Finance Minister, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala managed the finances for Africa’s largest country of over 150 million people, with federation revenues of over $45 billion (2005).  Dr. Okonjo-Iweala led the work and the negotiations that resulted in an $18 billion or 60% cancellation of Nigeria’s $30 billion Paris Club debt, the second largest debt cancellation in the Paris Club’s 50 year history.  As a result of the debt cancellation and an innovative Debt Buy Back Scheme, Nigeria exited the Paris Club April 2006, thereby bringing the country’s external debt burden down from $35 to $5 billion.  Dr. Okonjo-Iweala also spearheaded the drive to get Nigeria’s first ever BB- Credit rating in January 2006 from international ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poors, a rating that placed Nigeria in the league of several emerging market countries such as Brazil, Venezuela, Vietnam, Philippines and Turkey.

    Prior to becoming Finance Minister, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was Vice President and Corporate Secretary of the World Bank Group where she pursued a 21 year career as a development economist.  Dr. Okonjo-Iweala graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard University and holds a Ph.D. in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She is the recipient of numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Brown University in 2006, one of America’s premier universities, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville Jamaica, Global Finance Minister of the year 2005 award, from Euromoney Magazine and Time Magazine European Heroes 2004 award.  Dr. Okonjo-Iweala is married to surgeon, Dr. Ikemba Iweala, and they have four children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Nancy Birdsall is the founding president of the Center for Global Development. Prior to launching the center, Birdsall served for three years as senior associate and director of the Economic Reform Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her work at Carnegie focused on issues of globalization and inequality, as well as on the reform of the international financial institutions. From 1993 to 1998, Birdsall was executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank, the largest of the regional development banks, where she oversaw a $30 billion public and private loan portfolio. Before joining the Inter-American Development Bank, Birdsall spent 14 years in research, policy, and management positions at the World Bank, most recently as director of the Policy Research Department.

    Ms. Birdsall is the author, coauthor, or editor of more than a dozen books and monographs. She has also written more than 75 articles for books and scholarly journals published in English and Spanish. Shorter pieces of her writing have appeared in dozens of U.S. and Latin American newspapers and periodicals.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Nambaryn Enkhbayar was born on June 1, 1958, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city. He became president of Mongolia on June 24, 2005 after winning the May 2005 elections. President Enkhbayar was elected to the State Great Khural (Parliament) of Mongolia in 1992 and served as minister of culture from 1992 to 1996. He later served as secretary general and then chairman of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party from 1996 until his presidential election in 2005. President Enkhbayar also served as the prime minister of the Parliament from 2000 to 2004 and speaker of the Parliament from 2004 to 2005.

    From 1975 to 1980, Presdient Enkhbayar attended Moscow's Institute of Literature and received a Bachelor of Science in literature and language. He also completed literature and English training courses at Leeds University in the United Kingdom.  President Enkhbayar holds a first grade English language proficiency certificate from Cambridge University and has translated major Russian and English writers, including Tolstoy and Dickens. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from a number of universities, and is a well-known translator and columnist. 

    President Enkhbayar is married to Onon Tsolmon and has four children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2007

  • Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, born on October 4, 1977 in Morocco, is a French politician and member of the National bureau of the French Socialist party. On May 16, 2012, she was appointed Minister for Women’s Rights and Government Spokesperson.

    She was Ségolène Royal’s spokesperson during her 2007 presidential campaign, and again in March 2009 in preparation of the 2011 Socialist presidential primary. On November 16, 2011, François Hollande, then the Socialist candidate for the 2012 presidential election, appointed her spokesperson for his campaign.  Since 2008, she has been a member of the General Council of the Rhône region and city Council member of the city of Lyons where she held various municipal appointments. Her previous positions included teaching at Sciences po Paris and Law counselling.

    Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem studied Law and graduated from one of France’s most prestigious universities, Sciences Po Paris.

    Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem is the author of Raison de plus (Fayard, 2012); Réagissez ! Répondre au FN de A à Z (Gawsewitch, 2011) and Pluralité visible et égalités des opportunités (Fondation Jean Jaurès, 2010).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2013 

  • Dr. Nafis Sadik, a national of Pakistan, is Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General and his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Asia and the Pacific, with the rank of Under-Secretary-General. Educated at Loreto College (Calcutta, India) she received her Doctor of Medicine degree from Dow Medical College (Karachi, Pakistan).  She served her internship in gynaecology and obstetrics at City Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and completed studies at The Johns Hopkins University, and as a research fellow in physiology at Queens University, (Kingston, Ontario, Canada).  She was Pakistan's Director-General of the Central Family Planning Council responsible for developing, preparing and evaluating the country’s health and family planning programme as part of the nation’s development plan.  In 1971, she joined the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) serving in various capacities until her appointment as its Executive Director in 1987.  Dr. Sadik retired in December 2000.

    On her appointment, Dr. Sadik was one of the highest-ranking women in the UN system and marked the first time in the history of the United Nations, that a woman was appointed to lead one of its major voluntarily-funded programmes.  She is well-known for her dynamism and guiding force in the field of international maternal and child health, reproductive and sexual health, including family planning.  Under her able leadership as Secretary-General of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, the approach to reproductive health which includes empowering women through education and economic opportunity, was unanimously agreed to by the international community.

    Her many international awards and honours include her selection as the Laureate, in the individual category, of the United Nations Population Award 2001, for her outstanding contribution to the awareness of population issues; an award presented by His Excellency President Soeharto for her participation in developing  the family planning programme in Indonesia; an award from the Government of Pakistan for her contribution in the field of medicine; the 1995 Prince Mahidol Award; the Bruno H. Schubert-Stiftung Prize, 1995, for her outstanding and excellent contribution in the field of population; Order of Merit (First Class) decreed by His Excellency President Hosni Mubarak of the Arab Republic of Egypt in recognition of her efforts in the field of population and development and in the successful carrying out of the ICPD, 1994; the Hugh Moore Award for her leadership in the family planning field; 1993 International Award from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NEPHRA); the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood Federation of America; the Martha May Eliot Award from APHA; the FIGO Recognition Award for Social Contribution to Women’s Health; and the ”Hilal-I-Imtiaz” Award from the Government of Pakistan.  She is the recipient of honorary degrees from United States universities such as, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Duke, Michigan and Claremont, Wilfrid University (Canada), Nihon University (Japan), and the University of the West Indies-Mona (Jamaica).

    In 2003, Dr. Sadik was designated as UNFPA’s Goodwill Ambassador for Obstetric Fistula.   She served as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, and was recently appointed to membership of the Secretary-General’s High-Level Group on “Alliance of Civilizations”.  She is a Commissioner of the Global Commission on International Migration, a member of the International Task Force on Global Public Goods, and a Trustee of International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

    In addition, Dr. Sadik participates as a Board member of the UN Foundation, the Asia Society, the South Asian Commission on the Asian Challenge, Pathfinder International, The World Population Foundation, and other international and national foundations.   She is the author of numerous publications in the areas of reproductive health and family, population and development, women, and gender and development.

    Dr. Sadik is married to Azhar Sadik, businessman (retired).  They have three children and two adopted children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Mwai Kibaki, also known as Emilio Mwai Kibaki, is the president of Kenya. The youngest of eight children, Kibaki was born in 1931. His academic performance in secondary school earned him a scholarship at Uganda’s Makerere University, where he studied economics, history, and political science. He graduated in 1955, with first class honors, and accepted a position with Shell’s Uganda division. He left that post when he received a scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. In 1958, he returned to Makerere University to assume a position as assistant economics lecturer.

    During a visit to Kenya, Kibaki helped to draft what was to become independent Kenya’s first constitution. He returned to Kenya in 1960, serving as executive officer for two years in KANU, the largest Kenyan political party at the time. In 1963, Kenya won its independence and Kibaki was elected member of Parliament. He served in a number of positions before becoming minister of finance and economic planning in 1970. When Moi became president in 1978, he appointed Kibaki as his vice president. Under Moi, however, debate became stifled. Kibaki resigned from KANU in 1991, days after the one-party state stipulation in the constitution was repealed, to found the Democratic Party and launch a bid for the presidency. Kibaki ran for president in 1992 and in 1997. He was inaugurated as president in 2002 and declared winner again in the 2007 election. In 2008 he and his challenger, Raila Odinga, signed a power-sharing agreement, with Odinga to serve as prime minister.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Dr. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki was born in Grombalia, Tunisia in 1945, and followed his family into political exile in Morocco in 1961, because of his father’s opposition to President Habib Bourgiba. An excellent student, he won a scholarship to study in France, where he earned his medical degree at the University of Strasbourg in 1973, with specialties in neurology, internal medicine and public health. At Strasbourg, Dr. Marzouki wrote his thesis on human rights and medical experimentation under the supervision of Professor Marc Klein, a Holocaust survivor who had been imprisoned in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and who had a profound intellectual influence on him.

    Dr. Marzouki returned to Tunisia in 1979, and the next year, joined the Tunisian League for Human Rights, the first organization of its kind in the Arab world. In 1982, he left his medical practice in Tunis to work in public health in the city of Sousse, where he also became a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sousse. He planned and implemented programs for vaccination, prenatal health, and health education in disadvantaged areas, with a particular focus on reducing infant mortality and helping handicapped children. He was among the first to investigate the issue of child abuse in Tunisia and the broader Arab region. Along with other African professors, he founded the African Network for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, which focuses on the problems of street children, the exploitation of minors, and female genital cutting.

    Dr. Marzouki was President of the Tunisian League for Human Rights from 1989 to 1994. In the early 1990’s, Dr. Marzouki founded the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Opinion, which was declared illegal by then-President Zine el Abedine Ben Ali’s regime. In July 1994, announced his candidacy for President of Tunisia. That year, he was arrested and imprisoned, and held in solitary confinement for several months. Dr. Marzouki was released in 1995, after South African President Nelson Mandela appealed to Ben Ali on his behalf. For several years, Dr. Marzouki was denied a passport and prohibited from travelling abroad, and lived under constant surveillance. In 1998, Dr. Marzouki became the spokesperson for the National Council for Freedom in Tunisia, a post he occupied until 2001. In 2000, Dr. Marzouki was dismissed from his post as Professor of Public Health at the University of Sousse. In 2001, he founded the Congress for 2/2 the Republic (CPR), a political party that was banned by Ben Ali’s regime.

    Dr. Marzouki went into exile in France in 2001, where he taught at the University of Bobigny and the University of Marne-la-Vallée. He returned to Tunisia in 2005, but went back into exile in 2006. sDr. Marzouki finally returned to Tunisia on January 18, 2011, days after Ben Ali had been deposed. Dr. Marzouki was elected to the Constituent Assembly in October 2011, and the deputies of the Assembly elected him President of the Republic of Tunisia on December 12, 2011.

    Source: Riadh Ben Sliman of the Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the United Nations Judge, September 2014

  • Mohamed El-Assyouti holds a B.S. in Physics/Electronics (1993) and an M.A. in English and Comparative Literature (2001) from the American University in Cairo (AUC).  Since September 2000, El-Assyouti has taught courses on the history of film, video production, film theory and criticism and special topics in film and literature in the Performing and Visual Arts (PVA) department of AUC.  He also co-taught film directing with director Osama Fawzi at the Raafat El-Mihi Studio Galal Academy in 2003-04.

    For the past 12 years, Mr. El-Assyouti has written numerous articles and reviews for Al-Ahram Weekly on both Egyptian and international films.  He participated in the organization of film festivals (Cairo International, Alexandria and Ismailia International) and curated films, such as the 2005/2006 Tuesday film series at AUC.  In addition, he served as a critics jury member at the Ismailia International Festival for Documentary and Short Films (2003) and catalogue editor of the 29th Cairo International Film Festival (2005).

    Mr. El-Assyouti acted in several film and video works, such as a BBC mini-series directed by Ferdinand Fairfax (2005) and an Egyptian TV serial directed by Khairy Beshara (2003).  He also served as director assistant (1992-93) in two feature films by director Mohamed Khan and as video editor (1995) at Tareq Nour’s Advertising Agency.  He participated in three independent video-production workshops organized by ProHelvetia, the Swiss Cultural Centre, in 1997, 1998, and 2005, conducted by Swiss directors Geita Schell and Dennis Rabaglia and Egyptian director Khairy Beshara; and in a workshop on low-budget documentary organized by the Spanish Embassy in Cairo in 2005, supervised by Dayra Arts—director Basel Ramsis, director of photography Alfonso Postigo and editor Renato Sanjuan.

    In June 2005, he wrote, produced and directed the short fiction film “Awiz Amawwit El-H’umar” (I Want to Kill the Jackass), which premiered on September 14, 2005 at AUC’s Ewart Hall.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2006

  • Mladen Ivanic served as the sixth foreign minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 2007.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2003

  • Winner of the Venice Film Festival’s Gold Lion for Monsoon Wedding, Mira Nair has achieved international renown as a director, writer and producer of feature films and documentaries. Born in India and educated at Delhi University and Harvard, she launched her career as an actress before directing award-winning documentaries. Salaam Bombay! – her debut work as a fiction film director – won the Caméra d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film of 1988. Subsequent feature films include Mississippi Masala, The Perez Family, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, My Own Country, Monsoon Wedding, Hysterical Blindness,Vanity Fair and the upcoming The Namesake.  Her company, Mirabi Films, has established a laboratory to encourage young filmmakers from East Africa and India.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • Nemat (Minouche) Shafik became the 20th president of Columbia University on July 1, 2023. President Shafik is a distinguished economist who for more than three decades has served in senior leadership roles across a range of prominent international and academic institutions.

    Shafik was born in Alexandria, Egypt. When she was 4 years old, her family fled the country during the political and economic upheaval of the mid-1960s. Her father, a scientist, found work in the United States, where he had done his PhD. Shafik and her sister attended numerous schools in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, and she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and politics in 1983. She was awarded a Master of Science in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 1986, followed by Doctor of Philosophy in economics from St Antony's College, Oxford University, in 1989.

    Following her Oxford years, Shafik began her career at the World Bank. By age 36, she had become the bank’s youngest-ever vice president. During the early 2000s, she held academic appointments at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Economics Department at Georgetown University. In 2008, she was appointed Permanent Secretary of the U.K.’s Department for International Development, where she led an overhaul in British foreign aid. Next, she served as Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and then as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, where she sat on all the monetary, financial, and prudential policy committees and was responsible for a balance sheet of over £500 billion (equivalent of approximately $605 billion). In 2017, she returned to academia as president of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Throughout her career, Shafik has been at the center of efforts—often during pivotal, high-stakes moments—to address some of the world’s most complex and disruptive challenges. At the World Bank, she worked on the institution’s first-ever report on the environment and later advised governments in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the height of the “Make Poverty History” campaign, Shafik helped secure the UK’s commitment to giving 0.7% of GDP in aid and focused it on fighting poverty in the poorest countries in the world. She worked on both the European debt crisis and the Arab Spring while she was at the IMF. At the Bank of England, she led work on fighting misconduct in financial markets and was responsible for the contingency planning around the Brexit referendum. At LSE, she has encouraged academic work on how to rethink the social contract for the modern economy.  

    “I have had jobs that are about doing good, such as fighting poverty or leading educational institutions as well as jobs that are about preventing bad things from happening, like at the IMF and Bank of England,” Shafik has said of her career. “Both are vital if we are to make and secure progress for humanity.”

    Shafik has authored, edited, and co-authored a number of books and articles. In her writings and speeches, she has been clear eyed in how leading global institutions must transcend technocratic expertise to engage more fully with the people they serve. She has called for a better social contract to underpin our economic system, most notably in her recent book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract (2021, Princeton University Press), in which she challenges institutions and individuals to rethink how we can better support each other to thrive. In addition, she has written articles for a number of publications, including Oxford Economic PapersColumbia Journal of World BusinessThe Middle East JournalJournal of African Finance and Economic DevelopmentWorld Development, and the Journal of Development Economics. Shafik serves or has previously served on numerous boards including as Deputy Chair of the Trustees of the British Museum, board member of the Supervisory Board of Siemens, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and BRAC. In recognition of her public service, she was made a Dame Commander by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 and a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords in 2020. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, St Antony’s College at Oxford University, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

    She was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Warwick, the University of Reading, the University of Glasgow, and the American University in Beirut, and was selected “Woman of the Year” at the Global Leadership and Global Diversity awards in 2009. She also was named Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2015, “100 Women in Finance European Industry Leader” in 2018, and “100 Most Influential Africans” in 2021 by New African magazine.

    She is married to Raffael Jovine, a molecular biologist, with whom she has two college-age children and three adult stepchildren.

  • Mikheil Saakashvili, President of the Republic of Georgia, graduated with honors from Tbilisi Secondary School N51 in 1984 and was accepted into the prestigious Kiev University Institute of International Relations where he graduated with honors.

    Mr. Saakashvili attended Columbia Law School as an Edmund S. Muskie Fellow where he received his master of laws (LL.M.) in 1994. From 1995 to 1996, he studied law at the doctoral level at The George Washington University National Center of Law in Washington, D.C. He received a diploma in comparative law of human rights at the Strasbourg Human Rights International Institute. In 1992 he spent time specializing in minority issues at the Norwegian Institute of Human Rights and organized a conference between Georgians and South Ossetians that led to the first signed ceasefire agreement.

    At the Human Rights Committee of Georgia, 1992 to 1993, he secured prisoner exchange agreements between Georgians and Abkhazs and also between Armenians and Azeris captured in the fighting for Nagorno-Karabakh. Admitted to the New York Bar, he practiced commercial law for nearly a year at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler in New York City.

    When he returned to Georgia, he was elected to Parliament in 1995 and was immediately elected by his peers in Parliament as chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional, Legal Issues and Legal Affairs.

    In August 1998 he became majority leader of Parliament when his party, the "Citizen's Union," elected him leader of their parliamentary delegation. He was re-elected to Parliament in 1999, but this time elected directly by the constituents of the Vake district in central Tbilisi.

    The Georgian Parliament elected him head of Georgia's delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In January 2000 in Strasbourg, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elected Mr. Saakashvili its Vice President.

    On October 12, 2000, then-President Edward Shevardnadze appointed Mr. Saakashvili Minister of Justice of Georgia. Seven out of eight parties in a deeply divided parliament voted in his favor.

    In September 2001, less than a year after his appointment, Mr. Saakashvili resigned as Minister of Justice over the government's unwillingness to end corruption within itself. He also resigned from his party, the "Citizens' Union." Only weeks after that resignation and now running as an independent, he was overwhelmingly re-elected to Parliament in October of 2001 by the constituents of Tbilisi's Vake District. Before the end of 2001, he formed a new party, "The United National Movement," pledging to take the fight to the government over corruption.

    Mr. Saakashvili resigned his seat in Parliament to be eligible to run locally for Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo). He won on the platform, "Tbilisi without Shevardnadze" and was elected council chair.

    As council chair, from 2002 to 2003, he put new energy into the neglected city and jumpstarted programs to create real city services. He became a candidate again for Parliament for the new "National Movement" party in what would become the historic Georgian national elections scheduled for November 2003.

    In the special elections held on the January 4, 2004, the people of Georgia overwhelmingly elected Mikheil Saakashvili as president.

    President Saakashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia on December 21, 1967, the eldest son of three brothers. President Saakashvili currently lives in a 3-room apartment in a private residential building in Tbilisi with his wife, Sandra, and their two sons.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • 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.


    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, January 2018

  • Michel Martelly, a performer with the stage name Sweet Micky, was elected president of Haiti in a runoff election held in March 2011.

    He defeated Mirlande H. Manigat, a former first lady and college administrator who was the top vote getter in the initial round of voting in November 2010.

    The November election, marred by fraud and incompetence, was just the beginning of an opaque process that included delayed results, contentious protests by Mr. Martelly’s supporters, a review by international observers, and finally a reversal by election officials that put Mr. Martelly in the runoff by discarding a government-backed candidate.

    Before his election Mr. Martelly was one of Haiti’s most popular singers and performers, perhaps best known for his raunchy Carnival act. After the Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jeanwas denied permission to run, Mr. Martelly cast himself as just the outsider Haiti needed, punctuating his campaign appearances with songs.

    With tens of thousands of people displaced by the 2010 earthquake still living in camps, only a fraction of the rubble cleared and more than 4,600 killed by cholera since the epidemic began in October, it appears Haitians believed only a political newcomer like Mr. Martelly could change the country’s direction.

    In the campaign, Mr. Martelly eschewed the skirts, underwear and other outlandish outfits of his musical career in favor of tailored suits and serious talk of reforming agriculture, streamlining the delivery of humanitarian aid and restoring law and order by bringing back the military, which was disbanded more than a decade ago after a history of human rights and political abuses.

    Now, he faces the challenge of speeding the rebuilding of a country that, long before the quake, was the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and one if its most politically unstable.

    Haiti is heavily reliant on foreign humanitarian aid, dispersed among hundreds of nongovernmental organizations that operate in effect as a shadow government. It also relies on United Nations peacekeepers for security.

    In addition, Mr. Martelly will have to share power with a prime minister picked by Parliament, where the party of his predecessor, Rene Préval, is strong.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Overview: Founding, three-time, and current Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea; knighted by Pope John Paul II and the Queen of England; world leader.

    Date of Birth: 09 April 1936
    Place of Birth: Rabaul, East New Britain Province
    Marital Status: Married with five children and 8 grandchildren
    Elected Office: Regional Member of Parliament for East Sepik Province.

    1957-1967 Broadcasting Officer & Teacher
    1968 Elected to House of Assembly
    1975-1981 First Prime Minister of PNG
    1981-1982 Leader of the Opposition
    1982-1985 Re-elected Prime Minister of PNG
    1985-1987 Leader of the Opposition
    1987-1996 Continual election to Parliament and continued to hold senior public offices
    1996 Formed National Alliance
    1999-2001 Minister for Mining & Bougainville Affairs
    2001-2002 Leader of the Opposition
    2002-Current Prime Minister of PNG

    1977: Appointed a Privy Councilor by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
    1978: Made a Companion of Honours (CH)
    1991: Made Knight Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG)
    1992: Pontifical Knighthood by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II, Knight of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great (GCEG)
    1994: Made Knight of Justice, Order of Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem (KSt.J)
    2005 Made Grand Chief, Grand Companion in the Order of Logohu (GCL)

    1976: Conferred Doctorate of Humanities (Honoris Causa) University of the Philippines, Leiciana, Philippines
    1978: Conferred Doctorate of Laws (LLD) (Honoris Causa) Australian National University, Canberra, NCT, Australia
    1978: Conferred Doctorate of South Pacific (Honoris Causa), University of South Pacific Suva, Fiji
    1983: Conferred Doctorate of Technology (Honoris Causa) University of Technology, Lae, Papua New Guinea
    1985: Conferred Doctorate of Laws (LLD) (Honoris Causa) University of Papua New Guinea Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    1991: Conferred, Doctorate of Letters (Honoris Causa) University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Michael R. Bloomberg is the 108th mayor of the City of New York. He attended Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School.

    He worked for Salomon Brothers on Wall Street beginning in 1966 and eventually came to oversee the firm’s information systems. Envisioning an information company that would use emerging technology to bring transparency and efficiency to trading financial securities, he started Bloomberg LP in 1981. Today, the company has more than 300,000 subscribers to its financial news and information service in 161 countries around the globe. Headquartered in New York City, Bloomberg LP has more than 10,000 employees worldwide.

    As his company grew, Bloomberg directed more of his attention to philanthropy. He served on the boards of numerous charitable, cultural, and educational institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, where, as chairman, he helped build the Bloomberg School of Public Health into one of the world’s leading institutions of public health research and training.

    In his first term as mayor, Bloomberg cut crime 20 percent, created jobs by supporting small businesses, unleashed a building boom of affordable housing, worked to revitalize the waterfront, implemented ambitious public health strategies, and improved the efficiency of government. He won control of New York’s schools from the broken Board of Education and began turning around the nation’s largest school district by injecting standards into the classroom and holding schools accountable for success.

    Bloomberg was re-elected by a diverse coalition of support in 2005. In his second term, while balancing the budget and driving unemployment to a record low, the mayor also launched an innovative program to combat poverty, and a far-reaching campaign to fight global warming and prepare New York for an estimated million more residents by 2030.

    When the current financial crisis hit, Mayor Bloomberg launched a plan to bring the city through the downturn as quickly as possible by creating jobs for New Yorkers today, implementing a vision for growing the city’s economy over the long-term, and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods across all five boroughs.

    Mayor Bloomberg is the father of two daughters, Emma and Georgina.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Mike Moore is a past Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Mr Moore oversaw the launch of the Doha Development Round. His period in office saw the successful accession to the WTO of China and Chinese Taipei along with Estonia, Jordan, Georgia, Albania, Oman, Croatia, Lithuania, and Moldova.

    Mr Moore is a former Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand. He held portfolios in a wide range of areas and served in a number of senior political positions including Trade Minister, Foreign Minister, Minister of Tourism, Minister for the Americas Cup and Deputy Minister of Finance. Mike Moore worked as a meat and construction worker, and a printer where he became an active Trade Unionist. He became a social worker in a hospital for the criminally insane – an experience he claims “prepared him well for a life in politics”.

    Mr Moore held numerous appointments and board memberships with global policy and commercial organisations. These included Membership of the United Nations Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor; Commissioner for the UN Global Commission on International Migration; and a number of private sector boards. Mr Moore served on the Economic Development Board of South Australia, and was an advisor to other Governments. He is a Trilateral Commission member and a member of the Privy Council. Mr Moore was an Adjunct Professor at Adelaide University, Australia, and La Trobe University, Australia, is Honorary Professor at Beijing Normal University in Zhuhai; the Chinese University for Political Science and International Law in Beijing; and Shanghai Customs College.

    Mr Moore is the recipient of numerous honours from governments in Africa, Europe and South America. He was awarded New Zealand’s highest honour, the Order of New Zealand. Mr Moore also holds honorary doctorates in commerce from Lincoln University, New Zealand; in economics from the People’s University of China, Beijing; in commerce from Auckland University of Technology and Canterbury University, and law from La Trobe University in Australia.

    He is the author of ten books including: A Pacific Parliament; Hard Labour, Fighting For New Zealand; Children of the Poor; A Brief History of the Future and A World Without Walls. Mr Moore’s latest book, “Saving Globalisation”, was published by Wiley’s in 2009.

    Mr Moore is the founder of a New Zealand Charity “School Aid” which creates investment funds which are managed by High School students, the profits of which will go to schools in developing countries.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2011

  • 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

  • Meles Zenawi, prime minister of Ethiopia, was born in May 1955, in the town of Adwa, in northern Ethiopia. After completing high school in 1972 in Addis Ababa, he joined the medical faculty of Addis Ababa University, where he studied for two years. Further on in his academic career, Zenawi received an MA in business administration from the Open University of the United Kingdom in 1995 and an MS in economics from the Erasmus University in the Netherlands in 2004.

    In 1974, he interrupted his studies to join the Tigrai Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF), a political party. Zenawi was elected to the leadership committee of the party in 1979 and to its executive committee in 1983. Since 1989, he has been chairman of both the TPLF and the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a political alliance of the four main political organizations in the country.

    Upon defeat of the military junta, Zenawi became president of the transitional government of Ethiopia and chairman of the council of representatives (the legislative body of the transitional government) from 1991 to 1995. He was elected prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in 1995 and was re-elected for a second term in 2000. He extended his nineteen-year rule in the recent May 2010 election.

    Meles Zenawi served as chairman of the Organization of the African Union from June 1995 until June 1996 and is currently serving as co-chairperson of the Global Coalition for Africa, where he has been active in the efforts of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development in Eastern Africa (IGAD) to end the conflicts in Sudan and Somalia, as well as African initiatives to seek a solution to the crises in Burundi. In 2004, he was appointed by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as one of the commissioners for the Commission for Africa, also known as the Blair Commission for Africa, an initiative established by the British government to examine and provide impetus for development in Africa.

    Prime Minister Zanawi is chairing both the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee and the African Peer Review Forum.  In July 2009, he was mandated to speak on behalf of Africa on climate change matters and to coordinate the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC).  In this capacity, he has led Africa’s negotiating team to the World Summit on Climate Change, held in Copenhagen in December 2009.  His mandate was extended by the 14th ordinary session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government to lead the CAHOSCC in the global Climate Change negotiations for the next two conferences in Mexico and South Africa this year and in 2011.

    The Prime Minister is married and has three children.

    This bio was provided directly by the Ethiopian Government, September 2010 

  • Mr. Jomaa, 52 year old, was born in the city of Mahdia (Tunisia).  After receiving his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from a Tunis-based leading engineering school, he started in 1989 his professional career in France at Hutchinson, a subsidiary of the TOTAL Group.  In his work, he specialized in the aeronautics industry and focused on strategy, international business and transformational leadership.

    In March 2013, Mr. Jomaa was appointed Minister of Industry in Tunisia.  In this capacity, he initiated several measures particularly a new national strategy on energy, legislation on renewable energy sources, as well as new Government procedures for managing conflicts within large, state-owned industrial groups.

    In January 2014 and after several months of an acute political crisis, Mr. Jomaa was appointed Head of Government to lead the country towards its first general elections under the new Constitution.  During his mandate, he reorganized the security apparatus for a more efficient response to terrorism, launched a national economic dialogue and initiated several reforms in banking, taxation and in the national subsidies system.  In September 2014, he organized a major international conference entitled “Invest in Tunisia”.  As Head of Government, he introduced a new and innovative governance procedure based on a trilogy of “vision, leadership and management”.

    Mr. Jomaa is holder of decorations of the Tunisian Order of the Republic and the German Order of Merit.  He was also awarded the 2014 Amadeus “Person of the Year” distinction from Morocco.

    Mr. Jomaa is married and father to five children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2015

  • The Honorable Matthew W. Barzun is the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2015

  • Academy Award winner Matt Damon is an actor, screenwriter, producer and humanitarian, who has garnered international acclaim for his work both on- and off-screen.

    Inspired during international travel with his family throughout Mexico and Guatemala as a youth, Matt has long been devoted to environmental and social issues. Learning about the immense challenges of accessing safe water and sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa, Matt decided to create the H20 Africa Foundation. In 2009, he teamed up with Gary White to join their organizations and launch Water.org.

    For his work as Co-founder of Water.org, Matt, along with fellow Water.org Co-founder Gary, was recognized as one of the TIME 100 most influential people in the world in 2011 and received the Environmental Media Award from The Environmental Media Association in 2013. In 2014, the World Economic Forum named Matt as the Crystal Award winner for his work through Water.org. Matt’s active participation in his organization’s work, including site visits to multiple countries, strategy development, advocacy, and high-level meetings with institutions like the World Bank and the World Economic Forum over the past decade, has positioned him as one of the world’s experts on water and sanitation issues.

    Source: Water.org and WaterEquity, September 2023

  • Dr. Etiebet is a physician, researcher and strong advocate for women's health, with extensive experience working with international development partners to design, manage and evaluate programs that address the needs of vulnerable and at risk populations. As the Executive Director of Merck for Mothers, Dr. Etiebet is responsible for successfully implementing a robust set of innovative programs across the globe, designing new high-impact partnerships, managing relationships with important external stakeholders, and serving as an internal and external ambassador of the initiative.

    She combines clinical expertise as a Board Certified Infectious Disease physician with global experience in healthcare strategy, health systems strengthening and performance improvement in the private, public and non-profit sectors. Dr. Etiebet earned her MD and MBA from Yale University, and completed her residency and fellowship training at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital System.

    Source: International Conference on Sustainable Development, 9/2017

  • Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland (1990-1997) and more recently United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002), has spent most of her life as a human rights advocate.  Born Mary Bourke in Ballina, County Mayo (1944), the daughter of two physicians, she was educated at the University of Dublin (Trinity College), King’s Inns Dublin and Harvard Law School to which she won a fellowship in 1967.

    As an academic (Trinity College Law Faculty 1968-90), legislator (Senator 1969-89) and barrister (1967-90, Senior Counsel 1980, English Bar 1973) she has always sought to use law as an instrument for social change, arguing landmark cases before the European Court of Human Rights as well as in the Irish courts and the European Court in Luxemburg.  A committed European, she also served on expert European Community and Irish parliamentary committees.

    She married in 1970 Nicholas Robinson, lawyer, conservationist, and an authority on eighteenth-century caricature. They have a daughter and two sons.

    In 1988, Mary Robinson and her husband founded the Irish Centre for European Law at the Trinity College.  Ten years later she was elected Chancellor of the University.

    The recipient of numerous honors and awards throughout the world, Mary Robinson is Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders and Vice President of the Club of Madrid.  She chairs the International Board of the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and the Fund for Global Human Rights and is Honorary President of Oxfam International, and Patron of the International Community of Women Living with AIDS (ICW).  She serves on several boards including the Vaccine Fund, the Global Compact, is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and the American Philosophical Society and chairs the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

    Now based in New York, Mary Robinson is currently the President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative (RR).  Its mission is to make human rights the compass which charts a course for globalization that is fair, just and benefits all.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • 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, August 2019

  • Mr. Ahtisaari was elected President of the Republic of Finland in February 1994. He held office from the 1st of March 1994 to the 29th of February 2000. Upon leaving office, Mr. Ahtisaari founded the Crisis Management Initiative, where he is the Chairman of the Board. Between 2000 and 2008 Martti Ahtisaari has taken various tasks involved in peace mediation and conflict resolution. In 2005 he facilitated the peace process between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement. Between 14 November 2005 and 29 February 2008 Mr. Ahtisaari acted as the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the future status process for Kosovo. Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2008.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Mark Harrington is a co-founder and Executive Director of TAG, the Treatment Action Group. He was born in San Francisco, graduated from Harvard College in 1983, moved to New York in 1987, and joined ACT UP/New York, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1998. He helped strategize and lead ACT UP’s campaigns -against the FDA, the NIH, and the drug companies - to speed up development, approval, access, and information on new treatments for HIV/AIDS and its opportunistic infections. When ACT UP’s Treatment + Data Committee left ACT UP to form TAG in 1992, at the Amsterdam AIDS conference in 1992, he showed the scientists photos from his own HIV-infected lymph node and called for accelerated efforts by scientists to understand the pathogenesis of how HIV causes AIDS. Simultaneously, TAG’s critical review of the NIH AIDS program called for sweeping reorganization under a strong Office of AIDS Research (OAR), in recommendations which were incorporated by Congress in the NIH Revitalizaiton Act of 1993, passed by Congress, and signed by President Clinton in 1993. AIDS research funds increased substantially and helped support many discoveries in basic science which are leading the way to drugs, vaccines, and microbicides for tomorrow. In 1996 Harrington wrote "Viral Load in Vancouver" on the treatment advances which paved the way for highly active antiretroviral therapy. Harrington has been on many advisory committees to FDA and NIH and currently serves on the US panel on adult and adolescent antiretroviral treatment guidelines. In 1997 Harrington received a MacArthur Fellowship for his AIDS treatment activist work. In 2000, Harrington co-wrote the review article "Hit HIV-1 hard, but only when necessary" with Charles C.J. Carpenter M.D., in The Lancet (355, 17 June 2000) Since 2000, TAG has worked with global activist colleagues on international AIDS treatment scale-up and treatment preparedness. Since 2002, TAG has developed a global network of activists fighting TB, the leading infectious cause of AIDS related mortality. Harrington co-wrote the US and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for antiretroviral therapy for adults and adolescents, and serves on many advisory bodies to the WHO HIV/AIDS and TB programs. Mark lives in New York City.

    University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006 

  • One of the world’s most outstanding contemporary authors, Mario Vargas Llosa has invigorated Latin American literature with his vivid portraits of life in his continent.  Translated into more than 30 languages, his works—including  Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977), The War of the End of the World (1981), The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (1984) and The Way to Paradise (2003)— create an “aesthetic double of the real world,” in which artistic pleasure is often infused with social concerns.  He has also earned praise for his essays on politics and on literary figures such as Flaubert, Camus and Sartre, whose writings affected him profoundly.  His quest for political reform led him to run, unsuccessfully, for the presidency of his native Peru in 1990.  Vargas Llosa has received many honors, from a Peruvian Congressional Medal of Honor (1981) to the Légion d’honneur (1985), the Prince of Asturias Prize (1986), Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1987), the Cervantes Prize (1994) and the National Book Critics Circle Award (1998).

  • Mariette DiChristina oversees Scientific American, ScientificAmerican.com, Scientific AmericanMind and all newsstand special editions. She is the eighth person and first female to assume the top post in Scientific American’s 166-year history. Under her leadership, the magazine received a 2011 National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

    A science journalist for more than 20 years, she first came to Scientific American in 2001 as its executive editor. She is an advisor for the Citizen Science Alliance. She was named an AAAS Fellow in 2011. She was also the president (in 2009 and 2010) of the 2,500-member National Association of Science Writers. She was an adjunct professor in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at New York University for the several years. DiChristina is a frequent lecturer and has appeared at the New York Academy of Sciences, California Academy of Sciences, 92nd Street Y in New York, Yale University and New York University among many others.

    Previously, she spent nearly 14 years at Popular Science in positions culminating as executive editor. Her work in writing and overseeing articles about space topics helped garner that magazine the Space Foundation's 2001 Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award. In spring 2005 she was Science Writer in Residence at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her chapter on science editing appears in the second edition of A Field Guide for Science Writers. She is former chair of Science Writers in New York (2001 to 2004) and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists. DiChristina was honored by New York's Italian Heritage and Culture Committee in October 2009 for her contributions as an Italian American to science journalism and education in New York City. In January 2010, she was honored by the National Organization of Italian American Women as one as one of its "Three Wise Women" of 2009.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2012

  • Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is the ninth President of the Republic of Malta. Her nomination as President was, for the first time in the history of the Maltese parliament, approved unanimously by a parliamentary resolution of the House of Representatives taken on 1 April 2014, marking a development in the constitutional history of Malta.  She took the oath of President of Malta on 4 April 2014.

    At the age of 55 years, Coleiro Preca is the youngest President of the country, and is the second woman occupying the office of Head of State after 32 years.

    Major Achievements

    Soon after taking office, Her Excellency established a number of entities to ensure dialogue and to foster effective unity among people.

    The President’s Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society

    The Foundation was founded on 25th June 2014. The Foundation, as the first of its kind in Malta, aims to create a safe space for dialogue on social wellbeing, bridging popular wisdom with academic research. Through this process, the Foundation works towards enhancing human relationships, and sharing and understanding what fosters wellbeing, as well as what hinders it. The Foundation focuses on consultation through the Foundation Fora on Children, Family, Community, Transculturalism, Interfaith, and Disability, and conducts research through the following Research Entities:

    • National Institute for Childhood
    • National Centre for Family Research
    • National Observatory for Living with Dignity,
    • National Centre for Freedom from Addictions
    • National Hub for Ethno-botanical Research.

     The Malta Community Chest Fund

    Her Excellency established the Malta Community Chest Fund as a Foundation, with the aim of providing financial, material and professional support to individuals, families, communities, and voluntary organisations.  The Foundation aims at improving the quality of life for individuals, without any form of discrimination on the basis of social class, gender identity, ethnicity, age, ability, health status or religion.

    Children’s Hub

    The Children’s Hub provides a safe, interactive and creative space at San Anton Gardens giving Maltese children the space to express their personality, express their opinions and feel empowered, through informal education. It aims to foster intergenerational dialogue as well participation, inclusion and involvement of children with activities focusing on five key areas, including self-expression, healthy eating, education, nurture, and art.

    National Forum of Trade Unions

    The National Forum of Trade Unions creates opportunities for dialogue among Trade Unions.  Such dialogue encourages solutions to difficulties encountered at the place of work, and ensures the wellbeing of all employees.

    National Cancer Platform

    The National Cancer Platform brings together all the non-government organisations working in the field of cancer to collaborate together in order to ensure a holistic, co-ordinated and sustainable service for all cancer patients and their loved ones.  Each organisation remains autonomous, keeps its identity and way of working, while providing comprehensive information and support to its members. Through the Platform, members of organisations that offer support to people effected by cancer and their families, become familiar with the work being carried out by other organisations offering similar, or complementary services.

    Professional Experience

    Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca dedicated her life to the social wellbeing of the most vulnerable in society, and brought about effective changes in the social policies of Malta.

    On 13 March 2013, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was appointed as Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity. During the year that she was Minister, she initiated various reforms.

    The key reforms affected during her term of office included those in the area of ​​social housing, as well as the reform for an integrated social system based on community level approaches through the establishment of the Family Resource Centres.  Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca worked relentlessly in social development and in creating Regional Centres.

    Yet another reform brought about the simplification of the benefits system of those who reach retirement age, persons eligible for marriage grant, persons who are eligible for the widow pensions and those eligible for the children’s allowance, who now  receive the benefits without the need for applications, thus rendering the system more efficienct.

    Coleiro Preca initiated the introduction of the single-means testing mechanism, as well as a complete overhaul in the area of welfare and more effective anti-fraud social benefits system.  She set up a Welfare Reform Task Force to update the Welfare system and curb abuse and fraud.

    During her term as Minister, Coleiro Preca initiated the development of a strategy for the sustainability and adequacy of pensions.  She addressed the anomalies in the pension of former shipyard workers and introduced a number of measures, such as the provision of full pension to widows who are working, and the provision of children’s supplement to address child poverty motivated by their school attendance, health check-ups and involvement in culture or sports.

    As Minister, Coleiro Preca tabled several laws before Parliament, including the Act on the Protection of Children, as part of the Children’s Act, and which was developed using the innovative bottom-up approach methodology.  She established the Sexual Assault Response Team, where for the first time ever, rape victims may receive an integrated service in one location.

    In December 2013, together with the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor, Coleiro Preca launched the LEAP project. This project funded by the European Social Fund, established the Family Resources Centres to provide services at the heart of communities and which gave a start to the implementation of the new Social Investment Package introduced by the European Union.

    In January 2014, Coleiro Preca developed and launched, together with the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, the Green Paper: Structure for Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion. Over 22,000 children are benefitting from the child supplement introduced to tackle poverty and social exclusion, as part of the strategy.

    Political career

    Marie-Louise Coeiro Preca had been active in politics for forty years, starting at the young age of sixteen years.  She served in Parliament for sixteen years.

    Coleiro Preca has been active in politics for the past forty years, Within the Labour Party, she served as a member of the National Executive, Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary General, occupying the latter post between 1982 and 1991. Coleiro Preca is the only woman who ever occupied this important elected position in a Maltese political party.

    Coleiro Preca was also a member of the National Youth Socialists Bureau, President of the Socialist Women’s Group, member of the National Council of the Malta Labour Party, member of the National Bureau of Socialist Youths (now the Labour Youth Forum), founder member of Ġuze Ellul Mercer Foundation, as well as editor of the newspaper, il-Ħelsien.

    Coleiro Preca served on the board of directors of Maltacom plc (now the GO Company), as well as the Libyan Arab Maltese Holding Company. She was also a member of the National Commission for Fiscal Morality.

    Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca served as a Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives between 1998 and 2014.  In the 2008 and again in 2013 general elections, she was the first candidate to be elected to Parliament.

    As a Member of Parliament in Opposition, she served as Shadow Minister for Social Policy, Tourism, the national airline, and Health.  Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was a member of the Parliamentary Committee for Social Affairs and the Family. She also served in the Parliamentary delegation to the Council of Europe and on various committees that fall within it.


    Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca graduated as Bachelor in Legal and Humanities and as Notary Public at the University of Malta.


    Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was awarded the Crans Montana Prix de la Fondation 2014, an award given to prominent personalities who strive for peace, freedom and democracy.

    Recent Speeches given at International Level

    Invited to give the keynote speech at the European Conference ‘The Europe 2020 poverty target: lessons learned and the way forward Conference’ held in Brussels. In June 2015, Her Excellency Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was also invited to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

    Invited to give the keynote speech ‘The new challenge of Migration in Europe: its impact on government policies and bilateral relations’ at the Crans Montana Forum high-level Conference in Brussels dedicated to Migration. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was awarded an Honorary Life Presidency of the Arab-European Forum for Dialogue and Development and was made Honorary Professor of the University of Warwick.


    Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is married to Edgar Preca and has a daughter.

    Source: Office of President Coleiro Preca, September 2015 

  • 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, July 2019

  • Personal Profile
    I consider myself a positive, enthusiastic, practical and proactive person. I have excellent communication and interpersonal relations skills, and can work well as part of a team, as a leader or follower. I have developed competencies in decision making, negotiation; problem analysis and adequate and timely solution response. My working style is results based oriented, within strategic planning, activities prioritization and delegation of responsibilities under supervision. I welcome self-initiative and collaborative work.

    My working experiences in public and private arenas, as well as my academic background have developed my vision for time and opportunity scenarios, identification of cause and effect relationship, as well as target selection. I highly respect cultural diversity and am committed with human rights; and believe in democratic values and principles.

    I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on September 2nd, 1965; I have been married for 15 years and am the mother of two girls and one boy. Languages: Spanish, English, French.

    Academic Background
    Master of Science in Education and Curriculum Design
    Longwood University, Virginia, U.S.A.
    (Class Valedictorian)

    Bachelor's Degree in Education (Pedagogy)
    Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras

    Bilingual Teaching Certificate
    Public School System, State of Illinois, U.S.A.

    English as a Second Language Certificate
    Immaculate College, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

    Bachiller en Ciencias y Letras (High School Diploma)
    Liceo Franco Hondureño

    Professional Experience
    FUNDECAS (2/2006-present)
    Executive Director

    This is a non-governmental organization which work is aimed to the strengthening of the social capital, through capacity building and empowerment for the rightful exercise of citizenship. Our target groups include Women's political participation, Democratic Principles and Values and the Role of the Media, enhancing Women's capacities in the local areas, and youth participation.

    My responsibilities include providing leadership to the organization by formulating priority lines and strategic plans based on environmental scanning (optimal time and political scenarios). I also establish and maintain partnerships with local governments, civil society organizations, and public institutions to ensure policy and programme support from a broad range of stakeholders. I develop and implement resource mobilization plans to ensure adequate funding and am also responsible for the general management of human and financial resources and team coordination and motivation.

    National Institute for Women's Affairs (2/2002-1/2006)

    This is a governmental institution responsible for managing the official Women's Policy. My responsibilities included ensuring the strategic programme and project relevant implementation of the Honduran National Women's Policy, through ongoing and broad-based policy dialogue with all Honduran Women's Organizations, as well as with other sectors of government and the international community represented in Honduras. This was successfully accomplished by the establishment of a mechanism of dialogue and accountability with the women's movement. In addition, I was able to define the country's priorities for the advancement and promotion of gender equality through compellingly communicating our vision to other government institutions, local governments, the judicial system and Congress, all of with whom the National Institute established partnerships.

    One of the most important achievements of my administration was the inclusion of a "quota" in the legislation to ensure Women's political participation, as well and their capacity building and empowerment which resulted in a significant increase of women in Congress. (From 6 percent to 25 percent which means from 7 to 32 women out of 128 congressmen)

    Del Campo Internacional School (2000-1/2002)

    My main responsibility was to create a culture of excellence in learning and teaching through the definition of curricula and effectively managing and motivating teachers.

    I accomplished this by implement innovative teaching strategies, maintaining dialogue with parents and defining and promoting just disciplinary measures. I led teachers in the definition and implementation of their educational strategies, ensuring standards were respected and by fostering team spirit.

    I was also responsible for the professional development of teachers and motivated them to stay updated on new teaching trends, promoting self-management, in accordance with the school's direction and priorities. Finally, I was responsible for the resource administration of the school.

    Bilingual School Teacher and University Professor (1987-2000)
    Responsibilities included developing strategies for students with different learning capacities, reinforcement of school rules, tutoring children through their learning experience, developing strategies to enforce learning skills and abilities for children, maintaining communication with students and parents.

    International Networks

    • Global Gender and Malaria Network, sponsored by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Secretariat, Kvinnoforum and Femmes Solidarité
    • Global Women's Action Network for Children, sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah from Jordan

    • Red de Mujeres Líderes de Iberoamérica, sponsored by Fundación Carolina from Spain

    Special Awards and Recognitions
    President of the Honduran National Congress

    To my contribution to the advancement of women rights (January, 2006)

    Feed The Children International
    To my contribution in favor of Honduran families and infancy, specially the ones in most need (January, 2006)

    Colectivo Feminista de Mujeres Universitarias (NGO)
    To my contribution for the strengthening of equality and gender equity to guarantee women's human rights (January, 2006)

    United Nations Population Fund
    To my leadership and contribution to Honduras sustainable development and women's human rights (January, 2006)

    General Direction for Police Education
    "Sword of the Police Academy" honorary distinction to my contribution to superior education in the Honduran Police Academy (January, 2006)

    Labor Union of the Honduran Institute for the Infancy and Family
    For my contribution to the institutional development and strengthening on behalf of the Honduran family and infancy (January, 2006)

    Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz "Visitación Padilla" (Women's NGO)
    For my commitment with women's ideals, dreams and utopias (February 2006)

    Secretary of State for National Security
    To my contribution to the National Police Force education and professional development (December, 2005)

    Central American Women Firefighters Association
    For my support and contribution to the creation of the association (2005)

    Secretary of State for National Security
    "Order Dionisio de Herrera" The highest honor award granted to a civilian for my contribution to the professional development of the Police Force (2003)

    Conferences and Seminars
    Salzburg Seminar, Session 433, Women political Power, and Next Generation Leadership

    Global Women's Action for Children Conference, sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund, under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah from Jordan, (June 2006)

    ECLAC, Ministers of Women's Affairs Regional Meeting, invited as expert speaker on national machineries and institutionality, (Mexico City, March 2006)

    Special Guest of the Governor of Jalisco as Speaker at the "International Conference on Family and Infancy" (Jalisco, Mexico, February, 2005)

    Longwood University, Virginia, U.S.A., Guest speaker for Commencement Ceremony (September, 2004)

    Honduran Supreme Court, American Justice and Judicial Center, Guest Speaker at the workshop: "Penal Prosecution of Sexual Crimes" (San Pedro Sula, Honduras, September, 2004)

    Direction of Scientific Investigation of the Honduras National Autonomous University, Guest speaker at the Conference: "Human Development, Democratic Governability and Economic Development and Gender Equity" (September, 2004)

    Honduran Medical Association and Central American Federation of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Association, Speaker at: "II Central American Seminar on Sexual Violence and Gender" (June, 2004)

    Foreign Affairs Ministry of Mexico: "Regional Forum for Reflection on the Millennium Goals and Gender Equity within Plan Puebla – Panamá" (August, 2003)

    Honduran Medical Association, guest speaker at: "National Conference on Sexual and Reproductive Health" (August, 2003)

    Rotary Club Nueva Tegucigalpa, guest speaker "National Women's Policy and Women's Human Rights" (September, 2003)

    Nicaraguan Institute for Women's Affairs, speaker at: "Regional Conference Democracy, Gender Equity and Poverty Reduction" (August, 2002)

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • On 24 June 2005 Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad [mah-MOOD ah-mah-dih-nee-ZHAHD ] was elected as Iran's president. Ahmadinejad swept to the presidential post with a stunning 17,046,441 votes out of a total of 27,536,069 votes cast in the runoff election. His rival and Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani gained only 9,841,346. A few days before the vote, Rafsanjani said that the race was "very close" but he believed he was "slightly ahead" of Ahmadinejad. When he took office in August 2005, Ahmadinejad became the first non-cleric president to lead Iran in 24 years.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born in Garmsar, southeast of Tehran on October 28th, 1956. He is the fourth child of an ironworker who had seven children. Mahmoud and his family migrated to Tehran when he was one-year-old. He received his diploma and was admitted to the University of Science and Technology in the field of civil engineering after he ranked 130th in the nationwide university entrance exams in 1975. He was accepted as an MS student at the same university in 1986 and obtained his doctorate in 1987 in the field of engineering and traffic transportation planning.

    Following the 1979 Islamic revolution, he became a member the ultra-conservative faction of the Office for Strengthening Unity [OSU] Between Universities and Theological Seminaries. The OSU was established by Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, one of Khomeini’s key collaborators, to organise Islamist students against the rapidly growing Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK). It was reported that when the idea of storming the American embassy in Tehran was raised by the OSU, Ahmadinejad suggested storming the Soviet embassy at the same time. Reports from hostages at the American embassy alleged Ahmadinejad was among their captors, but he and other captors have denied the allegations.

    With the start of the Iraq war in 1980, Ahmadinejad rushed to the western fronts to fight against the enemy and voluntarily joined the special forces of the Islamic Revolution's Guards Corps (IRGC) in 1986. He served in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps intelligence and security apparatus. Little reliable biographical information is available about Ahmadinejad during these years.

    He served as governor of Maku and Khoy cities in the northwestern West Azarbaijan province for four years in the 1980s and as an advisor to the governor general of the western province of Kurdestan for two years. While serving as the cultural advisor to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education in 1993, he was appointed governor general of the newly established northwestern province of Ardebil. He was elected as the exemplary governor general for three consecutive years.

    In 1997, the newly-installed, moderate Khatami administration removed Ahmadinejad from his post as Ardebil's governor general. Ahmadinejad returned to Elm-o Sanaat University to teach in 1997 and became a member of the scientific board of the Civil Engineering College of the University of Science and Technology. There, he participated in various scientific, cultural, political and social activities. He also worked with Ansar-i Hizbullah (Followers of the Party of God), the violent Islamic vigilante group.

    In April 2003 Ahmadinejad was appointed mayor of Tehran by the capital's municipal council, which was dominated by the hard-line Islamic Iran Developers Coalition (Etelaf-i Abadgaran-i Iran-i Islami). In some of Ahmadinejad's public statements, he appeared to identify himself as a Developer.

    Ahmadinejad was also a member of the central council of the hard-line Islamic Revolution Devotees' Society (Jamiyat-i Isargaran-i Inqilab-i Islami). The Devotees publicly endorsed another candidate -- Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf -- in 17 June 2005 during the first round of the presidential election. Both the Developers and the Devotees represented the younger generation of Iranians whose political memory, like that of Ahmadinejad, centered around the Revolutionary Guards and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War.

    On 26 April 2005 Ahmadinejad said that, in accord with the decision of the city council, the municipality would install a plaque in memory of the victims of Iraqi chemical warfare. "Major crimes have been perpetrated against the Iranian nation, the youth and the war veterans affected by chemical warfare syndrome. We should support the rights of the victims by installing the plaque of remembrance," Ahmadinejad said. "The big powers possess technology to produce chemical weapons and they used the deadly weapons against Iranian soldiers during the Iraqi-imposed war (1980-1988)."

    According to sources, Ahmadinejad projected himself as a simple man and reportedly lived a very Spartan lifestyle in a simple apartment flat with his family. He is married with two sons and one daughter.

    Source: Global Security, June 2005

  • 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

  • Right Honorable Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prime Minister of Nepal, was born in Nepal's southern Rautahat district on March 6, 1953. He graduated in commerce from Tribhuvan University in 1973 and worked in banking services before joining politics.

    Mr. Nepal joined the communist movement in 1969 as a member of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) under Pushpa Lal Shrestha, founder of the CPN. During his political career, Mr. Nepal spent two years as a political prisoner. In the democratic struggle against the one-party Panchayat System, he remained underground from 1974 to 1989. In 1978, Mr. Nepal became a founding politburo member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist Leninist), which later became CPN (United Marxist Leninist), popularly called UML in Nepal.

    He played an active role during the first People’s Movement and he was one of the members of the commission that drafted the Nepalese constitution in 1990. In 1991 he led the opposition in the National Assembly, the upper house of the Nepalese parliament. In 1995 he became Deputy Prime Minister with foreign and defense ministries under his portfolio in the Nepalese government led by Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari.

    Since 1995 he has remained one of the main leaders in Nepalese politics, including his role as the leader of the Nepalese opposition in the House of Representatives from 1999 to 2002. With other democratic parties, he played an active role in leading the People’s Movement in 2006 that overpowered absolute monarchy and contributed to the signing of peace agreements with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), beginning a peace process to end the deadly internal conflict that had entrenched the country for over a decade, killing over 13,000 people.

    Mr. Nepal was the General Secretary of the CPN (UML) until he resigned in April 2008 after remaining in that position for over a decade. In 2009 Mr. Nepal became a member of the Constituent Assembly and was elected chairman of Constitutional Committee of the Constituent Assembly that is entrusted to draft Nepal’s new constitution. He became Prime Minister of Nepal on May 25, 2009.

    Apart from Nepali and English, Mr. Nepal also speaks Hindi and regional dialects of Maithali and Bhojpuri. He is married to Ms. Gayatri Nepal. They have a daughter and a son.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2018

  • Upon graduation, for more than 30 years, he has been professor, researcher, and academic manager at the University of Costa Rica and the National University in Costa Rica. Also, he has been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Michigan and Florida in the United States.

    President Solís’ contribution to public service has been based around the principles of peace, democracy, and sovereignty as pillars of the State. While serving to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he embraced this belief by cooperating with the negotiation and formulation of the peace plan in Central America (1986-1990) and becoming ambassador in Central American affairs and Director of Foreign Policy (1994-1998).

    Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera is the 47th President of the Republic of Costa Rica.

    Raised by a small-scale shoe manufacturer and the founder of the School of Education at the University of Costa Rica, his story embodies the values of the Costa Rican identity: hard work, education, environment preservation, and respect for peace, multiethnicity, pluriculturalism, and sovereignty.

    In his early years, he lived in the east side of the capital city where he went to primary and high-school. He studied History at the University of Costa Rica and with the help of a scholarship, he attended Tulane University in the United States where he obtained a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies

    Throughout his career he has worked in the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), the Ibero-American General Secretariat, and the Foreign Service for Peace and Democracy Foundation. His worked has allowed him to publish more than 10 books and thousands of articles in journals.

    After historically receiving more than 1.300.000 votes, he was elected the 47th President of the Republic of Costa Rica, swearing to guide his country towards development, inclusion, and social justice.

    He is a proud father of six children and partner of Mercedes Peña Domingo.

    Source: Biography provided by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Costa Rica to the United Nations.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2017 

  • Luis Alberto Moreno was elected president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) during a special meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors at IDB headquarters in Washington, D.C. on July 27, 2005 and took office on October 1, 2005.

    Previous to joining the IDB, Moreno served as Colombia’s Ambassador to the United States for seven years. Ambassador Moreno oversaw a dramatic improvement in Colombian-U.S. relations during his tenure in Washington. His most notable achievement was the successful effort to build strong bipartisan support in the United States Congress for passage of more than US$4 billion in U.S. assistance programs for Colombia.


    Prior to his post as Ambassador, Moreno served a distinguished career in both the public and private sectors in Colombia. Immediately prior to his appointment in Washington, he served as representative for the Andean Region of WestSphere Capital, a private equity firm focusing on investment opportunities in Latin America, from August 1997 to July 1998. Previously, he served as senior advisor to the Luis Carlos Sarmiento Organization, the leading banking and financial group in Colombia with over US$10 billion in assets, from November 1994 to August 1997.

    From 1991 to 1994, during the administration of President César Gaviria, Moreno worked in the Colombian Government in a variety of leadership positions. From December 1991 to July 1992, Moreno was the President of the Instituto de Fomento Industrial (IFI), the Colombian government’s industrial finance corporation, and a holding company for many of the largest state enterprises in the country. In July 1992, he was named Minister of Economic Development. During his tenure, he modernized the Ministry and its subordinated agencies, and led the design and implementation of Colombia’s industrial policy and competitiveness strategy.

    Previously, Moreno was Executive Producer of “TV Hoy”, an award-winning news program, from January 1982 to September 1990. For his distinguished work in the field of journalism, he was awarded a Neiman Fellowship by Harvard University to undertake studies at that institution from September 1990 to June 1991.

    Moreno has been invited on numerous occasions to write op-eds and articles on Colombian and international politics and economics for some of the most prestigious publications in Colombia and the United States. His writings have appeared in such newspapers as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Miami Herald and El Tiempo , and in such magazines as Foreign Affairs en Español and Semana.

    Moreno obtained bachelor's degrees in Business Administration and Economics from Florida Atlantic University in 1975, and an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management at Thunderbird University in 1977.

  • Luis Alberto Arce Catacora is a Bolivian politician and economist. He has been the Minister of Economic Affairs and Public Finance of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. He serving as President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia since he won the elections on October 18th 2020.

    He implemented the program of external financing negotiations of the President-elect of the Plurinational State of Bolivia. He has lectured at numerous European, American and Latin American universities, including Georgetown University, the American University, Pittsburgh University, Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the University of Buenos Aires, among others

    He is the author of a number of books and articles, most recently El Modelo Económico Social Comunitario Productivo Boliviano, and has vast experience in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching at public and private universities in the Plurinational State of Bolivia.

    After recovering the democracy from the de facto government, during his first 5 months of government President Arce also recovered the economy growth from --11% to 4.4% ratified by multilateral international organizations such as the World Bank, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the International Monetary Fund, which projected the growth for Bolivia in 4.7%, 5.1% and 5.5%, respectively, placing Bolivia among the 10 Latin American economies that are going to grow the most.

    Luis Alberto Arce Catacora has a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom) and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (Plurinational State of Bolivia). He was awarded the “Palmas Académicas Universidad Obrera” distinction in the gold category by the Universidad Nacional del siglo XX (Potosí) and honored as an “Outstanding Teacher” by the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. He has a honorary doctorates from Los Andes University and Franz Tamayo University.

    Source: Office of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, September 2021

  • Born on July 12, 1967.

    Married to Mrs. Raquel Arbaje and father of three daughters, Esther Patricia,
    Graciela Lucía and Adriana Margarita.

    Luis Abinader is the son of businessman and political leader José Rafael Abinader W.
    and Mrs. Rosa Sula Corona C.

    He studied high school at Loyola Catholic School and later obtained a degree in
    Economics from the Santo Domingo Technological Institute (INTEC). He then went
    on to pursue postgraduate studies in the field of Project Management at the Arthur D.
    Little Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Corporate Finance and Financial
    Engineering at Harvard University, as well as Advanced Management at Dartmouth
    College in New Hampshire.

    At its 2005 National Convention, he was elected Vice President of the Dominican
    Revolutionary Party (PRD) and later, with a group of renowned leaders, founded the
    Modern Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRM).

    In the business field, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the ABICOR Group,
    which has developed and operated important tourism projects in the country. This
    family-owned Group has led the business project of what is now Cementos Santo
    Domingo, of which he is vice president, generating thousands of jobs in the
    Dominican Republic.

    He has been president of the Association of Hotels of Sosúa and Cabarete and is also a
    member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Hotels and
    Restaurants (ASONAHORES).

    He is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the O&M University Foundation.
    He has received notable recognitions and awards in the United States of America,
    namely by the State Congress of Rhode Island, for his trajectory in the public,
    academic and business fields as well as from the City of Boston Mayor's Office and
    the Massachusetts State Senate for his contributions to higher education, civic
    engagement, and community service.

    In the 2012 Presidential elections, he ran for the Vice Presidency of the Republic for
    the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD).

    On April 26 2015, with more than 70% of the votes, Luis Abinader was elected as the
    Presidential Nominee for the newly founded PRM for the presidential elections to be
    held in 2016.

    Ahead of the May 2016 elections, he strived to achieve a dignified Presidential project
    that would unify the entire opposition and reestablish institutionality and democracy
    in the Dominican Republic.

    Despite participating in very adverse conditions, with a party that barely had a year
    and a half of existence and competing with a President-candidate who had endless
    Government resources in his favor, Abinader obtained more than 35% of the votes in
    the elections, positioning the PRM as the second political force in the Dominican

    Again, in 2019, he obtained his Party’s nomination as the Presidential Candidate, and
    on 5 July 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, became the President Elect
    of the Dominican Republic with more than 50 per cent of the votes.

    On August 16, 2020, he was sworn in as President of the Dominican Republic for the
    period 2020-2024. His first year in office has had notable achievements such as the
    promotion of an independent judicial system, an efficient vaccination program
    prioritizing the health of the people, the post-pandemic economic recovery, the
    national housing plan, as well as the promotion of 12 reforms to face the historical
    challenges of Dominican society.

    Source: The Permanent Mission of the Dominican Republic to the United Nations, September 2022

  • Louis B. Susman was sworn in as the United States Ambassador to the Court of St. James’s on July 29, 2009 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  He took up his duties in London on August 17, 2009 and retired on April 3, 2013.

    A banker and a lawyer with extensive experience, Ambassador Susman was the Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking.  He is also a former member of the Citigroup International Advisory Board.  Prior to joining Salomon Brothers, Inc. in June 1989, Mr. Susman practiced law in the City of St. Louis for 27 years and was a senior partner at the St. Louis‑based law firm of Thompson & Mitchell.

    Ambassador Susman is presently the Non-Executive Chairman of Edelman, Special Advisor to BDT Capital Partners and Special Advisor to Henry Crown & Co.  In addition, Ambassador Susman is a member of the Board of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and a member of the Board of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

    His practice focused on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law, and as part of his practice, he was a member of the Board of Directors and Management Committee of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1975 to 1989.  In that capacity, under his direction, the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 1982 and the National League Championships in 1985 and 1987.

    Ambassador Susman has long been active in the public sector.  In 1988 he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U. S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which provided oversight to the U. S. Information Agency.  He was a Director of the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C., a nonpartisan organization that examines national public policy issues.  Mr. Susman is also a member of the Chairman’s Circle of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and a member of the Board of The Art Institute of Chicago and The Northwestern Children’s Memorial Hospital and a member of the International Council of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University in St. Louis.  He has previously served on many public and private corporation boards.

    Ambassador Susman has been active in the political arena in the U.S. for many years.  He was a Senior Advisor to President Obama’s Campaign and was the National Finance Chairman for Senator Kerry’s Presidential Campaign in 2004.

    Ambassador Susman received his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1959 and his LL.B. from Washington University in 1962 where he was elected to Phi Delta Phi.  In addition, he received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, Connecticut College, 2012, he has received T.S. Eliot Alumni of the Year Award at Washington University in St. Louis.  He is married to the former Marjorie Sachs.  They have two children and three grandchildren.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2013

  • Lionel McIntyre is currently the Nancy and George Rupp Associate Professor in the Practice of Community Development and the director of the Urban Technical Assistance Project at Columbia University. Professor McIntyre received his BA from Dillard University in 1987 and his MS in Urban Planning from Columbia in 1988.

    Lionel McIntyre was an honorary fellow at the Municipal Arts Society from1989 to 1990. He also held the position of director of the Graduate Program in Urban Planning at Columbia University from 1993 to 1999. Currently, Professor McIntyre teaches courses in community development.

    From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, Professor McIntyre worked in civil rights and labor organizing in the Deep South. His international experience began with travel abroad in 1972 as co-liaison for the first "People to People Friendship Delegation" to the People's Republic of China and conducted a subsequent study tour in 1979. Other experiences in the international community have included planning studios in Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and South Africa. He also served as director of planning for the Harlem Urban Development Corporation from 1989 to 1994 and advisor to the President of Columbia University on community development and the Empowerment Zone. He created the organizational structure for the preparation of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (EZ) application and co-authored the strategic plan for Harlem's EZ.

    Professor McIntyre's present efforts are focused on the development of the Urban Technical Assistance Project as an urban extension center, providing urban planning and design services to communities through the application of advanced technologies and urban expertise.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2008

  • On November 2nd, 2010, with the help of a diverse community of supporters, Lincoln Chafee was elected the 74th Governor of Rhode Island. He faced the state’s worst financial crisis in decades, forcing him to make tough choices that few have had to confront. Because of Governor Chafee’s principled leadership and his investments in education and workforce revitalization, Rhode Island is on the path to recovery. Consistent with the values of Rhode Island’s civil society, Governor Chafee has signed marriage equality into law, spearheaded health care reform and launched green infrastructure initiatives – critical ingredients of his long-term vision for a thriving Rhode Island. 

    This year, Governor Chafee became a Democrat, after concluding that his longtime commitment to the hard-working people of Rhode Island was most aligned with that of President Obama and Democratic Governors across the country. As a United States Senator, Governor Chafee fought passionately for a middle-class economic agenda and environmental causes, such as protecting our air and water and addressing climate change pollutants. An advocate of responsible global leadership, he also had the foresight to vote against the war in Iraq. Following his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Governor Chafee spent two years as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, where he wrote Against the Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President. In his memoir, Governor Chafee described his opposition to Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and gave voice to a progressive vision for the future of the nation.    

    Governor Chafee is a proud Rhode Islander, born and bred in Warwick. He graduated with a degree in Classics from Brown University, where he received the Francis M. Driscoll Award for leadership, scholarship and athletics. After graduating, he worked for seven years as a blacksmith at harness racetracks throughout the United States and Canada. Inspired by a commitment to public service and the path of his father John Chafee, Governor Chafee entered politics as an elected delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention, and subsequently served four years on the Warwick City Council, was elected to four terms as Mayor of Warwick and served seven years as a U.S. Senator.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2014

  • 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, August 2019

  • Dr. Leonel Fernández was re-elected on May 16, 2008, to his third (non-consecutive) term as constitutional president of the Dominican Republic (his previous terms were from 1996-2000 and 2004-2008).

    President Fernández is founder and honorary president of the Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (Foundation for Global Democracy and Development), a private, non-partisan, non-profit, research-based think-tank with headquarters in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; offices in New York City, Washington, DC, and Madrid, Spain; and representatives in Paris, France and Geneva, Switzerland, before United Nations organizations including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  He is also president emeritus of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic and president of the Dominican Liberation Party.

    President Fernández is a member of various foreign councils and institutions, includingCirculo de Montevideo (Circle of Montevideo) (1996), The Carter Center Council of Freely Elected Government Heads (1997), Inter-American Dialogue (2001), Club of Madrid (2001); and presides over the U.S.-Caribbean Executive Club, organized and sponsored by the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, D.C. (2000).           

    President Fernández has been awarded honoris causa degrees by various renowned institutions of higher learning, including Harvard University (1999), Sorbonne University (1999), Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña (National University Pedro Henriquez Ureña) (2000), Seton Hall University (2000), Lehman College (2002) Universidad Estatal de Santiago de Chile (State University of Santiagio, Chile) (2002), Stevens Institute of Technology (2004), Nova Southeastern University (2005), University of Massachusetts (2005), Universidad Estatal de Panamá (State University of Panama) (2005), China's Cultural University in Taiwan (2006), and Hankuk University, South Korea (2006).           

    President Fernández was born on December 26, 1953, in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to José Antonio Fernández and Yolanda Reyna Romero. He is married to Dr. Margarita Cedeño, and has three children, Nicole, Omar, and Yolanda America. In 1962, he migrated to New York City where he completed his secondary schooling. Upon return to the Dominican Republic he enrolled at Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD) (Autonomous University of Santo Domingo) where he obtained his juris doctor degree with honors (magna cum laude) in 1978, receiving the J. Humberto Ducoudray award for being the top student in his class.      

    After serving as professor at UASD and Facultad Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences), President Fernández distinguished himself and his writing on the freedom of the press, history, sociology, communication, and foreign relations. He has been recognized as one of the most prestigious and brilliant academics of his generation. His published works include: Los Estados Unidos en el Caribe: De la Guerra Fría al Plan Reagan (United States in the Caribbean: From the Cold War to the Reagan Plan), Raíces de un Poder Usurpado (Roots of an Usurped Power) and Nuevo Paradigma (New Paradigm).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  •  Leif Pagrotsky first had a distinguished career in the Riksbank, the OECD and the Ministry of Finance, focussing on economic policy and financial and tax policy affairs. He served as Director for Fiscal and Financial Affairs until 1987 when he was appointed Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister. He was Assistant Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Finance 1990-91 and then Under Secretary of State for Financial Affairs.

    He served as a Cabinet Minister for ten years, 1996-2006, in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Goran Persson. As Minister of Trade, and of Trade and Industry, for almost eight years 1997-2004 he he became an active and high profile champion of free trade, in EU and globally in WTO. As President of the Council of Ministers in 2001 he pushed trough the decision to abolish all tariffs and quotas for all imports into EU from the world’s 49 poorest nations, the Everything But Arms initiative. He also served as Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs 1999-2002. Among other responsibilities he was in charge of Energy Policy, State owned enterprises, and bilateral relations with Russia, Poland and the Baltic states. In 2004-2006 he was Minister for Education, Research and Culture.

    Since 2006 Mr Pagrotsky has been a Member of Parliament, representing his native city Gothenburg. He has served as Vice Chairman of the Council of the Riksbank 2006-2011 and is a member of the Executive Board of the Social Democratic Party.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2011

  • 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.

  • Lawrence N. Shulman, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer, Senior Vice-President for Medical Affairs, and Chief, Division of General Oncology, Department of Medical Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He focuses his efforts on the clinical services for both adult and pediatric care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and its partners, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Children’s Hospital.

    Dr. Shulman has served as one of the component leaders through the DFCI strategic planning initiative. He is Director of Network Development for Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, and oversees DFCI ambulatory oncology units at several regional sites. He is also physician leader for the development of clinical information systems for DFCI. He is Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Quality of Care Committee and a member of ASCO’s Electronic Health Record Workgroup. He is also a member of the ASCO Workgroup on Provider/Payer Initiatives.  He is a member of the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons, and Vice-Chair of their Quality Integration Committee. A specialist in the treatment of patients with breast cancer, his research includes development of new cancer therapies.

    He works closely with Partners In Health, where he is Senior Advisor in Oncology, helping to lead the development of a structured cancer program for their resource-limited healthcare sites in Rwanda, Malawi and Haiti.   He is co-chair, together with Dr. Julio Frenk, Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, of the Global Task Force on Expanding Access to Cancer Care and Control in the Developing World, a Harvard-based, international task force committed to the improvement of cancer care worldwide.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Lawrence J. Mone has been president of the Manhattan Institute, one of the nation’s most influential public policy think tanks, since 1995. He joined the institute in 1982, serving as a public policy specialist, program director, and vice president, before being named the institute’s fourth president.

    A summa cum laude graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, Mone taught high school history in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for several years before earning a master’s degree in public policy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982.

    Under his leadership the Manhattan Institute has sponsored and disseminated research on such topics as tax and economic policy, education, welfare reform, and crime. The institute has expanded its work with civic leaders in New York and across the country to promote free-market solutions to urban policy problems. And it has broadened its focus on the American justice system, examining issues like employment law and class action suits.

    In recent years the institute has played a vital role in the debate over issues such as health care and energy. The institute is currently putting forth insightful market-oriented analysis of the financial crisis and proposing pragmatic economic ideas through a variety of national publications as well as the Empire Center for New York State Policy’s Web site, NYFiscalWatch.com, and a sponsored section on RealClearMarkets.com.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Born on August 14, 1972 in Port-au-Prince, Laurent Salvador Lamothe is the son of well-known artist-painter Ghislaine Fortuney Lamothe and distinguished intellectual and Spanish literature authority, Louis G. Lamothe, He demonstrated exceptional aptitude for both tennis and academics from a very early age. At twelve, he was already classed among the best hopes of the country he would proudly represent a decade later at the Davis Cup competitions of 1994-95.

    At nineteen, Lamothe left his native Port-au-Prince to take up studies at Barry University in Miami, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in political science. Subsequently admitted to Saint Thomas University in 1996, he completed a brilliant academic career earning a master’s degree, with honorable mention, in business management.  In 1998, at just twenty-six, he co-founded the company Global Voice Group with his partner Patrice Baker. The entrepreneurial spirit and dynamism he showed over the course of the subsequent decade led, in May 2008, to his being named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the firm Ernst and Young. 

    Having himself grown up in a country overwhelmed by poverty and a lack of natural resources at all levels, the Haitian businessman developed, over the course of his life, a profound sense of social responsibility and a desire to lend assistance to the less fortunate. It was from this perspective that he became involved in the presidential electoral campaign of his longtime friend Michel Joseph Martelly in the spring of 2011. As special advisor to the President of Haiti, Lamothe advised principally on matters of investment and socio-economic development. With former US President William J. Clinton, he co-chaired the Presidential Advisory Council for the Economic Development and Investment of Haiti.

    Less than five months following his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship, Lamothe was designated Prime Minister of Haiti by President Michel Martelly.  On May 14, 2012, he became the youngest Prime Minister in Haitian history.  Presently, Lamothe wears two hats: he serves as Prime Minister and Minister of Planification and External Cooperation. He is the father of two daughters, Linka and Lara.

    Source: Information provided by the Office of the Prime Minister, 


  • Lance Armstrong, founder and chairman of LIVESTRONG (the Lance Armstrong Foundation), is a leading voice for cancer patients and survivors around the globe.  He has used his visibility to inspire and empower people affected by cancer and to advocate on their behalf before global health institutions and world leaders.

    Lance was a world champion cyclist and only 25 years old in the fall of 1996 when he was diagnosed with late-stage testicular cancer that had spread to his abdomen, lungs and brain.  Long before his prognosis improved, and during four rounds of chemotherapy and two surgeries, Lance established the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Austin, Texas that fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer. 

    The Foundation is now known by its powerful brand, LIVESTRONG, which is emblazoned on
    yellow wristbands bought and worn by more than 82 million people worldwide to symbolize unity and hope in the fight against cancer. 

    Since defeating cancer, Lance has become the only cyclist ever to win the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times.  Lance has also served on the President's Cancer Panel, an advisory group that reports directly to the U.S. President about Americans and cancer, for two consecutive terms.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Ms. Yang is a leading television anchor in China. She was also the co-founder of Sun Media Investment Holdings Ltd, one of China’s most prominent private media groups. The business covers television production, newspaper and magazines, as well as on-line publishing.

    In 2005, she founded Sun Culture Foundation with a mission to promote the relief of poverty, advancement of education, and understandings across civilizations.

    Ms. Yang received her bachelor degree in English Language & Literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University and acquired her master degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, USA.  She won national fame in 1990 by hosting “Zheng Da Variety Show” on CCTV. Her renowned programme Yang Lan One On One is popular with Chinese audience across the world. Her lately launched talk show “Her Village”, targeting at the rising urban woman population, has opened new horizon.

    In 1999 and 2001, Ms. Yang was named by Asiaweek magazine as one of the “Leaders in Society and Culture in Asia” and one of the “Movers and Shapers of the 21st Century China” respectively.  Ms. Yang also received the “Chinese Women of the Year” award in 2001 and “Top Ten Woman Entrepreneurs” award in 2002.

    In 2001, Ms. Yang served as a Goodwill Ambassador for Beijing’s bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games and as one of the speakers in the final presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Moscow, where Beijing won the bidding. She actively serves as goodwill ambassador on several national charity foundations, promoting environmental protection, education and blood donation.

    Since March 2003, Ms. Yang has been serving as a member of the 10th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

    Since 2005, Ms.Yang Lan has been serving as a member for the Columbia University International Advisory Council (IAC).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Kyriakos Mitsotakis was sworn in as Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic on July 8th, 2019, and re-elected in June 2023.

    President of Nea Demokratia since January 2016, he managed to modernize his party, renew and boost its membership base, create a system of funding based on small annual donations by the members and put in place a code of transparency and accountability in the operations of the party.

    He led his party to a landslide victory three years later, campaigning on a platform for jobs, strong growth, and lower taxes. Nea Demokratia was the first party to win an absolute majority in the Greek Parliament since 2009.

    As Minister of Administrative Reform and e-Government from June 2013 until January 2015, he spearheaded comprehensive national reforms by implementing a functional reorganization of institutions, structures, and processes.

    A member of the Parliament since 2004, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has participated in the Committee for Constitutional Amendment, the Committee for Trade, and the Committee for National Defense. He was also an active member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. 

    As Chairman of the Environment Committee between 2007-2009, he passionately pursued issues pertaining to climate change and advocated for the need for environmentally sustainable growth. Since then, he was the shadow minister for the environment and climate change for Nea Demokratia until 2012.

    Before entering politics, he worked for ten years in the private sector as a financial analyst with Chase Investment Bank, a consultant with McKinsey and Company, and finally as CEO of NBG Venture Capital at the National Bank of Greece.

    He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Social Studies, summa cum laude, from Harvard University, and earned an MA in International Relations from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. 

    Kyriakos Mitsotakis is married to Mareva Grabowski and they have three children, Sofia, Constantinos, and Dafni.

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, November 2023

  • Kristiina Ojuland was the Ambassador and Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the Council of Europe from 1992 to 1994. Following her term as Ambassador, Ojuland served a four-year term as the Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, until 2002. Additionally, she was the President of the Liberals, Democrats, and Reformers Group (LDR) from 1999 to 2002, and the Vice President of the European Liberal Democratic Reform Party.

    Prior to working in the political world, the Minister had been engaged in scholarly activities at top universities throughout Europe, including University of Tartu (Law), Estonian School of Diplomacy in Tallinn, the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva, and the University of Tartu in the master’s degree program of Political Science.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović was elected President of the Republic of Croatia on 11 January 2015. She was born 29 April 1968 in Rijeka, where she attended primary school. She completed secondary school in Los Alamos, New Mexico, United States of America.

    In 1993, she obtained a degree in English and Spanish from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb, and in addition completed further education in Portuguese. In 1994, she completed the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna and in 2000 obtained her Master's degree in International Relations from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Zagreb. From 2002 to 2003, she was a Fulbright scholar on pre-doctoral research in international relations and security policy at the George Washington University, United States of America. At the time she was awarded the President’s Medal for scientific, social and political work. She was also a Lukšić Fellow in Senior Managers in Government Executive Program at the J.F.K. School of Government at Harvard in 2009.

    Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović began her career in 1992 in the Ministry of Science and Technology and in 1993 moved on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she held various positions – in 1995 she was Head of Department for North America, in 1997 she worked as Counsellor in the Croatian Embassy in Canada, later as Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission.

    From 2001 to 2003, she was Minister Counsellor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in November 2003 was elected Member of Parliament in the 7th electoral district. The same year, she was sworn in as Minister of European Integration, and in 2005 as Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, office she held until 2008. The major objective of her term was to lead Croatia on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration and she was Head of the State Delegation for Negotiations on the Accession of the Republic of Croatia to the European Union.

    In 2008, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović became Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America. In 2011, she was appointed NATO Assistant Secretary-General for Public Diplomacy, position she held until 2014, as the first woman Assistant Secretary-General ever in the history of NATO and the highest ranking woman in NATO.

    She is married and mother of two. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese and has some command of Italian, French and German.

    Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations, October 2015

  • 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, August 2018

  • Klaus Werner Iohannis is the President of Romania since 2014.

    He was re-elected on November 24, 2019.

    Prior to holding the highest dignity in the Romanian state, Klaus Werner Iohannis led the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania.

    For 14 years he served as Mayor of Sibiu, city that has been designated the European Capital of Culture in 2007.


    Personal Information

    Date and place of birth: 13 June 1959, Sibiu, Romania
    Marital Status: Married

    December 2014 — Elected President of Romania
    2000 - December 2014 — Mayor of the Municipality of Sibiu
    1999 - 2000 — General Inspector, Sibiu County School Inspectorate
    1997 - 1999 — Deputy General Inspector, Sibiu County School Inspectorate
    1983 - 1997 — Physics teacher, Sibiu

    Political career

    2014 – President of the National Liberal Party
    2013 – First Vice-President of the National Liberal Party
    2002 - 2013 – President of the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania


    1979-1983 – Faculty of Physics, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

    International and National Awards

    2023 - German Civic Award, conferred by the Bad Harzburg Civic Foundation
    2023 - Franz Werfel Award for Human Rights, granted by the Center against Expulsions in Bonn, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2020 – European Charles IV Prize of the Sudeten German Homeland Association, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2020/2021 – Charlemagne Prize, awarded by the City of Aachen, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2020 – The Emperor Otto Prize, awarded by the City of Magdeburg, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2020 – European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi, European Society Coudenhove-Kalergi
    2019 – Medal of Honour (Goldene Ehrennadel), the Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania, Sibiu
    2018 – Franz Josef Strauss award, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2017 – Light Unto the Nations award, American Jewish Committee, Washington, D.C., United States of America
    2017 – Semper Opera Ball Dresden Medal of St. George, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2016 – Hermann Ehlers award, Hermann Ehlers Foundation, Kiel, the Federal Republic of Germany
    2016 – Martin Buber-Plaque, EURIADE Foundation, Kerkrade, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
    2010 – Friend of the Jewish Communities in Romania Medal of Honor, Sibiu, Romania
    2010 – The German Expatriates Association Plaque of Honor

    State honorary distinctions

    2022 - Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania
    2022 - Order of the Three Stars – Commander Grand Cross (1st class) – Republic of Latvia
    2022 – Grand Collar of the State of Palestine
    2021 – Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana of the Republic of Estonia
    2019 – Emblem of Honour of Romanian Army
    2017 – Grand Order of King Tomislav with Sash and Grand Star of the Republic of Croatia
    2016 – Order (First Class) of the White Double Cross of the Slovak Republic
    2016 – Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of the French Republic
    2016 – Order of the White Eagle of the Republic of Poland
    2016 – Grand Cross (Special Class) of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
    2016 – Order Stara Planina with Ribbon of the Republic of Bulgaria
    2016 – Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
    2016 – Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    2016 – Collar (First Class) of the Order of Vytautas the Great, the Republic of Lithuania
    2016 – Order of the Holy Sepulchre of the Patriarchate of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Palestine and Israel
    2016 – Order of the Republic of Moldova
    2015 – Grand Collar of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique of the Portuguese Republic
    2014 – Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
    2011 – Knight of the National Order for Merit of Romania
    2009 – Officer of the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium
    2009 – Grand Cross Order of Merit, the Republic of Austria
    2009 – Officer of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
    2008 – Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity of the Italian Republic
    2007 – Knight of the National Order of the Star of Romania
    2006 – Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany


    EU.RO - Europe, an Open Dialogue (EU.RO - Un dialog deschis despre Europa), Curtea Veche Publishing, 2019
    The First Step (Primul pas), Curtea Veche Publishing, 2015
    Step by step (Pas cu pas), Curtea Veche Publishing, 2014

    Foreign Languages spoken fluently

    German and English

    Source: Permanent Mission of Romania to the United Nations, August 2023.

  • Klaus Welle has been Secretary-General of the European Parliament, a key administrative post in the European Union political system in Brussels, since 2009. He previously served as chief of staff to the President of the European Parliament, as Director-General for EU Internal Policies in the Parliament's administration, and as Secretary-General successively of the (center-right) European People's Party (EPP) transnational political party and of the EPP political group in the European Parliament. Mr. Welle started his career as a banker and then became head of European and foreign policy at the headquarters of the CDU party in Germany, working closely with then Chancellor Helmut Kohl. He is also a visiting professor in European politics at KU Leuven University in Belgium.

    Source: The Office of the Secretary-General of the European Parliament, October 2022

  • Kiro Gligorov was the first President of the Republic of Macedonia, serving from January 27, 1991 to November 19, 1999.

    Born on May 3, 1917 in Štip, Macedonia, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, he attended the University of Belgrade's Law School, but after the fall of royalist Yugoslavia in 1941, he returned to Macedonia, then annexed by Bulgaria, where he worked as a lawyer until 1943. In 1942, he was accused, and consequently arrested by the Bulgarian police for being a pro-Serbian communist. Afterwards he participated in the National Liberation War of Macedonia and served as Finance Minister of Yugoslavia from 1962 to 1967.

    He held various high positions in the political establishment of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including as Secretary of State for Finance in the Federal Executive Council, a member of the Yugoslav Presidency, as well as President of the Assembly of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from May 15, 1974 to May 15, 1978.

    At the onset of the crises of Yugoslavia (1989 – 1990), he entered the political life of Macedonia, and led the Republic through a peaceful and legitimate break up from Yugoslavia by way of a general referendum on September 8, 1991.  He is credited for keeping the Republic of Macedonia out of the war in the former Yugoslavia.

    Gligorov became the first democratically elected president of the Republic of Macedonia and served for two terms. During his presidency, he promoted multi-party elections and market economy and was instrumental in helping Macedonia fulfill its century’s old ideal for attaining an equal place in the international family of nations. On April 13, 1993, the Republic of Macedonia became a member of the Organization of the United Nations.

    Source: The Macedonian Arts Council, June 2020

  • Kimberlé Crenshaw is the cofounder and Executive Director of the African American Policy Forum, host of the podcast Intersectionality Matters!, moderator of the webinar series Under The Blacklight, and Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School. She is popularly known for her development of “intersectionality,” “Critical Race Theory,” and the #SayHerName campaign. Crenshaw is a leading authority on Civil Rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism and the law. She is the most cited female legal scholar in the history of the law, and was named one of the ten most important thinkers in the world by Prospect Magazine in 2019.

    Source: Columbia Law School, September 2020

  • Kim Campbell served as Canada’s nineteenth and first female Prime Minister in 1993.  She previously held cabinet portfolios as Minister of State for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, and Minister of National Defence and  Minister of Veterans’ Affairs. She was the first woman to hold the Justice and Defence portfolios, and the first woman to be Defence Minister of a NATO country. Ms. Campbell participated in major international meetings including the Commonwealth, NATO, the G-7 Summit and the United Nations General Assembly.

    After her tenure as Prime Minister, Campbell was a Fellow at the Institute of Politics (Spring 1994) and the Joan Shorenstein Center for the Study of Press and Politics (1994-1995) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. She served as the Canadian Consul-General in Los Angeles from 1996-2000. In 2001 Ms. Campbell became a Fellow at the new Center for Public Leadership at the Kennedy School and then was invited to join the faculty as a lecturer. In January, 2004 Kim Campbell was appointed as Secretary General of the Club of Madrid, an organization of former heads of government and state who work to promote democratization through peer relations with leaders of transitional democracies.  The Club of Madrid was incorporated in Madrid in May of 2002, and Ms. Campbell is a founding member and also served as its Acting President in 2002 and Vice President 2003. Ms. Campbell continues her long-standing relationship with Harvard University as an Honorary Fellow of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    Kim Campbell served as Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders (CWWL) from 1999-2003.  The Council’s membership consists of women who hold or have held the office of President or Prime Minister in their own country. From Oct. 2003 – Oct. 2005, Ms. Campbell served as President of the International Women's Forum, a global organization of women of significant and diverse achievement.

    Ms. Campbell is a Senior Fellow of The Gorbachev Foundation of North America, a member of the International Council of the Asia Society of New York and serves on advisory boards of numerous other international organizations such as the Global Security Institute (GSI), the Middle Powers Initiative (MPI),and the Forum of Federations.  She is also a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, (the West Coast affiliate of the Council on Foreign Relations).  She is a Trustee of the Crisis Group, a member of the Board of the International Center for Democratic Transition (ICDT) established in Budapest. Ms. Campbell ´s service as a corporate director includes experience in the high tech, bio-tech and medical devices industries.

    Kim Campbell was educated at the University of British Columbia (BA, 1969, LLB, 1983) and the London School of Economics (Doctoral studies in Soviet Government, ABD, 1970-73) where she’s an Honorary Fellow.  She holds seven honorary doctorates.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Mr. Rudd served as Australia’s 26th Prime Minister (2007-2010, 2013) and as Foreign Minister (2010- 2012). He led Australia’s response during the Global Financial Crisis, reviewed by the IMF as the most effective stimulus strategy of all member states. Australia was the only major developed economy not to go into recession. Mr. Rudd helped found the G20 to drive the global response to the crisis, and which in 2009 helped prevent the crisis from spiraling into depression.

    As Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Mr. Rudd was active in global and regional foreign policy leadership. He was a driving force in expanding the East Asia Summit to include both the US and Russia in 2010, and initiated the concept of transforming the EAS into a wider Asia Pacific Community. On climate change, Mr. Rudd ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2007 and legislated in 2008 for a 20% mandatory renewable energy target for Australia. He represented Australia at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit which produced the Copenhagen Accord, for the first time committing states to not allow temperature increases beyond two degrees. He was appointed a member of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Global Sustainability and is a co-author of the of the report "Resilient People, Resilient Planet" for the 2012 Rio+20 Conference.  Mr. Rudd drove Australia’s successful bid for its non-permanent seat on the United Nation’s Security Council for 2012-14. His government also saw the near doubling of Australia's foreign aid budget to approximately $5 Billion, making Australia then one of the top ten aid donors in the world. He also appointed Australia's first ever Ambassador for Women and Girls to support the critical role of women in development and reduce physical and sexual violence against women.

    Domestically, Mr. Rudd delivered Australia's formal national apology to Indigenous Australians. In education, his government introduced Australia's first ever nation-wide school curriculum, undertook the biggest-ever capital investment program in Australian schools with the building of thousands of new state of the art libraries across the country, as well as introducing the first-ever mandatory national assessment system of literacy and numeracy standards. In health, Mr. Rudd in 2010 negotiated with the Australian states a National Health and Hospitals Reform Agreement, the biggest reform and investment in the health system since the introduction of Medicare 30 years before. His government established a national network of leading-edge cancer-care centers across Australia, before introducing the world's first ever plain-packaging regime for all tobacco products. To improve the rate of organ and tissue donation, he established Australia's first National Organ and Tissue Transplant Authority. In 2010, his government introduced Australia's first ever paid parental leave scheme and implemented the biggest increase in, and reform of, the age pension, since federation. He also founded the National Broadband Network to deliver high-speed broadband for every household, business, school, hospital and GP in the country.

    Mr. Rudd joined the Asia Society Policy Institute as its inaugural President in January 2015. ASPI is a "think-do tank" dedicated to using second track diplomacy to assist governments and businesses in resolving policy challenges within Asia, and between Asia and the West. He is also Chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism where he is leading a review of the UN system over the 2015-16 period. Mr. Rudd is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School where in 2014 he completed a major policy paper on "Alternative Futures for US-China Relations." He is a Distinguished Fellow at Chatham House in London, a Distinguished Statesman with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Paulson Institute in Chicago. Mr. Rudd is a member of  the Comprehensive Test Ban Organization's Group of Eminent Persons. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and serves as a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and co-Chairs the World Economic Forum’s China Council.

    Mr. Rudd in his private capacity has established the Australian National Apology Foundation to continue to promote reconciliation and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.  He has also established the Asia Pacific Community Foundation to promote the cause of regional economic, security and environmental collaboration across the region.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources,September 2015

  • 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

    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


  • Vice President and Director, Global Economy and Development, and The Edward M. Bernstein Scholar, The Brookings Institution; Adjunct Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

    Kemal Derviş is currently vice president and director of Global Economy and Development. Until February 2009, he was the Executive Head of the United Nations Development Programme. In 2001-2002, as Minister of Economic Affairs and the Treasury of Turkey, Derviş was responsible for launching Turkey’s successful recovery from a devastating financial crisis. Derviş is a Member of the Board of Overseers of Sabanci University in Istanbul and contributes to the work of that university, particularly on European and Regional issues. He also chairs the International Advisory Board of Akbank.

    Prior to his tenure as Minister of Economic Affairs, Derviş had a 22-year career at the World Bank, where he became Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa in 1996 and Vice President for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in 2000. At the World Bank he also managed work on the transition of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin wall, trade and financial sector.

    Derviş earned his Bachelor and Master’s degrees in economics from the London School of Economics, and his Ph.D. from Princeton University. He taught economics at Princeton and the Middle East Technical Universities before joining the World Bank. He currently co-teaches a graduate course on Global Economic Governance as Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2013

  • Kathy Calvin is President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Nations Foundation. She is a passionate advocate for multi-sector problem-solving, U.S. leadership on global issues, and the inclusion of women at all levels and in all sectors. The UN Foundation, created in 1998 with entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner’s historic $1 billion gift to support UN causes, advocates for the UN and connects people, ideas and resources to help the UN solve global problems.

    Kathy’s career has spanned the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Before joining the UN Foundation as Chief Operating Officer in 2003, she served as President of the AOL Time Warner Foundation. She previously served in senior positions at AOL, Hill and Knowlton, and U.S. News & World Report. From 1976 through 1984 she was Senator Gary Hart’s press secretary.

    Kathy was named one of Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Rock the World” in 2011 and listed in Fast Company’s “League of Extraordinary Women” in 2012. Her innovative work in the philanthropy and international development sectors has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and she has received numerous other awards for philanthropy and leadership.

    She is a graduate of Purdue University.

    Source: International Conference on Sustainable Development, 9/2017

  • Rehnqvist’s skill at writing for musicians of different abilities, and especially young performers, has often been praised: like the best music for young performers, her works make no artistic compromises, and challenge the musicians while recognizing realistic technical limits. Most recently her choral symphony Light of Light, which features children’s choir and symphony orchestra, was singled out for critical acclaim at its world premiere in Paris in 2004, and has enjoyed subsequent performances in the UK and Sweden.

    Karin Rehnqvist has received many prizes for her music: In 1996 the Läkerol Arts Award “for her renewal of the relationship between folk music and art music”. The same year she was awarded the 'Spelmannen' prize by the daily newspaper Expressen, and in 1997 she received the Christ Johnson Prize for Solsången (Sun Song). In 2001 she was awarded the Kurt Atterberg Prize and in 2005/06 the Rosenberg Award. Also in March 2006 Rehnqvist was accorded the honour of a major retrospective by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Over the course of a long weekend a wide range of her music was performed – from the world premiere of her latest orchestral work (Preludes for Large Orchestra) to another world premiere of an open air piece – for brass, singers and market traders. Many of Rehnqvist’s most widely performed works were heard, including Arktisi! Arktis! (performed with visuals), Puksånger-lockrop and Solsången. 2007 Karin Rehnqvist was awarded the Hugo Alfvén Prize.

    Future plans include an opera, commissioned by The Stockholm Royal Opera. It is expected to be premiered during the 2012-2013 season.

    Karin Rehnqvist has 2009 been appointed Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. This makes her the first woman to hold a chair in composition in Sweden.

    Karin Rehnqvist (born 1957) is one of Sweden's best-known and widely performed composers. With regular performances throughout Europe, USA and Scandinavia, her range extends to chamber, orchestral, stage, and vocal music. Above all, she enjoys working with unusual, cross-genre forms and ensembles. One strong characteristic feature of her work is her exploration of the areas between art and folk music. Both elements are integral and never merely used for effect or as a nostalgic element. In particular, Rehnqvist has explored the extraordinary and dramatic vocal technique of Kulning.

    Between 1976 and 1991 Karin Rehnqvist conducted and was the artistic director of the choir Stans Kör. This cemented her special affinity with vocal music and also fired her interest in experimental approaches to concert presentation.

    Between 2000 and 2004 Rehnqvist was Composer in Residence with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Svenska Kammarorkestern in collaboration. For them she composed a series of works including a concerto for young clarinetist, Martin Fröst, and the much performed symphonic work, Arktis Arktis!, inspired by a polar expedition in the summer of 1999. These two works features in Rehnqvist’s latest CD on the BIS label, released to critical acclaim in May 2005.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2012

  • Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. The Center for Earth Ethics bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction and create a society that values the long-term health of the whole. She is also an ex officio member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Ms. Gore’s previous experience includes serving as director of Union Forum at Union Theological Seminary, legal work at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families, and serving as director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC). She has also worked as a writer and is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. Ms. Gore is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary. She lives in New York City with her three children.

    Source: The Office of Karenna Gore, 2/21/20

  • Karen Poniachik is the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | South America based in Santiago, Chile. She was Chile’s Minister of Mining between 2006 and 2008, a time during which she chaired the boards of directors of state-owned companies Codelco, Enap and Enami. From March 2006 to March 2007, she also served as Minister of Energy. Currently, she is a member of the corporate boards of directors of E.CL, British American Tobacco Chile, Terpel-Chile and Maersk Container Industries San Antonio as well as the Chilean-American Chamber of Commerce.

    Ms. Poniachik was Chile’s Special Envoy to the OECD in charge of the country’s accession process to the Organization, which was successfully completed in January of 2010. Previously, she served as Executive Vice-President of Chile’s Foreign Investment Committee (2000-2006); and as Director of Business and Financial Programs at the Council of the Americas in New York (1995-2000).

    Karen Poniachik graduated as a journalist from Universidad Católica de Chile (1987) and holds a Masters degree in International Affairs from Columbia University (1990).


  • Dr. Kamal Kharrazi, the former Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, was confirmed by the Majlis ( Parliament ) on August 20, 1997, as Iran's new Foreign Minister. Dr. Kharrazi has held a number of governmental, diplomatic, and academic posts. He has been Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations since 1989.

    During his tenure as Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, Dr. Kharrazi headed many Iranian delegations at numerous international conferences and held various distinguished international positions including Vice-Presidency of several sessions of the United Nations General Assembly, and the United Nations Summit Conference on Environment and Development at Rio de Janeiro.

    From July 1980 to September 1989 he was President of the Islamic Republic News Agency. In the meantime, he served as a member of the Supreme Defense Council of Iran and the Head of the War Information Headquarters from September 1980 to September 1988. Prior to his service in those posts, he served as Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs from August 1979 to March 1980. From August 1979 to July 1981, Dr. Kharrazi was Managing Director of the Center for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults. He was the Vice President of Iranian National Television from March to August 1979.

    Dr. Kharrazi has also been a Professor of Management and Educational Psychology at Tehran University since 1983. He was also a teaching fellow at the University of Houston in the United States from 1975 to 1976 when he returned to Iran.

    Dr. Kharrazi was a founding member of the Islamic Research Institute in London and a member of the American Association of University Professors. He was admitted to the New York Academy of Science in 1994.

    Dr. Kharrazi earned a doctorate in education from the University of Houston in 1976. He holds a master's degree in education from Tehran University, where he also received his undergraduate education. He has written and translated a number of textbooks and articles on education, and management.

    Dr. Kharrazi has appeared on many international media programs, as well as many university campuses in the United States and Europe, presenting Iranian position on major issues of global importance. He has written extensively on foreign policy issues, and his articles have appeared in several Iranian and foreign newspapers and academic journals.

    Dr. Kharrazi was born in Tehran on 1 December 1944. He is married and has two children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • His Excellency M. Jusuf Kalla, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, was the 10th Vice President of Indonesia and Chairman of the Golkar Party in the same period. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Indonesian presidential election in 2009, and his term expired in October 2009.

     His parents were Hadji Kalla, a local businessman and Athirah, a woman who sold Buginese silk for a living. He was the second child out of 17.

     After completing school, Kalla attended the University of Hasanuddin in Makassar. There, he became active with the Indonesian Student Action Front (KAMI), a student organization which supported General Suharto in his bid to gain power from President Sukarno and was elected as Chairman of its South Sulawesi branch. He also had the beginnings of a political career, becoming a member of the Regional People’s Representative Council (DPRD) and Chairman of the Youth Division of Golkar when it still adopted a Joint Secretariat (Sekber) format.(source wikipedia)

     In 1967, Kalla graduated from Faculty Economy of Universitas Hasanuddin in Makassar. At the time, the economic situation was still bleak and his father, Hadji contemplated shutting down the family’s enterprise, NV Hadji Kalla. It was here that Kalla decided to enter the business world. Sacrificing his political activism, Kalla became CEO of NV Hadji Kalla in 1968 whilst Hadji became the Company’s Chairman. In the beginning things were hard for Kalla, who only had one employee and his mother had to assist him by trading her silk and running a mini-transportation enterprise which consisted of three buses.

     However business improved. Under Kalla’s leadership, NV Hadji Kalla expanded from export imports to the hotel industry, construction, car dealing, bridges, shipping, real estate, transportation, a shrimp farm, oil palm, and telecommunications.  In addition to being CEO of NV Hadji Kalla, Kalla was also the CEO for the subsidiaries established under NV Hadji Kalla. In 1977, Kalla graduated from INSEAD, an international business school based in Fontainebleau, south of Paris.

     Aside from his business career, Kalla has also been active in various organizations. From 1979 to 1989 he was Chairman of the Indonesian Economics Graduates Association (ISEI) branch in Ujung Pandang and continues to play an advisory role in ISEI. Kalla was extensively involved with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN). From 1985-1998, he was KADIN Chairman for South Sulawesi and at one point was the KADIN Coordinator for Eastern Indonesia. In addition, Kalla is also on the boards of trustees for three universities in Makassar. Kalla has also contributed socially by building the Al Markaz Mosque and becoming chairman of its Islamic centre.

     Kalla returned to politics in 1987 when he was appointed to the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) as a regional representative for South Sulawesi. He would be re-appointed to the MPR in 1992, 1997, and 1999.

    When Abdurrahman Wahid was elected President by the MPR in 1999, Kalla was included in the Cabinet and was named Minister of Industry and Trade. He had only been in his position for six months when in April 2000, Wahid removed him from his position along with Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Laksamana Sukardi. Wahid accused both Kalla and Laksamana for corruption although he never backed it up with evidence.

     In July 2001, through a Special Session of the MPR, Wahid was dismissed from office and Megawati Sukarnoputri took over as President. Megawati included Kalla in her Cabinet and named him Coordinating Minister of People’s Welfare. Although it was not part of his Ministerial brief, Kalla helped solve the inter-religious conflict in Poso on his native island of Sulawesi. Kalla facilitated a negotiation process which resulted in the signing of the Malino Declaration on 20 December 2001 and ceased three years’ worth of conflict. Two months later, Kalla once again helped solve another conflict in Sulawesi. On 12 February 2002, he, together with Coordinating Minister of Politics and Society Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, managed to solve a similar conflict on Ambon and Molucca through a Second Malino Declaration.

    Although he had overwhelmingly won the Presidency, Yudhoyono was still weak in the People’s Representative Council (DPR). PD combined with all of its coalition partners were still too weak to contend with the Legislative muscles of Golkar and PDI-P who now intended to play the role of opposition.

     With a National Congress to be held in December 2004, Yudhoyono and Kalla had originally backed Head of DPR Agung Laksono to become Golkar Chairman. When Agung was perceived to be too weak to run against Akbar, Yudhoyono and Kalla threw their weight behind Surya Paloh. Finally, when Paloh was also perceived to be to weak to run against Akbar, Yudhoyono gave the green light for Kalla to run for the Golkar Chairmanship. On 19 December 2004, Kalla was elected as the new Chairman of Golkar.

     Kalla’s victory posed a dilemma for Yudhoyono. Although it now enabled Yudhoyono to pass legislation, Kalla’s new position meant that in one sense, he was now more powerful than Yudhoyono.

     The first sign that points to the existence of a rivalry was during the Indian Ocean Tsunami when Kalla, apparently on his own initiative assembled the Ministers and signed a Vice Presidential decree ordering work to begin on rehabilitating Aceh. The legality of his Vice Presidential decree was questioned.although Yudhoyono maintained that it was he who gave the orders for Kalla to proceed.

     The second sign was in September 2005 when Yudhoyono went to New York to attend the annual United Nations Summit. Although Yudhoyono had left Kalla to take charge of proceedings at Jakarta, he seemed to be bent on maintaining a watch on matters at home. Yudhoyono would hold a video conference from New York to receive reports from Ministers. Critics suggest that this was an expression of distrust by Yudhoyono The suggestion seemed to gain momentum when Kalla only showed up for one video conference and then spent the rest of the time taking care of Golkar matters.

     Although things calmed down, especially with Golkar gaining another Cabinet position in the reshuffle, the alleged rivalry resurfaced again in October 2006 when Yudhoyono established the Presidential Work Unit for the Organization of Reform Program (UKP3R). There was accusation that this was an attempt by Yudhoyono to exclude Kalla from Government. Yudhoyono was quick to clarify that in supervising UKP3R, he will be assisted by Kalla.

     Kalla ran for the presidency with Wiranto as his running mate in the 2009 Indonesian presidential election, finishing third with 12.4 per cent of the vote.

    Source: https://lholhojie.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/biography-of-m-jusuf-kalla/

  • Julia Vitullo-Martin, a senior fellow and director of the Center for Rethinking Development at the Manhattan Institute, is joining the Regional Plan Association as director of its new Center for Urban Innovation. Her work focuses on development issues such as planning and zoning, housing, environmental reviews, building and fire codes, architecture and design, and landmark preservation.

    Vitullo-Martin has been widely published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Review of Books, New York Post, New York Daily News, The New York Times, Monocle, Commonweal, and Fortune, as well as academic journals. She has authored and edited three books, including Breaking Away: The Future of Cities (Century Foundation Press, 1996). 

    She served as director of the Citizens Jury Project and senior fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, managing editor for the Mayor’s Commission on New York City in the Year 2000, assistant commissioner for Planning and Development with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and executive director of the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. In addition, she taught at the Graduate School of Management at New School University and the Graduate Department of Urban Planning at Hunter College. She has edited and written numerous reports for foundations and for the city, state, and federal governments.

    Vitullo-Martin holds a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago.

    She lives on the West Side of Manhattan with her husband.

  • Born in Bogota on August 10, 1951. He was a cadet at the Navy Academy in Cartagena; he studied Economics and Business Administration and carried out graduate studies at the London School of Economics, Harvard University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

    He was Chief of the Colombian delegation before the International Coffee Organization (ICO) in London; he was the most recent Designate to the Presidency and Colombia’s first Foreign Trade Minister. He has also been Finance Minister and National Defense Minister. During this last position, he was in charge of leading the implementation of the government’s Democratic Security Policy.

    He created the Good Government Foundation (Fundación Buen Gobierno) and founded the political party Partido de la U in the year 2005, currently Colombia’s largest political party.

    As a journalist he was a columnist and Deputy Director of the newspaper El Tiempo, he was awarded the King of Spain Prize and was president of the Freedom of Expression Commission for the Inter American Press Association (IAPA). He has published several books, among which the most significant are The Third Way, co-written with the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Check on Terror (Jaque al Terror), where he describes the most important actions against the Farc terrorist group during his tenure as head of the Ministry of Defense.

    On June 20, 2010, (after obtaining the largest vote during the first round of the presidential elections which took place on May 30 of the same year) at the second round of the presidential elections, he was elected President of the Republic of Colombia for the four year period between August 7th, 2010 and August  7th, 2014. He obtained more than 9 million votes, the highest amount obtained by any candidate in the history of Colombian democracy.

    During his campaign, he promised to lead a government of national unity that would carry out the transition from Democratic Security to Democratic Prosperity.

    On June 15, 2014, in the second round and with more than 7.8 million votes, he was reelected as President of the Republic for the 2014 - 2018 constitutional term with a government plan based on three pillars: Peace, Equity and Education.

    President Santos is married to María Clemencia Rodríguez, with whom he has three children: Martín (21), María Antonia (19) and Esteban (16).

    Source: Presidencia de la República, July 2019

  • Dr. Joseph Loizzo is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Assistant Attending Psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell. Dr. Loizzo founded and directed the Center for Meditation and Healing in Manhattan. He has an MD from New York University and a PhD in Indio-Tibetan studies from Columbia University. He has considerable teaching experience in self-healing in complementary and alternative medicine, cultural competency, and Tibetan and Indian medicine. Dr. Loizzo has published numerous articles and chapters in professional journals and textbooks on the challenges of Indo-Tibetan medicine, the role of meditation and psychotherapy in reducing stress, the status of Asian mental health care, and meditative techniques in psychotherapy.  He is a co-investigator on a grant with Dr. Mary Charlson from the Avon Foundation on Meditation and Healing in women with breast cancer. In addition, Dr. Loizzo is the Program Director for the Programs for Meditation and Healing for the Weill-Cornell Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine.  These meditation-based programs in mind/body health teach the essential insights and skills of stress-reduction and self-healing; healthy outlook and lifestyle; emotional self-transformation and creative living.  Dr. Loizzo is a member of the American Oriental Society, the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association.

    University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • Joseph Stiglitz is currently a Columbia University Professor, teaching at the Business School, The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of International and Public Affairs.  He is the co-chair of Columbia University’s Committee on Global Thought

    Source: Graduate School of Business, February 2013 

  • Dr. Joseph C. Hough, Jr. is the fifteenth president of New York’s Union Theological Seminary, where he is also William E. Dodge Professor of Social Ethics.  Prior to assuming the post at Union in 1999, Hough served as dean and professor of Ethics of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School in Nashville, Tennessee, for nine years. He also directed the Cal Turner Program in Moral Leadership, a program for the divinity, law, medical, and business schools of Vanderbilt. A highly proficient fund-raiser, Hough has succeeded in raising nearly $30 million in capital funds for Union Theological Seminary since his arrival. On his watch, Union has developed a strategic plan to make the Seminary fiscally viable while invigorating its academic programs and strengthening the historic ties with neighboring institutions. He also played a major role in establishing an important new endowed chair in Reformation Church History and in securing full funding for two existing chairs, The Reinhold Niebuhr Chair in Social Ethics and The Paul Tillich Chair of Theology, World Religions, and Culture. A native of North Carolina, Hough did his undergraduate studies at Wake Forest and earned the B.D. from Yale Divinity School.  Hough began his career as an associate minister at the First Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, in 1959.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • José Sócrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa, commonly known by his given names José Sócrates, is the prime minister of Portugal and secretary-general of the Socialist Party.  Prime Minister Sócrates first became prime minister in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009.

    He was born in 1957 and spent his early years in the city of Covilhã. At the age of 18 he went to Coimbra, where he earned a degree in civil engineering. He received an MBA in 2005 from the Lisbon University Institute.

    Prime Minister Sócrates was one of the founders of the youth branch of the Portuguese Social Democratic Party before changing his political affiliation and joining the Portuguese Socialist Party in 1981. He was a technical engineer for the Covilhã city council and has been elected a member of the Portuguese parliament since 1987. He served as spokesperson on environmental affairs for the Socialist Party from 1991 to 1995. In 1995, he entered government as secretary of state for the environment. Two years later, Prime Minister Sócrates became minister for youth and sports and was one of the organizers of the EURO 2004 cup in Portugal. He became minister for environment and territorial planning in 1999. Following the elections of 2002, Prime Minister Sócrates became a member of the opposition in the Portuguese parliament. In 2004, he became secretary-general of the Socialist Party. After the victory of his party in the 2005 Portuguese election, Prime Minister Sócrates was called on to form a new government. He was elected for a second term as prime minister in September 2009.

    Portugal has made dramatic changes in its energy policy over the last five years under the government of Prime Minister Sócrates. Portugal’s installed renewable energy capacity more than tripled between 2004 and 2009 and renewable energy sources now represent roughly 36% of electricity consumed. Thanks to this performance, Portugal currently ranks fourthin Europe in energy production from renewables.

    Under Prime Minister Sócrates, the government has tried to create new rules and implement reforms aimed to improve efficiency and rationalize resource allocation in the public sector, fight civil servant overcapacity, and reduce bureaucracy, but the country’s public debt and deficit, as well as high unemployment, remain problems.

    This spring, Portugal joined the five European countries that have already legalized same-sex marriage: Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Norway, and Sweden. France and Denmark recognize same-sex unions, which convey many but not all of the rights enjoyed by married couples.

    Prime Minister Sócrates has two sons, José Miguel and Eduardo. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • José Ramos-Horta is president of Timor-Leste, often known as East Timor. Born in 1949, he became the second president of the country after it achieved independence from Indonesia in 2002, taking office in May 2007. He is a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize and a former prime minister.

    Ramos-Horta is a founder and former member of the political party called Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor and served as the exiled spokesman for the East Timorese resistance during the years of the Indonesian occupation (1975 to 1999). While he has continued to work with the party, he resigned from it in 1988 and has since remained an independent politician.

    Ramos-Horta has taught in Australia—at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and the University of Victoria, Melbourne—and is the author of books and numerous articles. He has studied at The Hague Academy of International Law and the International Institute of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France. He took post-graduate courses in American foreign policy at Columbia University, holds a master’s in peace studies from Antioch University, and has a diploma from the Executive Program for Leaders in Development at Harvard University. 

    Ramos-Horta has received numerous honorary doctorate degrees from universities in Brazil, the United States, Australia, and Portugal. The recipient of several human rights prizes and awards, he speaks Portuguese, Tetun, English, French, and Spanish. 

    He is the father of a son, Loro.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010 

  • José Manuel Barroso, born in Lisbon in 1956, is the eleventh and current president of the European Commission. After graduating in law from the University of Lisbon, he moved to Geneva, where he completed a diploma in European studies at the European University Institute, University of Geneva, and received a master’s degree in political science from the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Geneva, earning honors in both.

    He embarked on an academic career, working first as a teaching assistant at the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon and then in the Department of Political Science, University of Geneva. He went on to serve as visiting professor in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 1995, he became head of the International Relations Department of Lusíada University, Lisbon. In 1979, he founded the University Association for European Studies.

    His political career began in 1980 when he joined the Social Democratic Party (PSD). He was named president of the party in 1999 and re-elected three times. During the same period, he served as vice president of the European People's Party. In April 2002, he was elected prime minister of Portugal. He remained in office until July 2004, when he became president-designate of the European Commission. The European Parliament re-elected him for another five-years in September 2009.

    José Manuel Barroso has been awarded honorary degrees by Roger Williams University, Rhode Island (2005); Georgetown University, Washington, DC (2006); University of Genoa, Italy (2006); Kobe University, Japan (2006); and Sapienza University of Rome (2007). He was declared "European of the year 2006" by the magazine European Voice. He is the author of numerous publications on political science, international relations, and the European Union, including Le système politique portugais face à l'intégration européenne, Lisbon and Lausanne, 1983; Uma Certa Ideia de Europa, 1999; Mudar de Modelo, 2002; and Reformar: Dois Anos de Governo, 2004.

    He is married to Margarida Sousa Uva. The couple has three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is president of the government of Spain. Born in 1960, he has a degree in law from the University of Léon. He has been a member of the Spanish Socialists’ Party (PSOE) since 1979. He is the secretary-general of the PSOE and since 2000. After being elected deputy in the national Parliament five times, Zapatero was elected as president of the government in 2004. He was again elected to that position in 2008.

    He is well known for his domestic agenda of civic rights and the promotion of gender equality. Internationally, he launched the initiative for the Alliance of Civilizations in his first speech at the UN as President of Spain and he is a committed leader in the fight against poverty and the search for peace.

    President Zapatero is married and has two daughters.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • José Carlos Avellar, a journalist and film critic, has written for newspapers and film magazines including Jornal do Brasil (1962-1985) and Cinemais.  He also contributes to online publications including Polemica.com, an online magazine published by UERJ, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, and TheThinkingEye.com, an online magazine published by Universidad de Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Mr. Avellar was cultural director of Embrafilme (1985-1987); director of Rio de Janeiro’s municipal film agency, Riofilme (1994-2000); and adviser for the International Film Festival in Berlin for Brazilian cinema since 1980.

    Mr. Avellar is the author of six books on Brazilian and Latin American cinema, among them O chão da palavra / The Ground of the Word, Brazilian Cinema and Literature (1994); A ponte clandestina / The Clandestine Bridge, Film Theory in Latin America (1996); and Glauber Rocha (2002). He has written essays in anthologies and collective works including “La sabiduria que no sabemos que tenemos” in Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano (1988); “Backwards Blindness: Brazilian Cinema of the 1980s” in Framing Latin American Cinema (1997); “Writing the Speech” in Cinema Novo and Beyond (1998); “Redemption through the Excess of Sin” in Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies (2000); “ImagiNation” in The New Brazilian Cinema (2003); and “Limite” in The New Cinema of Latin America (2003).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2006

  • Lic. John R. Gagain Jr. was named by Dr. Leonel Fernández, president of the Dominican Republic, as the executive director of the Presidential Commission on the Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development (COPDES) on September 16, 2004. The COPDES is the first presidential commission ever established for monitoring and evaluating a country’s achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

    Before COPDES, Mr. Gagain served as director of the Center for the Study of Globalization and representative to international organizations at the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development, an international research-based nongovernmental organization founded by Dr. Leonel Fernández and based in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Gagain was responsible for the foundation’s projects, courses, and literature on globalization, as well as its relations with institutions including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization.

    Additionally, Mr. Gagain was the executive vice-president of the United Nations Association of the Dominican Republic, one of over 100 U.N. associations that exist in countries around the world and form the World Federation of U.N. Associations. Mr. Gagain was responsible for the administration of the association’s finances and development. Mr. Gagain was the coordinator of Model United Nations at the United Nations Association of the USA, where he was editor of the association’s educational publications, including the annual Guide to Delegate Preparation.

    Mr. Gagain attended the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where he focused on international economic policy with a concentration in international trade and Latin American studies. He has written recommendations on U.S. foreign economic policy for Ambassador Richard Gardner, former economic adviser to Al Gore and member of the Clinton Administration’s Advisory Council on Trade Policy and Negotiations.

    Additionally, Mr. Gagain is a consultant with the International Institute for Sustainable Development, serving as a writer for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin. He also serves as a member of the U.N. Global Compact’s International Task Force on Networks. Mr. Gagain served as youth delegate adviser for the U.S. Delegation to the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance. He graduated from Pace University, where he majored in political science and concentrated in international affairs.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • President Mahama is Ghana’s Fourth President of the Fourth Republic.  He was born on November 29,1958 in Damango, which is located in the Northern Region of Ghana. He is a communication expert, historian, writer, former Member of Parliament and Minister of State, and immediate former Vice President of Ghana. He ascended to the high office of Presidency following the death of the incumbent President John Evans Atta Mills on Tuesday, July 24 in Accra.

    President Mahama's father, Mr Emmanuel Adama Mahama was the first Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region during Ghana's First Republic.

    After completing his education, President Mahama went on to pursue an additional postgraduate diploma in social psychology at the Institute of Social Sciences in Moscow, and returned to Ghana from 1991 to 1996. He worked as the Information, Culture and Research Officer at the Embassy of Japan in Accra. He moved on to work with PLAN International, Ghana as International Relations, Sponsorship Communications and Grants Manager.

    An  eloquent  champion  of  the  underprivileged, President  Mahama  was  first  elected  to  the Parliament of Ghana in 1996 to represent the Bole/Bamboi Constituency for a four-year term.

    In April 1997, President Mahama was appointed Deputy Minister of Communications. He rose to become the substantive Minister of Communications by November 1998; it was a position he held until January 2001 when the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was the current ruling party, handed over power to the newly elected New Patriotic Party's government.

    In  2000,  President  Mahama  was  re-elected  for  another  four-year  term  as  the  MP  for  the Bole/Bamboi Constituency. He was again re-elected in 2004 for a third term. From 2001 to 2004, President Mahama served as the Minority Parliamentary Spokesman for

    Communications and in 2002 he was appointed the Director of Communications for the NDC. That same year, he served as a member of the team of international observers selected to monitor Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Elections.

    During  his  tenure  as  Minister  of  Communications, President  Mahama  also  served  as  the Chairman of the National Communications Authority, in which capacity he played a key role in stabilizing Ghana's telecommunications sector after it was deregulated in 1997.

    President Mahama also served as a member of the National Economic Management Team, a founding member of the Ghana AIDS Commission, a member of the implementation committee of the 2000 National Population Census, and a deputy chairman of the Publicity Committee for the re-introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

    Continuing to expand his interest and involvement in international affairs, in 2003 President Mahama became a member of the Pan-African Parliament, serving as the Chairperson of the West African Caucus. In 2005, he was additionally appointed the Minority Spokesman for Foreign Affairs. He served in  these  capacities  until  2008,  when  he  was  handpicked  to  become  the  vice  presidential candidate.

    President Mahama has seven children. He is married to Mrs. Lordina Mahama. Despite his often busy schedule, President Mahama makes it a point to devote time to his family, his faith and his hobbies. He is a Christian, who believes in the importance of respect for and tolerance of, other faiths and forms of worship in a nation as diverse and peaceful as Ghana.

    He has a keen interest in environmental affairs, particularly the problem of plastic pollution in

    Africa, which he has committed himself to addressing during his tenure as Vice President.

    President Mahama loves to read. He is also an avid writer and has had numerous articles published nationally and internationally.

    His first book, My First Coup d'État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa, was published by Bloomsbury on July 3, 2012.

    Source: http://www.un.int/ghana/PresidentMahamawinsGhana.pdf, September 2013

  • Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor was born on December 8, 1938, in Kumasi, Ghana. He had his Secondary Education at Prempeh College where he passed at the top of his class. He enrolled at Lincoln Inn, London, and was called to the Bar in 1961 at the age of 22. He then entered Oxford University where he passed his Honors BA degree in 1964 in economics, philosophy, and politics. He was subsequently confirmed, in accord with Oxford traditions, with the Master's degree by the University.

    Both sides of Kufuor's parentage come from distinguished families whose members include chiefs, farmers, timber merchants, businessmen, university professors, doctors, engineers, accountants, teachers, nurses, lawyers, and politicians. J. A. Kufuor is happily married to Theresa (Nee Mensah). The marriage is blessed with five children, four of whom are university graduates with the youngest son still in the university. Mr. Kufuor and his family belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

    Mr. Kufuor's public service spans over 30 years. In 1967, he was appointed chief legal officer and town clerk (city manager) of Kumasi, the second largest city of Ghana. He was a member of the 1968-69 and the 1979 Constituent Assemblies that drafted the Constitutions of the Second and Third Republics respectively. In addition, he was a founding member of the Progress Party (PP) in 1969, the Popular Front Party (PFP) in 1979 and is a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). He has twice been elected as a member of Parliament, during the Second and Third Republics. He has also been in political detention on two occasions as a result of military coups that overthrew the Second and Third Republics. He has been a deputy minister of foreign affairs and in this capacity, he represented Ghana on several occasions. From 1969 to December 1971, he led Ghana's delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Ministerial Meetings in Addis Ababa, and the Summit Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Lusaka, Zambia. In 1970, he led the Ghanaian delegation to Moscow in the former Soviet Union, Prague (Former Czechoslovakia), and Belgrade (Yugoslavia) to discuss Ghana's indebtedness to these Countries.

    As the spokesman on foreign affairs and deputy opposition leader of the Popular Front Party (PFP) Parliamentary Group during the Third Republic, he was invited to accompany President Limann to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Summit Conference in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He was also a member of the Parliamentary Delegation that Visited the United States of America (USA) in 1981 to talk to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on Ghana's economic problems.

    In January 1982, the leadership of the All People's Party (APP), which was an alliance of all the opposition parties, advised some leading members, including the Deputy Leader of the Alliance, Alhaji Iddrisu Mahama, the General Secretary, Dr. Obed Asamoah, and Mr. J. A. Kufuor. To accept an invitation from the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) to serve in what was purported to be a National Government. Mr. Kufuor was appointed the Secretary for Local Government in this new Government. As a Secretary for Local Government, he authored the Local Government Policy Guidelines that were to be the foundation of the current decentralized District Assemblies. He, however, resigned within seven months of acceptance of the position after having satisfied himself that the PNDC Government was not the national Government that it promised to be. Indeed he found that it had a hidden agenda which he could not be a Party to. He also could not be a party to the intolerance, the brutality, abuse, and corruption of that Government.

    On April 20, 1996, Mr. J. A. Kufuor was nominated by 1034 out of 2000 delegates of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) drawn from all the 200 Constituencies of the Country to run for the President of Ghana on December 10, 1996. After campaigning for less than nine months, Mr. Kufuor polled almost 40% of the popular votes. On October 23, 1998, he was re-nominated by the New Patriotic Party not only to run again for President but to officially assume the position of Leader of the Party. Kufuor won the presidential elections in Dec. 2000 and was sworn in as president on January 9, 2001.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • Joel Klein is Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. As Chancellor, Mr. Klein oversees a system of 1,450 schools and 136,000 employees with a $15 billion budget and launched Children First in 2002, a comprehensive reform strategy that has brought coherence and capacity to the system and resulted in significant increases in student performance. In the next phase of Children First, Chancellor Klein is instituting ambitious reforms to make the system even more accountable for student achievement, while expanding the authority of principals to create the learning environment they think is best for their schools.

    Formerly chairman and CEO of Bertelsmann, Inc, a media company, Mr. Klein served as Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice until September 2000 and was Deputy White House Counsel to President Clinton from 1993-1995. Mr. Klein entered the Clinton administration after 20 years of public and private legal work in Washington, D.C.

    Mr. Klein attended New York City's public schools and graduated from William Cullen Bryant High School. He received his BA from Columbia University where he graduated magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa in 1967, and earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1971, again graduating magna cum laude.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, January 2007 

  • Joaquim Alberto Chissano served as the President of the Republic of Mozambique from November 6, 1986, until February 2, 2005.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Joan Kaufman, MA, M.S., Sc.D is the incoming Director of the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia. Most recently, she has been a Lecturer in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Principal and Faculty Affiliate of the Hauser Center for Non Profit Management at Harvard’s Kennedy School, and Distinguished Scientist and Senior Lecturer at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, where she has been teaching on health policy.

    From 2008-2011, she was the Associate Director for Academics for the Masters in Science program in International Health Policy and Management, one of two Sustainable International Development masters degree programs at the Heller School. Dr. Kaufman also worked as the China Team Leader for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative from 2002-2012. Dr. Kaufman was the first UNFPA international program officer in China in the 1980s and from 1996-2001, she was the Ford Foundation’s Reproductive Health Program Officer for China based in Beijing.

    She spent 2001-2002 as a Radcliffe fellow at Harvard and 2005-2006 as a Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellow. In 2002, she founded the AIDS Public Policy Project at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, a program which trained government officials in China and Vietnam about the multi-sectoral and governance requirements for an effective HIV/AIDS response.

    She holds a doctorate in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health, masters degrees in Asian Studies and Health and Medical Sciences from UC Berkeley, and BA cum laude in Chinese Studies from Trinity College. She has published widely on AIDS, reproductive health, gender, population and international health policy, emerging infectious diseases, and civil society and health with a focus on China.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013 

  • 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 cofounded Partners In Health, a nonprofit 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, October 2017 

  • Jigmi Y. Thinley became prime minister (lyonchhen) of Bhutan after leading his party, the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party or Druk Phuensum Tshogpa, to victory in Bhutan’s first national election in March 2008. Before the introduction of democracy in Bhutan, he served the previous government in various capacities, including as minister for foreign affairs and minister for home and cultural affairs. He also served as prime minister from 1998 to 1999 and again from 2003 to 2004, when cabinet ministers held the post on an annual rotational basis.

    Born in Bhutan in 1952, Jigmi Y. Thinley graduated with honors from St. Stephen’s College of Delhi University and went on to obtain a master’s degree in public administration from Pennsylvania State University in 1976.

    Prime Minister Thinley has published many essays and papers on a wide range of topics. He has spoken at many conferences, meetings, and seminars, including numerous sessions at the United Nations General Assembly. He currently serves as chairman of his country’s National Environment Commission and of the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute of Conservation and Environment. He is an international counselor for the Asia Society, New York; member of the international advisory board of the Netherland Development Organization; and president of the Maha Bodhi Society of India.

    In 2009, His Majesty the Fifth King of Bhutan awarded Thinley the Druk Wangyel Medal, the highest civilian decoration. That same year, Penn State presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the university confers on an outstanding alumnus. In February of this year, Thinley received the HR Strategic and Iconic Leader Award at the World HRD Congress 2010 in Mumbai, an international initiative dedicated to shaping the future of organizations through talent management and development.

    Prime Minister Thinley is married to Aum Rinsy Dem; they have three children and two grandchildren.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Jesús Caldera is the Executive Vicepresident of IDEAS Foundation, a progressive think-tank linked to the Spanish Socialdemocratic Party (PSOE), and launched by Prime Minister Zapatero in 2008.

    A Graduate in Political Sciences, Law and Sociology, he has been the coordinator of the electoral programs that gave the victory to the PSOE in the General Elections of 2004 and 2008.

    He is an expert in Policies for Broadening Access to New Rights for individuals as well as for communities. As a Minister of Labor and Social Affairs (2004-2008), he drafted the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for Dependent People Act (Dependency Act) considered to be the fourth pillar of the Welfare State; and the Equality Act that placed Spain at the vanguard of effective and legal equality between men and women.
    As a Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, he promoted a reform to stabilize the labor market and approved the Self-Employed Workers’ Statute, to put an end to a historical discrimination against this community. He also promoted the Statute of Spaniards Abroad.

    As the Vicepresident of IDEAS Foundation, he has focused on development issues and the sustainability agenda. He has also been actively engaged in building a strong network of progressive think-tanks and intellectuals around the world. Under his leadership, the IDEAS Foundation has been working very closely with Columbia University, in particular with Prof. Joseph Stiglitz and Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and their respective research institutes on a broad range of topics, from the microeconomic solutions to the food crisis to the potential implementation of a financial transaction tax. The Foundation has also been hiring Columbia alumni (for example the Director, Carlos Mulas is a Columbia Graduate) and the Foundation has just started a special internship program for current GSAS and SIPA students.

    It is as a result of this collaboration between the IDEAS Foundation and Columbia University why PM Zapatero (PM of Spain and also President of IDEAS) will be speaking this year at the World Leaders Forum.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Jerome Chazen is founder and chairman of Chazen Capital Partners, a private investment firm.  Mr. Chazen is also chairman emeritus and one of four founding partners of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  He was largely responsible for the innovative sales, marketing, distribution and licensing programs that are an integral part of Liz Claiborne’s success.

    Prior to joining the venture that would become Liz Claiborne, he worked as an analyst on Wall Street and spent 16 years in retailing.

    Mr. Chazen is a trustee emeritus of Columbia University, chairman emeritus of the board of the Museum of Arts & Design, and vice chairman of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s board of trustees.  He is also a managing director of the Metropolitan Opera Association.  He serves on the boards of directors of Taubman Centers, Inc., the New York City Investment Fund, the 92nd Street Y, the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurial Initiative Fund, and the Shenkar College American Committee.  He is also a partner and member of the board of the Partnership for New York City.

    Mr. Chazen, the founder and benefactor of the School’s Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business, is a trustee of the National Jewish Center of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, vice chairman of the board of directors of the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and a member of the advisory board of the Louis Armstrong House and Archives at Queens College in Flushing, N.Y.

    Mr. Chazen and his wife, Simona, have three children and five grandchildren and live in Upper Nyack, N.Y.  He is an avid art collector and jazz enthusiast.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • 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

  • Jehmu Greene is president of the Women’s Media Center (WMC), an organization that amplifies women’s voices in the media through media and leadership trainings, advocacy, and original content. Throughout her career, Greene has skillfully worked with the media to build powerful social justice movements. She is a frequent commentator on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and former president of Rock the Vote, the largest youth voter registration group.

    A native of Austin, TX, Greene has played key roles at both the Center for Policy Alternatives and the Democratic National Committee, where she ran the women’s office. She was an advisor and national surrogate for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and has worked on over 20 political campaigns at the local, state and national level. She is also the recipient of numerous awards from organizations including Essence Magazine, the National Conference for Community and Justice, the National Council for Research on Women, and the American Association of University Women. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2010

  • Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appointed Jeanne B. Mullgrav as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) in April 2002.

    As New York City’s lead agency for administering youth and community programs, DYCD invests public funds in experienced community-based organizations that provide after-school programming, train young people for jobs, and enhance individuals’ literacy skills, among other goals.

    Since becoming Commissioner of DYCD, Commissioner Mullgrav has steered the organization through a tremendous period of growth. In 2003, Mayor Bloomberg streamlined the City’s social services by eliminating the Department of Employment and relocating its portfolio of youth workforce programs to DYCD.  The same year, the Mayor made DYCD the lead agency for implementing his Out-of-School Time (OST) initiative, under which the agency is coordinating services and maximizing resources.

    Ms. Mullgrav came to DYCD from The After-School Corporation (TASC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the need for available and quality after-school programs.  As Vice President of External Relations, she oversaw all aspects of government affairs and media relations, and promoted TASC’s legislative agenda.

    Previously, as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Relations for New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Ms. Mullgrav shaped legislative and policy proposals relating to criminal justice and victim-related topics. Throughout the 1990s, Ms. Mullgrav held several senior management positions at Victim Services (now “Safe Horizon”), a major not-for-profit provider of services to crime victims in New York City.  Ms. Mullgrav began her career in government as a New York City Urban Fellow in the 1980s.

    Ms. Mullgrav serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations, including The Fund for Modern Courts, The National Center for Family Literacy and The National Advisory Committee of the Robert Bowne Foundation’s After-School Matters publication.  She has received numerous awards, including the New York State Youth Bureaus’ Polly Sanders Award, The Better Bronx for Youth Consortium’s Women Who Shape Our World Award, and the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush’s Distinguished Public Service Award.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College, and a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, January 2007

  • 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

  • James Schamus is chief executive officer (CEO) of Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com), a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers. Mr. Schamus formed Focus with David Linde in May 2002.

    An integral contributor to the American independent film business for over a decade, Mr. Schamus has the unique distinction of being an award-winning screenwriter and producer who is also a film executive.

    Mr. Schamus has had a long collaboration as writer and producer with Ang Lee on ten feature films, with the director’s Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, released worldwide through Focus. The film is Focus’ all-time top-grosser, with global ticket sales of over $180 million. Brokeback Mountain, on which Mr. Schamus served as a producer, won, among other honors, 3 Academy Awards; 4 Golden Globe Awards; 4 BAFTA Awards; and the Producers Guild of America’s top prize, the [Darryl F. Zanuck] Producer of the Year Award, Theatrical Motion Pictures.

    In addition to Brokeback Mountain, Focus’ other celebrated releases have included five more Academy Award winners, Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Fernando Meirelles’ The Constant Gardener, and Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Walter Salles’ The Motorcycle Diaries; and Joe Wright’s Pride & Prejudice, Todd Haynes’ Far from Heaven, François Ozon’s Swimming Pool, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 21 Grams.

    Mr. Schamus is also Associate Professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and he currently serves on the board of directors of Creative Capital. He was the 2006 Presidential Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, and received his Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley in 2003.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2006

  • Founder and Secretary General of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), Mr. Talabani has been an advocate for Kurdish rights and democracy in Iraq for more than fifty years. He was born in 1933 in the village of Kelkan in Iraqi Kurdistan near lake Dokan

    He received his elementary and intermediate school education in Koya (Koysanjak) and his high school education in Erbil and Kirkuk. Mr. Talabani has a record of lifelong activism and leadership in the Kurdish and Iraqi causes. In 1946, at the age of 13 he formed a secret Kurdish student association. The following year he became a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and in 1951, at 18, he was elected to the KDP's central committee. Upon finishing his secondary education, he sought admission to medical school but was denied it by authorities of the then ruling Hashemite monarchy owing to his political activities. In 1953 he was allowed to enter law school but was obliged to go into hiding in 1956 to escape arrest for his activities as founder and Secretary General of the Kurdistan Student Union. Following the July 1958 overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy, Mr. Talabani returned to law school, at the same time pursuing a career as a journalist and editor of two publications, Khabat and Kurdistan. After graduating in 1959, Mr. Talabani performed national service in the Iraqi army where he served in artillery and armor units and served as a commander of a tank unit.

    When in September 1961, the Kurdish revolution for the rights of the Kurds in Iraq was declared against the Baghdad government of Abdul Karim Qassem, Mr. Talabani took charge of the Kirkuk and Sulaimani battle fronts and organized and led resistance in Mawat, Rezan and the Karadagh regions. In March 1962 he led a coordinated offensive that brought about the liberation of the district of Sharbazher from Iraqi government forces. When not engaged in fighting in the early and mid 1960s, Mr. Talabani undertook numerous diplomatic missions, representing the Kurdish leadership at meetings in Europe and the Middle East. When the KDP split in 1964, Mr. Talabani was part of the "Political Bureau" group that broke away from General Mustafa Barzani's leadership, although he later rejoined the KDP and fought during the 1974-1975 revolution against Iraq's Ba'athist dictatorship.

    The collapse of the Kurdish resistance in March 1975 presented a moment of profound crisis for the people of Iraqi Kurdistan. Believing it was time to give a new direction to the Kurdish resistance and to the Kurdish society, Mr. Talabani, with a group of Kurdish intellectuals and activists, founded the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Yekiaiti Nishtimani Kurdistan). In 1976, he began organizing armed resistance inside Iraq. During the 1980s, Mr. Talabani led Kurdish struggle from bases inside Iraq until Saddam Hussein's brutal genocidal "Anfal" campaign of 1987 and 1988. The Kurdish movement was again cut adrift and Mr. Talabani was forced to leave Iraq.

    Returning in 1991, he helped inspire the Kurdish rising against Saddam Hussein's regime. He negotiated a ceasefire with the Iraqi regime that saved the lives of many Kurds and worked closely with the US, UK, Turkey, France and other countries to set up the safe haven in Iraqi Kurdistan. He established a close personal relationship with the then President of Turkey, Turgut Ozal. Democratic elections were held in the safe haven in 1992 for a Kurdish parliament and the Kurdistan Regional Government was founded.

    Mr. Talabani has pursued a negotiated settlement to the internecine problems plaguing the Kurdish movement, as well as the larger issue of Kurdish rights in the current regional context. He worked closely with other Kurdish politicians and the governments of the UK and Turkey during the Ankara process of Kurdish reconciliation. He worked closely with all factions of the Iraqi opposition. In close coordination with Massoud Barzani, Mr. Talabani and the Iraqi Kurds played a key role as a partner of the US-Coalition in the liberation of Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds have also joined in the fight against international terrorism.

    Mr. Talabani was a member of the Iraqi Governing Council that negotiated the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), Iraq's interim constitution. The TAL governs all politics in Iraq and the process of writing and adopting the final constitution. In many ways, the TAL exemplifies the values that Mr. Talabani has promoted, of compromise, consensus and tolerance.

    A politician par excellence, Mr. Talabani is a secularist and a believer in democracy, inter-ethnic harmony, equality and women's rights. He is known for his affable personality, his love of politics and his broad minded outlook. He has defined the PUK as an internationalist party and Mr. Talabani has made a point of publishing in Arabic. A strategic thinker and believer in reconciliation, he has reached out to Turkey and to the Sunni Arab community in Iraq to build bridges. Mr. Talabani stands for progressive politics, for a society based on social democratic values with a market economy. Close to his political base, and always open to debate, and quick to tell a joke, he has established a close rapport with party members. His elevation to the presidency of Iraq is recognition of his fifty years of service to the cause of freedom and democracy.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • Jagdish Bhagwati is senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and University Professor at Columbia University. He is also Co-Chair of the High-Level Expert Group on Trade appointed by the Governments of Britain, Germany, Indonesia, and Turkey. He has uniquely combined seminal scientific contributions to the postwar theory of commercial policy, strengthening greatly the case for Free Trade, with several bestselling books and op ed essays in leading newspapers and magazines on current policy issues.

     He has been economic policy adviser to Arthur Dunkel, director-general of GATT (1991–93), special adviser to the UN on globalization, and external adviser to the WTO. He has served on the expert group appointed by the director-general of the WTO on the future of the WTO and the advisory committee to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the NEPAD process in Africa, and was also a member of the Eminent Persons Group under the chairmanship of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso on the future of UNCTAD.

    Professor Bhagwati has published more than three hundred articles and has authored or edited over fifty volumes; he also writes frequently for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, as well as reviews for the New Republic and the Times Literary Supplement. Professor Bhagwati is described as the most creative international trade theorist of his generation and is a leader in the fight for freer trade. His most recent book Termites in the Trading System (Oxford University Press, 2008) discusses the deleterious effects of preferential trading agreements. His previous book In Defense of Globalization (Oxford University Press, 2004) attracted worldwide acclaim. Five volumes of his scientific writings and two of his public policy essays have been published by MIT press.

    He has been uniquely celebrated with six festschrifts in his honor. He has also received several prizes and 16 honorary degrees (including from the London School of Economics and the Free University in Berlin), among them the Freedom Prize (Switzerland), the Bernhard Harms Prize (Germany) and the Thomas Schelling Award (Kennedy School, Harvard). His honors also include the high civilian awards from the Governments of India (Padma Vibhushan) and Japan (Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star).

    A native of India, Professor Bhagwati attended Cambridge University where he graduated in 1956 with a first in economics tripos. He then continued to study at MIT and Oxford returning to India in 1961 as professor of economics at the Indian Statistical Institute and then as professor of international trade at the Delhi School of Economics. He returned to MIT in 1968, leaving it twelve years later as the Ford International Professor of Economics to join Columbia. He is married to Padma Desai, the Gladys and Ronald Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems at Columbia University and a scholar of Russian and other former socialist countries’ transition problems. They have one daughter, Anuradha Kristina.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2011

  • Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was born in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand, and grew up rurally. She attended high school before graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Politics and Public Relations.

    Post-university, she worked as an advisor in the office of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, in London for the Government Cabinet Office and as an Assistant Director in the Department for Business and Enterprise, and on a review of Policing in England and Wales.

    The Prime Minister joined the New Zealand Labour Party at age 18 and entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2008. Over her nine years as a representative, she has been a strong advocate for children, women, and the right of every New Zealander to have meaningful work.

    She became the MP for the Auckland electorate Mt Albert in early 2017, and the Leader of the Labour Party in August 2017. As well as Prime Minister, she holds the roles of Minister for National Security and Intelligence, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, an issue particularly close to her heart.

    Source: The official website of the New Zealand Government, July 2019

  • Date of Birth: 8 June 1953, Split
    Marital Status: married, with two daughters
    1982: Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Romance Languages from the University of Innsbruck, Austria Primary and secondary school in Split, Croatia

    Political Career
    2003: Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia
    2000: President of the HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union), elected at 5th Convention of the Party in April 2000, and re-elected at 7th Convention of the Party, April 2002
    2000: MP and Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament
    1996-2000: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
    1995-1996: Chief of Staff to the President of the Republic of Croatia and Secretary General of the Defence and National Security Council
    1993-1995: Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic Croatia
    1992-1993: Minister of Science and Technology of the Republic of Croatia
    1992: Elected Member of Parliament in the House of Representatives of the Croatian Parliament

    Professional Career
    1991-1992: General Manager of the Croatian National Theatre in Split
    1988-1991: Manager of his own companies in Innsbruck, Austria
    1987-1990: Member of the editing board of the magazine "Mogucnosti" ("Possibilities")
    1983-1988: Programme editor and subsequently Editor in Chief of the publishing House "Logos" in Split

    Publications and Membership
    Author of several books on literary history and contemporary politics
    Member of the Croatian Writers Association and the Croatian Centre of the PEN Club

    English, German, and Italian-fluent

    Golf, Reading, Music

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Ivo Josipović, president of the Republic of Croatia, took his oath of office in February 2010. He was born in 1957, in Zagreb, where he graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Zagreb in 1980 and passed his bar examination. He received his master's degree there in 1985, following post-graduate studies in criminal procedure law, and his doctor's degree in 1994, with the thesis “Law on Arrest and Pre-trial Detention in Criminal Procedure Law.” He also graduated in composition from the Zagreb Music Academy and holds an honorary doctorate degree from the Immanuel Kant State University of Russia.

    Prior to his election to the office of president, as a Social Democrat, Ivo Josipović was a university professor, a member of the Croatian parliament, and a composer. He taught criminal procedure law, international penal law, and misdemeanor law. He also taught harmony at the Zagreb Music Academy. He has published several books and eighty-five scholarly and expert papers in journals and magazines in Croatia and abroad. He has composed about fifty compositions (for different instruments, chamber ensembles, and symphony orchestras) that are performed by eminent Croatian and foreign artists. He has received numerous Croatian and international artistic prizes and awards, among them the Grand Prix of the European Broadcasting Union and two Porin Croatian Record Awards. For a number of years he was director of one of the most important European festivals of contemporary music, Music Biennale Zagreb, and served as Secretary-General of the Croatian Composers’ Society.

    President Josipović has cooperated with many Croatian and foreign state, scholarly, university, and artistic institutions, from such countries as Germany, the USA, Canada, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Austria, Hungary, Finland, and Italy. He took part in the UN PrepCom for the establishment of the International Criminal Court as well as the Rome Diplomatic Conference. He was an associate-expert of the Council of Europe for monitoring prison systems in a number of countries. As a legal expert, he drafted or co-drafted a number of Croatian legislative bills. He represented Croatia before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice. He is a member of a number of legal and artistic associations, both at home and abroad, among them the World Academy of Art and Science, Hrvatski pravni centar [the Croatian Law Centre], Hrvatsko društvo za europsko pravo [the Croatian Society for European Law], and Hrvatsko udruženje za kaznene znanosti i praksu [the Croatian Association for Penal Science and Practice].

    In addition to criminal procedure, international penal law, and misdemeanor law, his fields of interest are war crimes, international courts, human rights, and the fight against corruption and organized crime.

    The chief elements of his presidential platform, the basis for his election as president of the Republic of Croatia, are: (1) active membership of Croatia in those international organizations and associations to which it already belongs—particularly in the UN, NATO, and the Council of Europe—and membership in the European Union; (2) normalizing relations with the neighboring countries of South-East Europe and establishing intensive economic, cultural, and political cooperation with them; continuing and developing  political and other cooperation with third countries, in particular the USA; strengthening economic ties with non-European countries, especially with Russia, China, India, and countries of Latin America; (3) asserting the universality of human rights and international courts for war crimes prosecution; (4) further democratization of Croatia, which includes asserting the human rights of all Croatian citizens and particularly protecting those of national minorities; (5) justice as the foundation for the state's organization and functioning; (6) modernizing institutions of the Croatian state and providing their professional service to citizens (judiciary, state administration, and local government); (7) strengthening the security of citizens; and (8) developing the Croatian economy in the context of future EU membership, as well as caring for the rights of workers and prohibiting any kind of discrimination.

    President Josipović speaks English and some German.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • The Vice President of the Republic and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado, has over 20 years of experience in consulting, development and implementation of public policies in Latin America. Following her election as Vice-President and her appointment as foreign minister, she became the first woman to hold both positions in the history of her country.

    She was the Alternate Ambassador from Panama to the United Nations in New York and worked with the United Nations Development Program, as Country Manager for Panama for 15 years.

    From this office, she worked with the team that designed and executed the Agreements called Panama 2000 (“Acuerdos Panamá 2000”), in whose framework the legislation to create the Panama Canal Authority was drafted, to receive the waterway once it reverted to Panamanian hands.

    She was awarded by the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Promotion of Peace, for the achievements in building dialogue and consensus throughout her career, and for the role played by the Government of the Republic of Panama, preparing the stage for the meeting between the presidents of Cuba and the United States, in the framework of the VII Summit of the Americas. The Vice-President is the first person in Latin America to receive this recognition.

    She also received from the Panamanian Business Executives Association (APEDE) the award of “Woman of the Year 2012”, for her contributions in building national consensus for over two decades.

    She has been part of the board of directors of several organizations such as: BBVA Bank, Fundación Democracia y Libertad, and the Women Corporate Directors Association of Panama, among others.

    Currently, in her capacity as Vice-President of the Republic, and based on the priorities of the Government of Panama, she presides the Social Cabinet (“Gabinete Social”) and supports the National Council for Development (“Concertación Nacional para el Desarrollo”), where she seeks to articulate social policies, in coordination with civil society, around the strategic objective of eradicating poverty and social inequality through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    In that same course of action, from her office she promotes matters related with transparency, the fight against corruption and gender equality.

    As Minister of Foreign Affairs, among other aspirations, she promotes the project of modernization and institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose main objective is to promote the professionalism of Panamanian diplomacy.

    Her vision is to promote a foreign policy where Panama serves as a country of dialogue; consensus building, positioned at the forefront of the global development agenda.

    She has a Degree in International Relations from Saint Joseph´s University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University.

    She is married and has 3 children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2016

  • Isaac Julien was born in 1960 in London, where he currently lives and works. After graduating from St Martin's School of Art in 1984, where he studied painting and fine art film, Isaac Julien founded Sankofa Film and Video Collective (1983–1992), and was a founding member of Normal Films in 1991.

    Julien was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2001 for his films The Long Road to Mazatlán (1999), made in collaboration with Javier de Frutos and Vagabondia (2000), choreographed by Javier de Frutos. Earlier works include Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask (1996), Young Soul Rebels (1991), which was awarded the Semaine de la critique prize at the Cannes Film Festival the same year, and the acclaimed poetic documentary Looking for Langston (1989). 

    Isaac Julien was a visiting lecturer at Harvard University’s Schools of Afro-American and Visual Environmental Studies and is currently a visiting professor at the Whitney Museum of American Arts. He was also a research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London and is a Trustee of the Serpentine Gallery. Julien was the recipient of both the prestigious MIT Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts (2001) and the Frameline Lifetime Achievement Award (2002). His work Paradise Omeros was presented as part of Documenta XI in Kassel (2002). In 2003 he won the Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne for his single screen version of Baltimore and the Aurora Award in 2005.

    Most recently, he has had solo shows at the Pompidou Centre in Paris (2005), MoCA Miami (2005) and the Kerstner Gesellschaft, Hanover (2006). Julien is represented in the Tate Modern, Centre Pompidou, Guggenheim and Hirshhorn Collections.

    Source: Information provided by the office of Isaac Julien  www.isaacjulien.com and the School of the Arts.

  • Irene Bignardi was born and educated in Milan, where she graduated in modern literature, and studied Communications at Stanford University with a Fulbright Fellowship. She has worked as a cultural journalist for La Repubblica, since the inception of the daily newspaper in 1976, and from 1989-2000 she was head of its film critics’ team.  Prior to that from 1979-89, she wrote a column of film criticism for the weekly l’Espresso.  From 1986-89, she was the director of MystFest, the International Film Festival of Film Noir in Cattolica, Italy and from 1992-94 she worked in the Venice Film Festival with Gillo Pontecorvo as head of the Venetian Nights with Giorgio Gosetti. From 2001-05, she helmed the Locarno International Film Festival.

    For many years Ms. Bignardi has contributed on cultural programs and documentaries for the Italian Public Television, Rai. She is the author of two documentaries written for Gianfranco Mingozzi, with Francesca Bertini, L’Ultima diva and Bellissimo (on Italian cinema) and several essays, some of which are included in the books Il declino dell’Impero Americano, 50 registi e 101 film (Feltrinelli, 1996); Memorie estorte ad uno smemorato, vita di Gillo Pontecorvo (Feltrinelli, 1999); Le piccole utopie (Feltrinelli, 2003); and Americani (Marsilio, 2005).  Ms. Bignardi has served on many international cinema juries including San Sebastian, Un certain Régard in Cannes, Chicago and Sundance.  She reads History of Cinema at the Master program of Clast, in Venice IUAV (School of Architecture), and has been honoured as Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana, Italy’s highest civilian honor by decree of the President.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2006

  • Ion Iliescu was born on March 3, 1930. He was the elected President of Romania for eleven years (three terms), from 1990 to 1992, 1992 to 1996, and 2000 to 2004.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Ilinka Mitreva began her political career as an elected member of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia, a position she has held since 1994. In May 2001, she was appointed to the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving in that role until November 2001. She reassumed this position in 2002.

    From 1998 to 2002, Mitreva served on a variety of committees and delegations, including the Foreign Policy Committee, Education and Science Committee, Committee on Culture, Delegation of the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia to the Central European Initiative, Parliamentary Group of the Republic of Macedonia for Cooperation with the European Parliament, and Parliamentary spokesperson for Foreign Affairs of the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM).

    Mitreva taught French Literature at the Faculty of Philology – University in Skopje and was Head of the Department of Romance Languages and Literature at the Faculty of Philology in Skopje in the late 1990s.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev was born on December 24 of 1961 in Baku. From 1967 through 1977 he studied in school in Baku. In 1977, he entered Moscow State University of International Relations (MSUIR). After his graduation in 1982, Mr. Aliyev continued his education as a post-graduate student in MSUIR.

    In 1985, he was awarded a Ph.D. in history. From 1985 through 1990, he was a lecturer at the Moscow State University of International Relations. From 1991 through 1994, he led a group of private industrial-commercial enterprises. From 1994 through 2003, he was a vice-president, and later the first vice-president of State Oil Company of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SOCAR), where he was actively involved in the implementation of Heydar Aliyev's oil strategy.

    In 1995 and 2000, he was twice elected to Milli Majlis (Parliament) of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In 2003, he stopped his activity as a member of Parliament due to the appointment to the post of Prime Minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    Since 1997, he has served as the President of the National Olympic Committee of Azerbaijan. For his great contribution to the development of sports and Olympic movement, Mr. Aliyev was awarded the highest order of the International Olympic Committee.

    In 1999, he was elected deputy, and in 2001 he was elected the first deputy of the ruling Yeni Azerbaijan Party. From 2001 through 2003, he was the head of Azerbaijani Parliamentary delegation to Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE). In January 2003, he was elected deputy-chairman of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and a member of the bureau of PACE. In April of 2004, for his active participation in PACE events and commitment to European values, Mr. Aliyev was awarded a medal and diploma of honorable member of PACE.

    On August 4, 2003, after confirmation of Milli Majlis (Parliament), he was appointed prime minister of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

    On October 15, 2003, he was elected president of the Republic of Azerbaijan. More than 76 % of voters supported Ilham Aliyev's candidacy during the elections. He assumed his post on October 31, 2003.

    Mr. Aliyev is fluent in Azerbaijani, Russian, English, French, and Turkish.

    He is the author of a number of books on the oil industry, economy, and history of the oil sector.

    Mr. Aliyev is married, has three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004 

  • Howard Davies is the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Prior to his current appointment he was chairman of the Financial Services Authority, the UK's single financial regulator since 1998.

    Howard Davies served for two years as deputy governor of the Bank of England which followed after three years as director general of the Confederation of British Industry.  From 1987 to 1992 he was controller of the Audit Commission. From 1982 to 1987 he worked for McKinsey & Company in London and during 1985 -1986 was seconded to the Treasury as special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he previously worked at the Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including two years as private secretary to the British Ambassador in Paris

    Howard Davies was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford, where he earned an MA in history and modern languages. In 1979 he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship and in 1980 he earned an MS in management sciences from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

    Between 2002 and June of 2010 he was a trustee of the Tate. He is a member of the governing body of the Royal Academy of Music and in 2004 was elected to an Honorary Fellowship at Merton College. In 2004 he joined the board of Morgan Stanley as a non-executive director. He was appointed to the Board of Paternoster in 2006 as a non-executive director, and chaired the Man Booker Prize in 2007. In 2009 he became an advisor to the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore. In October 2010 he was appointed to the board of Prudential as a nonexecutive director.

    In 2006 he edited and introduced The Chancellor's Tales on British economic policy from 1975 to 2000. In 2008 he jointly authored Global Financial Regulation: The Essential Guide with David Green. His third book, Banking on the Future: The Fall and Rise of Central Banking also with David Green, was published in April 2010. His latest book, The Financial Crisis: Who is to Blame?, was published in July 2010

    Howard Davies is married with two sons and lives in London. In his spare time he likes to watch his football team, Manchester City, and regularly plays cricket.

    Source: The Office of Howard Davies

  • Born in Asunción, Paraguay on July 5th, 1956
    Parents: Ramón Telmo Cartes Lind and Elva Jara Lafuente
    Siblings: Jorge, Sarah and Mercedes
    Children: Juan Pablo (28), Sofía (24), and María Sol (15)

    Following in the footsteps of his father Ramón Telmo Cartes Lind, a representative of the Cessna Aircraft Company in Paraguay, he studied at the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology in Tulsa, Oklahoma before a brief stint at Cessna in Wichita, Kansas.

    Successful Entrepreneurial Ventures
    In 1975, he would begin his entrepreneurial ventures.

    Mr. Carter´s main financial and commercial ventures are Banco Amambay (since 1992), Tabacalera del Este SA (controlled since 1994), Tabacos del Paraguay SA (since 1996), Compañía Agrotabacolera del Paraguay SA (since 2002 which focus in overseeing over 1.200 tobacco growers families), Bebidas del Paraguay, Agrocitrus del Paraguay SA. He has also focused his business efforts in the food industry, forming cattle companies such as Ganadera Sofia S.A., Ganadera Chajha S.A. and Ganadera Las Pampas S.A., developing genetic, cattle breeding and fattening. Presently, these companies employ over three thousand people, leading the local market with a strong sense of social responsibility. Cartes' signature business philosophy focuses on professional training of his employees, smart use of capital and innovation.

    In 2010, Great Place to Work Institute recognized Bebidas del Paraguay SA as one of the best 5 employers in the country. In 2012, three more Grupo Cartes companies including La Misión Ravenna, Tabacos del Paraguay and Ganadería Sofia joined Bebidas as some of the top 9 companies with best working conditions in Paraguay.

    Since 2001, he begins a stint presiding over Club Libertad, with ambitious plans of growth and development to reposition the team amongst the most important in the country and the continent. The next decade would see the team's heavy investment in infrastructure and roster development pay off with 7 national titles, a major stadium upgrade, several high finishes in continental competitions, major personnel contributions in the junior and senior national teams, all culminating in a historic rank amongst the top 15 football clubs in the world in 2006 and 2007.

    Cartes also presided as Director of Football for the Paraguayan National teams, playing an important role in the country's all-time best finish in a World Cup, a hard-fought quarterfinal loss to eventual World champions Spain in South Africa 2010.

    In September 2009, Cartes joins the Colorado Party. From the very beginning of his political involvement, he selflessly began a grassroots campaign to reposition the party. By July 2010, Cartes' standing in the party began to rise ahead of the primary elections. His main concerns were unity and hope. In November 2010, the ANR would win 132 of 238 municipal elections across the country including the major cities of Asunción, Ciudad del Este and Encarnación.

    That same month he would cofound the Movimiento Honor Colorado, they set sights on the Party Leadership elections that took place in March 2011, where Honor Colorado representative Lilian Samaniego beat out Frente Para La Victoria's Luis Castiglioni. Ms. Samaniego became the first woman in ANR history to preside over the party leadership. Up today, the Movimiento Honor Colorado is the biggest movement within the Colorado´s Party.

    Horacio Cartes and Juan Afara (Presidency and Vice-Presidency) won the primaries becoming the Lista 1 - Colorado Party ticket for the National Presidential elections of 2013.

    April 21, 2013 marked the return to power of the Colorado Party as Cartes' was elected by 45.8% of the final official vote-count. The Electoral Tribunal recognized the 2013 elections as one of the most transparent and most participated in the country's history.

    On August 15th of 2013, Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara will become the President of the Republic of Paraguay for the next 5 years (2013-2018) as stipulated in the National Constitution.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013

  • Hope Cohen, deputy director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Rethinking Development, is joining the Regional Plan Association as associate director of its new Center for Urban Innovation. Since coming to the Manhattan Institute in 2006, Cohen has focused principally on issues of urban environment and infrastructure, publishing Rethinking Environmental Review and The Neighborly Substation, in which she analyzed electrical substations in London, Edinburgh, Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, as well as Anaheim and New York. She served as the Manhattan Institute’s voice in the debate over congestion charging,  an issue that originated in London.

    Cohen worked for many years in the city’s public sector, in areas ranging from urban planning to capital budgeting to strategic information technology. She was at MTA New York City Transit for more than a decade, concentrating for much of that time on bringing the technology used for New York’s subway and bus systems into the twenty-first century. Since 1995, she has supplemented her professional work with voluntary public service as a member of Manhattan’s Community Board 7 (Upper West Side), where she has served as board chairperson as well as land-use cochairperson.

    Cohen holds a BA from Harvard and an MA from the University of Chicago.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Mswati III is the king of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal Family. In 1986, he succeeded his father Sobhuza II as ruler of the southern African kingdom. He is generally considered to be an absolute monarch, as he has the authority to appoint the country's Prime Minister, members of the governing cabinet, and the judiciary. However, he is bound to a certain degree by Swazi traditions and he does not have the authority to choose his heir.  In 2001 he attempted to curb the AIDS epidemic by invoking an ancient chastity rite, the umchwasho that banned women under the age of 18 from sex.

    In September of 2010, Mswati became chairman of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • His Holiness the 14th the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, is the 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 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.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 9/2005

  • Elected as the first full-time President of the European Council in November 2009, Herman Van Rompuy took office when the Lisbon Treaty came into force on 1 December 2009. In 2012, he was re-elected for a second term starting on 1 June 2012 and running until 30 November 2014.

    At the time of his first election, Herman Van Rompuy was Prime Minister of Belgium. Prior to that he had served in Belgium as Speaker of the House of Representatives (2007-2008) and in several government positions, including as Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Budget (1993-1999), Minister of State (2004) and Secretary of State for Finance and Small Businesses (1988).

    A former economist at the National Bank of Belgium, Herman Van Rompuy began his political career in 1973 as national vice-president of his party’s youth council. He has held various responsibilities within his party and in the Belgian Parliament, serving in turn as Senator (1988-1995) and Member of Parliament (1995-2009).

    Herman Van Rompuy holds a Bachelor in Philosophy, and a Master in Applied Economics from the university K.U. Leuven. He was born in Etterbeek, Belgium, on 31 October 1947, and is married with Geertrui Windels; they have four children and four grandchildren.

    Grammar School, Sint-Jan Berchmanscollege Brussels (1965)

    Bachelor of Philosophy, K.U.Leuven (1968)

    Master in Applied Economics, K.U.Leuven (1971)


    Career history:
    Attaché Internal Affairs National Bank of Belgium (1972-1975)

    Adviser Cabinet Prime Minister L. Tindemans (1975-1978)

    Adviser Cabinet Minister of Finance G. Geens (1978-1980)

    Director Centrum voor Politieke, Economische en Sociale Studies (1980-1988)

    Lecturer Handelshogeschool Antwerpen (1980-1987)

    Lecturer Vlaamse Economische Hogeschool Brussel (VLEKHO) (1982-2008)


    Political career:
    National vice-president C.V.P.-Jongeren (1973-1977)

    Member of the National C.V.P. Buro (1978-…)

    C.V.P.-negotiator for the government formation Martens-III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and Dehaene I, II

    C.V.P.-president of the district Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde (1982-1988)

    C.V.P.-senator (1988-1995)

    Secretary of State of Finance and Small Businesses (May 1988-Sept. 1988)

    C.V.P.-party National President (Sept. 1988-Sept. 1993)

    Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Budget (Sept. 1993-July 1999)

    CD&V MP in the House of Representatives (1995 -…)

    Minister of State (Jan. 2004)

    Speaker of the House of Representatives (July 2007- Dec. 2008)

    Royal Explorer (Sep. 2007)

    Royal Conciliator (Oct. 2007)

    Prime Minister (Dec. 2008 - Nov. 2009)

    President of the European Council (Dec. 2009 - ...)


    "De kentering der tijden", book published by Lannoo, 112 p. (1979)

    "Hopen na 1984", book published by Davidsfonds, Horizonreeks (September 1984)

    "Het christendom. Een moderne gedachte", book published by Davidsfonds, Forumreeks (September 1990)

    "Vernieuwing in hoofd en hart. Een tegendraadse visie", book published by Davidsfonds, Forumreeks (Autumn 1998)

    "De binnenkant op een kier. Avonden zonder politiek", book published by Lannoo, 165 p. (2000)

    "Dagboek van een vijftiger", book published by Davidsfonds, 144 p. (October 2004)

    "Haiku", Poezie Centrum, Gent, 125 p. (April 2010)

    "In de wereld van Herman Van Rompuy", with Katleen Cools, Borgerhoff&Lamberigts, 200 p. (October 2010)


    Honorary awards:
    European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi 2012, Vienna (16 November 2012)

    Otto von der Gablentz Prize, The Hague (18 April 2012)

    Grand Ribbon holder of the Order of Leopold (2009)

    Doctor Honoris Causa degree at the Catholic University of Louvain (2 February 2010)

    BeNeLux-Europa Prize, Breda (12 June 2010)

    Harvard Club of Belgium Leadership Prize, Brussels (8 September 2010)

    "Collier du Mérite européen" awarded by the European Merit Foundation, Luxembourg (25 November 2010)

    Nueva Economía Forum Prize, Madrid (10 December 2010)

    Honorary Doctorate at the University of Kobe (4 March 2011)

    Honorary Doctorate at the University of Ghent (18 March 2011)

    Grand Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour (December 2011)

    "Gouden Penning" awarded by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts (Brussels, 14 January 2012)

    Honorary senator E Meritu et Honoris Causa of the Movement for a United States of Europe – Action Centre for European federalism (AEF - BVSE) – Antwerp, 5 February 2012 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013

  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder. He has authored or coauthored twenty-one books and created fifteen documentary films, including the PBS series Finding Your Roots. His most recent book is Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow.

    Source: University Libraries, September 2020

  • Dr. Hans Blix was born in 1928 in Uppsala, Sweden.  He studied at the University of Uppsala; Columbia University, where he was also a research graduate; and at Cambridge University, where he received his

    Ph.D (1958). He became Doctor of Laws at the Stockholm University in 1959. In 1960, he was appointed Associate Professor in International Law.

    From 1963 to 1976, Dr. Blix served as Adviser on International Law in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  In 1976, he became Under-Secretary of State, in charge of international development cooperation.  He was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in October 1978. He served as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency for four terms, from 1981 until 1997.

    Dr. Blix has several honorary doctorates and is a recipient of a number of decorations and awards. He is a member of the Institut de Droit International and an honorary member of the American Society of International Law.

    He has written several books on subjects associated with international and constitutional law. He has further written many articles on questions relating to energy and to the problems of spread of nuclear weapons. He was the leader of the Liberal Campaign Committee in connection with the referendum on the Swedish nuclear energy programme in 1980. He published the book, “Disarming Iraq” in March 2004 and “Why Disarmament Matters” in April 2008.

    Dr. Blix was appointed Executive Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) for Iraq by the UN Secretary-General in January 2000. He took up his duties on 1 March 2000 and left the post at the end of June 2003, with the expiry of his third contract. On his return to Sweden, the Swedish Government has asked him to form and chair an independent international commission on weapons of mass destruction (WMDC). In May 2006 the Commission published the report “Weapons of Terror. Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons”.

    Dr. Blix lives in Stockholm and is married to Eva Kettis, formerly ambassador in charge of Arctic and Antarctic issues in the Swedish Foreign Ministry. They have two sons.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2014

  • Hamid Karzai was born on December 24, 1957, in the village of Karz, near Kandahar, Afghanistan.

    His grandfather, Khair Mohammad Khan, had served in Afghanistan's war of independence and as Deputy Speaker of the Senate. His father, Abdul Ahad Karzai, was a Popalzai tribal elder and a significant political figure who served as Deputy Speaker of the Parliament during the 1960s.

    Hamid Karzai studied at Mahmood Hotaki Elementary School, Sayed Jamaluddin Afghani School, and Habibia High School. After graduating high school in 1976, he traveled to India as an exchange student and was accepted by the International Relations and Political Science M.A. program at Simla University. He obtained his Master's Degree in 1983, shortly after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    Hamid Karzai traveled to Pakistan and joined the Mujahideen resisting the Soviet occupation of his homeland. In 1985, he traveled to Lille, France to attend a three-month journalism course. Upon returning to Pakistan, he served as Director of Information for the National Liberation Front led by Professor Sebghatullah Mujadidi. He later became the Deputy Director of its Political Office.

    After the formation of the Mujahideen's transitional government in 1989, Hamid Karzai was appointed as Director of the Foreign Relations Unit in the Office of the President of the Interim Government. When the Mujahideen Government was established in Kabul in 1992, he was appointed as its Deputy Foreign Minister.

    When the civil war between various Mujahideen groups began two years later, he resigned from his post and began to work actively for the organization of a national Loya Jirga (Grand Council). A devoted Muslim and Afghan patriot, he believed that only a Loya Jirga could resolve the differences of the competing parties peacefully. This hope was borne out by the Emergency Loya Jirga of 2002 and the Constitutional Loya Jirga in 2003.

    In August 1999, Abdul Ahad Karzai, who was organizing resistance to the Taliban from his base in Quetta, Pakistan, was assassinated by the Taliban and their foreign supporters. This tragedy did not shake the Karzai family's commitment to ridding Afghanistan of this foreign menace, and the son continued his father's struggle against the Taliban.

    Hamid Karzai returned to Uruzgan province in October 2001 and worked to coordinate local efforts to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban and their supporters. On December 5, 2001, while he was still in Afghanistan leading these efforts, he was elected Chairman of the Interim Administration of Afghanistan by participants at the UN-sponsored Bonn Conference. He, along with the appointed cabinet, took the oath of office on December 22, 2001.

    His role as leader of the country was confirmed by members of the Emergency Loya Jirga when he was elected President of the Transitional Government on June 13, 2002. In Afghanistan's first presidential election on October 9, 2004, Hamid Karzai won the majority of votes and was elected to a 5-year term as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. He took his oath of allegiance at Salam Khana Palace on December 7, 2004, in the presence of dignitaries and officials from around the world.

    As president, Hamid Karzai is viewed as a uniting force for all Afghans. He has long been an advocate for improving human rights and the role of Afghan women in particular. He has appointed several women to his cabinet, and recently appointed the first female governor in Afghanistan's history.

    Hamid Karzai has been awarded many honours, among them an Honourary Knighthood from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (2003), the Philadelphia Liberty Medal (2004), and the American Bar Association-Asia Rule of Law Award (2003).

    In 1999, he married Dr. Zeenat Quraishi. He has six brothers and one sister, speaks fluent Pashtu, Dari, Urdu, and English, and enjoys riding horses and studying philosophy.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • Hage Geingob was voted in as president in the November 2014 elections while serving as prime minister.

    It was Africa's first electronic ballot, in which voters made their choice using e-voting machines at the 4,000 polling stations across the country.

    He succeeded Hifikepunye Pohamba, who steps down at the end of the two terms allowed by the constitution. Dr Geingob, who was born in 1941, became prime minister when Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990 and served in that position until 2002.

    He became prime minister again in 2012, having served for a spell as minister of trade and industry. In 2007 he was chosen as vice-president of the ruling party and former liberation movement - South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) - which has been in power since independence.

    He spent several years abroad promoting the idea of independence for what was then known as South West Africa. Following UN-supervised elections in the run-up to independence, he chaired the constituent assembly which drafted the constitution which came into effect with Namibian independence. His doctoral thesis at the University of Leeds, in Britain, was titled "State Formation in Namibia: Promoting Democracy and Good Governance". He gained his PhD in 2004. The president, who shares executive power with the cabinet, is limited to two five-year terms.

    Source: The BBC News, March 2015

  • Ha Jin, the recipient of many of America’s most prestigious awards for writing, is the pen named used by the Chinese-American writer Jin Xuefei.  He received the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel Waiting; the PEN/Hemingway Award for Ocean of Words; the PEN/Faulkner Award for War Trash, which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction for his story collection Under the Red FlagThe First Emperor is Ha Jin’s first opera libretto.

    Ha Jin was born in Liaoning, China in 1956 and served five years in the People’s Liberation Army during the Cultural Revolution.  Jin later received a Bachelor’s degree in English studies from Heilongjiang University and a Master’s degree in American literature from Shandong University.  He left China in 1985 to study for a Ph.D. at Brandeis University and, shortly after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, decided to emigrate. He is currently a professor at Boston University and lives outside of Boston.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2006

  • Gurbanguly Malikgulyyevich Berdymukhammedov was born in the village of Barabab in the Geoktepe district in 1957. He graduated from the Turkmen State Medical Institute in 1979. He holds a master's degree in medical sciences.

    From 1979 to 1997, he occupied various posts in the system of the Ministry of Healthcare and medical industry of Turkmenistan: teacher; associate professor of preventive dentistry; dean of the stomatology department of the Turkmen State Medical Institute; director of the Stomatology Center of the Ministry of healthcare and medical industry of Turkmenistan. In 1997, he was appointed minister of healthcare and medical industry of Turkmenistan, chief executive of the State fund for development of healthcare of Turkmenistan and acting rector of the Turkmen State Medical Institute.

    On April 3, 2001, by the decree of the President of Turkmenistan, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan.

    By resolution of the State Security Council of Turkmenistan and the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan, he was appointed acting president of Turkmenistan, supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Turkmenistan on December 21, 2006.

    He was awarded Orders "Galkynys" ("Revival"), "Prezidentin Yyldyzy" ("Star of the President") as well as the Order of the President of Turkmenistan "Garassyz Turkmenistana bolan beyik soygusi ucin" ("For the great love of independent Turkmenistan"), and Medals "Watana bolan soygusi ucin" ("For the love of Motherland"), "Turkmenistanyn Garassyzlygynyn 11 yyllygyna" ("the 11th anniversary of independence of Turkmenistan").

    On February 14, 2007, he was elected president of Turkmenistan for a 5-year term.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • Geraldine James has won renown on stage, film and television alike as one of Britain’s most admired actresses. She rose to prominence in the 1980s with her celebrated performances in Sir Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi and in the highly respected television series The Jewel in the Crown.  In 1989, she was named Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, sharing the award with Peggy Ashcroft for her work in She’s Been Away. On stage, she has notably appeared in Sir Peter Hall’s productions of Lysistrata (at the Old Vic) and The Merchant of Venice, in which she starred opposite Dustin Hoffman. Other important theatre credits include Hedda Gabler at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Cymbeline at the National Theatre and Death and the Maiden at the Duke of York Theatre. Recent films and television dramas include The Luzhin Defence, directed by Marleen Gorris, and Sins, directed by Simon Curtis. She was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2003.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • George Soros is Chair of Soros Fund Management LLC and the Founder of the Open Society Institute. He was born in Budapest in 1930. He survived the Nazi occupation and fled communist Hungary in 1947 for England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. He then settled in the United States, where he accumulated a large fortune through an international investment fund he founded and managed. Soros has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend Cape Town University in apartheid South Africa. He has established a network of philanthropic organizations active in more than 50 countries around the world. These organizations are dedicated to promoting the values of democracy and an open society. The foundation network spends about $450 million annually. Soros is the author of eleven books, including most recently The Soros Lectures at the Central European University. His articles and essays on politics, society, and economics regularly appear in major newspapers and magazines around the world.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2010

  • Member of Parliament and Former Prime Minister of Greece; SIPA Global Fellow and Adjunct Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

    George A. Papandreou became prime minister of Greece in October 2009. A lifelong Socialist, his time in office has been dominated by the debt crisis left behind by his conservative predecessor.

    In November 2011, two years after he set off the long-running European debt crisis by revealing that his predecessor had covered up a huge budget deficit, Mr. Papandreou agreed to step down as part of a deal that created a unity government in return for support for a debt relief plan negotiated by other European leaders.

    He has previously served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Alternate    Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs for Greece.  He graduated from Amherst College and holds an M.Sc. in Sociology and Development from London School of Economics.

    Source: The New York Times and www.papandreous.gr, February 2013 

  • Geeta Rao Gupta is President of the International Center for Research on Women. She is a leading global authority on women’s role in development and a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment and the protection and fulfillment of women’s rights.  She has worked at ICRW since 1988, first as a consultant and researcher and, since 1997, as President.  Dr. Rao Gupta is an internationally renowned expert on women and HIV/AIDs; in the early 1990s, she spearheaded a ground-breaking 15-country research program identifying the social and economic roots of women’s vulnerability to HIV infection.  

    Dr. Rao Gupta serves on the Boards of InterAction and the Moriah Fund. In addition, she is as an advisor to the UNAIDS Global Coalition on Women and AIDS and was co-chair of the U.N. Millennium Project’s Task Force on Education and Gender Equality.

    Dr. Rao Gupta was educated in India. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Bangalore University, a Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Delhi, and both a Master and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Delhi. She is proud to have been part of the team that developed the first women’s studies curriculum for graduate students in India, at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Gary White is an observer, an innovator, and a passionate problem-solver. He has created solutions that have empowered millions of people in need with access to safe water and sanitation.

    Gary is the CEO and Co-founder of Water.org and WaterEquity, nonprofit organizations dedicated to empowering people in the developing world to gain access to safe water and sanitation. Gary developed Water.org’s WaterCredit solution, creating new financing options for poor populations to meet their water supply and sanitation needs. He also developed and leads WaterEquity, an impact investment manager dedicated to ending the global water crisis, with an exclusive focus on mobilizing private investments in water and sanitation throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

    Bringing more than 30 years of experience to work on solving the global water and sanitation crisis, Gary is a leading advisor in the water and sanitation space, counseling organizations such as the IKEA Foundation, Inditex, Reckitt, AB InBev, Amazon Web Services, the Water Resilience Coalition, and Bank of America on responses to the global water crisis. He is also a founding board member of the Millennium Water Alliance and Water Advocates.

    Named to TIME magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people, Gary has been awarded the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship, named to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Water, and selected as Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur and a Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur.

    Gary’s educational credentials include three degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Missouri University of Science & Technology.

    Source: Water.org and WaterEquity, September 2023

  • Gary Tubb studied Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University (AB 1973, AM 1976, PHD 1979) and in India, and has taught at Harvard, Brown, Vassar, and Columbia. He offers courses on Sanskrit language and literature and on the literary, religious, and philosophical traditions of India. In his research he is especially interested in Sanskrit literary theory and related scholastic traditions, and he has written primarily on Sanskrit poetry and poetics.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2005

  • Gary Gensler was sworn in as the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on May 26, 2009. Chairman Gensler previously served at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as under secretary of domestic finance (1999-2001) and as assistant secretary of financial markets (1997-1999).  He subsequently served as a senior advisor to the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Senator Paul Sarbanes, on the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reforming corporate responsibility, accounting, and securities laws.

    As under secretary of the Treasury, Chairman Gensler was the principal advisor to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and later to Secretary Lawrence Summers on all aspects of domestic finance.  The office was responsible for formulating policy and legislation in the areas of U.S. financial markets, public debt management, the banking system, financial services, fiscal affairs, federal lending, government sponsored enterprises, and community development.  In recognition of this service, he was awarded the Treasury’s highest honor, the Alexander Hamilton Award.

    Prior to joining the Treasury, Chairman Gensler worked for eighteen years at Goldman Sachs, where he was selected as a partner; in his last role he was co-head of finance.

    Chairman Gensler is the co-author of a book, The Great Mutual Fund Trap, which presents common sense investment advice for middle income Americans.

    He is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1978, with a BS in economics and received an MBA from the Wharton School’s graduate division in 1979.  He lives with his three daughters outside of Baltimore, Maryland.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2010

  • Gabriel Boric Font was born in Punta Arenas, on February 11, 1986, and is the first child of the marriage between María Soledad Font Aguilera and Luis Javier Boric Scarpa.

    He followed elementary and high school education at the British School of Punta Arenas, where at some point in his childhood he was president of his class.

    In 2004, he was admitted to the Law School of the University of Chile, where his academic level led him to be assistant to the professor in various courses like International Law of Human Rights, Institutional History of Chile and Theory of Justice.

    He was elected Counsellor of the University of Chile’s Student Federation (FECH) in 2008, representing the Law Faculty, and the next year, he became Chair of the Center of Law Students (CED). In addition, he was a University Senator during the years 2010 and 2011.

    In late 2011, after one of the years of largest student mobilizations since the return to democracy, he won the election to lead the University of Chile’s Student Federation.

    In 2013 he began his parliamentary career, launching his candidacy as a deputy for the 28th district of the Magallanes Region, being elected with the first majority in the district, without having had a traditional political coalition to support him.

    During the first month of his first period (2014 and 2018), he submitted a bill to reduce the parliamentary diet. In addition, he was a member of the Permanent Commissions on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples; Extreme Zones and Chilean Antarctica; and Labor and Social Security.

    In 2016, he promoted the creation of the Frente Amplio. In that presidential and parliamentary election they succeeded to consolidate themselves as the third political force in the country, just a few months after its creation, in addition to obtaining his own re-election as deputy, with the second majority nationwide.

    During his last years as a deputy, Chile was experiencing a great sociopolitical crisis. After weeks of widespread demonstrations of social discontent, Gabriel Boric decides to sign the "Agreement for Social Peace and a New Constitution", which led to the recent constitutional process in the country.

    On March 17, 2021, he was proclaimed presidential candidate by his political party, Convergencia Social, also being supported by Revolución Democrática, thus initiating the collection of signatures that would end on May 17 with the official registration on the race to La Moneda and calling for broad primaries of the entire opposition.

    These primaries were only materialized with the coalition Apruebo-Dignidad, on July 18, 2021, achieving a victory against his competitor, Daniel Jadue with 60% of the total voting power.

    On December 19, he successfully won the second round of polls, with a great advantage over his opponent, achieving 55.8% of the total number of votes, thus becoming the highest voted President, with the highest participation, and being the youngest in the entire history of the Republic of Chile.

    Source: Office of the President of Chile, August 2022

  • Dr Fred Sai, a Ghanaian family health physician, trained in the Universities of London, Edinburgh and Harvard, is an internationally recognized gender and reproductive health advocate. He is also well known for drawing attention to the food and nutrition problems of Africa, particularly of women and children.

    He has held important positions both in Ghana and internationally including, as Director of Medical Services and Professor of Community Health in Ghana; as nutrition adviser to the FAO, Africa Region, as coordinator for the World Hunger Programme of the UN University and as Senior Population Advisor to the Word Bank. In the last position he was instrumental in getting the Bank to increase its commitment to population and family planning activities and to work more closely with NGOs...

    Dr Sai was president of IPPF from 1989 to 1995; was recipient of the UN Population Award in 1993, and has received many awards and honours for his work in population, reproductive health and nutrition. These include honorary doctorates from Tufts University in the USA, and the University of Ghana, Legon. He has also been accorded the Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, UK, for his promotion of women’s health and rights

    Dr Sai is world renowned for his chairing of various international conferences including the WHO/UNICEF Infant and young Child Feeding Conference in 1979 which led to the development of the International Code on Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes; moderator for the 1987 Safe Motherhood Conference which launched the Safe Motherhood Initiative, and chairman for the Main Committees of the International Conference on Population in Mexico in 1984.and of the International Conference on Population and Development, ICPD, in Cairo in 1994. It was this last conference which produced the Programme of Action, emphasising the centrality of women to all development programmes and called for world attention to the improvement in the status of women and for equity and equality between the sexes as the basis of all human relationships

    Dr. Sai is supposed to be retired now but he is as involved as ever, nationally, as advisor to the Government of Ghana on Reproductive Health and HIV/AIDS issues; and internationally in the promotion of the ICPD Agenda. He is an external director of the Bank of Ghana (the central bank) and a member of the board of directors of several US NGOs working in Sexual and Reproductive Health.

    He has published quite extensively on an array of health issues; latterly dwelling on the ethical issues in the Sexual and Reproductive Health field. His most recent books are:

    “Adam and Eve and the Serpent”, dealing with the inequalities and the difficulties faced by African Women; and “Fred Sai Speaks Out” which is a collection of essays on his views of the reproductive health field. This includes a letter to the late Pope asking for a reconsideration of the Vatican’s anti-contraception and family planning stand.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • December 2019-present: European Commission Executive Vice President for the European Green Deal

    2014-2019: First Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights

    2012-2014: Minister of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

    2010-2012 and 1998-2007: Member of the Dutch parliament, Partij van de Arbeid (Dutch Labour Party)

    2007-2010: Minister of European Affairs, The Netherlands

    1995-1998: Senior Advisor and Private Secretary to High Commissioner on National Minorities of the OSCE Max van der Stoel

    1994-1995: Staff member of EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek

    1993-1994: Deputy Head of the EC Affairs Section, Directorate-General for Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs., The Netherlands

    1990-1993: Second Secretary, Dutch embassy in Moscow

    1987-1990: Policy Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

    1984-1985: Postgraduate courses in European Law and French Literature, University of Nancy

    1980-1985: Degree in French language and literature, Radboud University Nijmegen

    Source: European Commission, September 2022

  • François Delattre was appointed Ambassador of France to the United States in February 2011 following several North American postings; he served as Ambassador to Canada (2008-2011), Consul-General in New York (2004-2008) and Press and Communications Director at the French Embassy in Washington, DC (1998-2002).

    Before becoming the Foreign Minister’s deputy chief of staff (2002-2004), Mr. Delattre monitored defense issues as well as European and transatlantic security concerns. He was responsible for these issues, including the Bosnia crisis, as a member of President Jacques Chirac’s foreign policy team (1995-1998).

    Mr. Delattre was responsible for these same portfolios as a staffer for Foreign Minister Alain Juppé (1993-1995), following two years at the Department of Strategic Affairs and Disarmament at the Quai d’Orsay (1991-1993).

    Before that, he served at the French Embassy in Bonn, Germany (1989-1991), where he was notably in charge of environmental issues and Germany’s economic integration following reunification.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2012

  • Fiona serves as Global President of Mars Food, Drinks, and Multisales and is a member of the Mars, Incorporated Leadership Team, overseeing sales in excess of $35B. Fiona has had a long career with Mars, Incorporated, serving previously as the President of Mars Global Retail and Mars Chocolate UK, during which time she was a pivotal member of the UK Responsibility Deal. Mars Food is the third largest segment of Mars, Incorporated and is the proud provider of much-loved brands like UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO® and MASTERFOODS®. Mars, Incorporated has over 85,000 Associates worldwide operating in over 80 countries across six business segments including Petcare, Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Food, Drinks, and Symbioscience.

    Fiona has a passion for the advancement of women’s entrepreneurship and human rights, especially in the developing world. She is a member of the Women’s Business Council and has served on the Economic Development Advisory Group to the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).

    SOURCE: https://ic-sd.org/events/icsd-2017/

    : Filipe Jacinto Nyusi                     
    Date of Birth: 9 February 1959
    Place of Birth: Mueda, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique
    Parents’ names: Son of Jacinto Nyusi Chimela and Angelina Daima (both deceased)
    Marital Status: Married to Madam Isaura Ferrão Nyusi and father of 4 children
    Nationality: Mozambican


    • Since 15 January 2015 - Filipe Jacinto Nyusi is the President of the Republic of Mozambique
    • 2008-2014 – He was the Minister of Defence
    • 2012 – He was elected member of the Central Committee of FRELIMO Party, by the 10th Congress held in Pemba; he was a member of the Provincial Committee of Frelimo Party in Nampula
    • 2005-2014 – He is a member of the Association of the National Liberation Struggle Fighters (ACLLN) and a member of its National Committee
    • 1973– Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, at the age of 14 joined the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), and underwent Political Military Training at the Nachingwea Camp, in Tanzania
    • 1975 – As a Pioneer (continuador) he was party to the group that represented Students from Tunduru Educational Centre in the celebrations of the proclamation of National independence, on 25 June 1975, at the Machava Stadium in Maputo


    • 2003 – He was awarded a certificate in Management Education by the India Institute of Management (IMM), in Amadbad, State of Gujarat, in India
    • 1999 – He completed Post Graduate Studies in Senior Management at the Victoria University, in Manchester, United Kingdom
    • 1990 – He completed Mechanical Engineering Course, at VAAZ de Brno Military Academy –, Czech Republic, where he was awarded a Master’s degree in Engineering and honoured as the Best Student
    • 1982 – He completed the second Cycle of Secondary Education at Samora Machel Secondary School, in Beira City, Sofala Province
    • 1980 – He completed the first Cycle of Secondary Education, at FRELIMO Secondary School, in Marire, Cabo-Delgado Province
    • 1974 – He completed primary education, at the Tunduru Educational Centre, in Tanzania; he attended various courses and short term professional attachments, in Swaziland, South Africa and the United States of America


    • Filipe Jacinto Nyusi started his professional career at the Mozambique Ports and Railways Company, in 1992, in Nampula
    • 1992 to 1993 – he was a worker and Assistant to the Chief General Workshop, in Nampula
    • 1993 to 1995 – he was the Railways Director, Nampula
    • 1995 to 2007 – he was the Managing Director of the Mozambique Railways Company – Northern Region, Nampula
    • 2007 to 2008 – he served as the Executive Manager of the Mozambique Ports and Railways Company, in Maputo
    • 2002 to 2008 – he was a part time lecturer at the Pedagogical University, in Nampula, Mathematics Department
    • 1995 to 2005 – he was the President of Club Ferroviário de Nampula (Railways Sports Club), having conquered the trophy as the 2004 National Soccer Champion; For three years he was a member of the Community of Higher Education Science and Technology, in Nampula Province.

    Source: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Mozambique to the United Nations, September 2015


  • Faye Wattleton is the president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, an independent, nonpartisan non-profit research and education institution dedicated to advocating for the advancement of women.

    From 1978 to 1992, as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Ms. Wattleton  played an unsurpassed role in defining the national debate over reproductive rights and health, and in shaping family planning policies and programs around the world.  As the youngest person and first woman named to the presidency of the nation's oldest and largest voluntary reproductive health organization, Ms. Wattleton's vision, leadership and courage projected Planned Parenthood into the forefront of the battle to preserve women's fundamental right to self-determination.  Under her leadership, PPFA grew to become the nation’s seventh largest charitable organization, providing medical and educational services to four million Americans each year, through 170 affiliates, operating in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  Under Ms. Wattleton’s guidance, PPFA also supported family planning programs in dozens of developing nations through its international division, Family Planning International Assistance. 

    Ms. Wattleton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Ohio State University and a Master of Science degree in maternal and infant care, with certification as a nurse-midwife, from Columbia University.  In addition, she has received twelve honorary doctoral degrees; Simmons College (1993), Hofstra University (1992), Haverford College (1992), Meadville Lombard Seminary at the University of Chicago (1992), Bard College (1991), Oberlin College (1991), Wesleyan University (1991), Northeastern University Law School (1990), Long Island University (1990), University of Pennsylvania (1990), Spellman College (1986), and St. Paul's College (1985).

    Ms. Wattleton was a 1993 Inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  Her memoir, Life on the Line, was published, in the fall of 1996, by Ballantine Books.

    Ms. Wattleton presently serves on the boards of directors of Savient Pharmaceuticals, WellChoice, Inc., Quidel Corporation, Columbia University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Pardee RAND Graduate School and the United Nations Association of the United States of America.


    • 2004 Fries Prize for Improving Health
    • 21 Leaders for the 21st Century: Women’s eNews Honor
    • Life of Commitment Award, Auburn Theological Seminary
    • Mothers’ Voices Extraordinary Vision Award
    • National Mother’s Day Committee Outstanding Mother
    • The American Public Health Association's Award of Excellence

    -    The American Humanist Award presented by the American

          Humanist Association

    • The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Humanitarian Award
    • The Independent Sector's John Gardner Award;
    • The American Nurses Association’s Women's Honor in Public Service
    • Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service performed by a Private Citizen
    • Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award

    Ms. Wattleton is a celebrated lecturer whose views on issues of women’s equality, health care and civil rights continue to be sought by organizations, opinion and political leaders around the world.  In 1994, she was named one of the best female speakers in the United States by NEW WOMAN magazine.

    BUSINESS WEEK named her one of the best managers of non-profit organizations in America; MONEY magazine selected Ms. Wattleton as one of five outstanding Americans, who project the forces that will shape our lives in the year 2000; ESQUIRE named Ms. Wattleton as one of the 25 most influential people in America, EBONY named her as one of the 100 Most Fascinating Black Women Of The 20th Century, while PEOPLE listed Ms. Wattleton as one of the 25 most beautiful people in the world, and HARPER'S BAZAAR selected her as one of the ten most beautiful women in America.  Cover stories on Ms. Wattleton have appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES magazine, BLACK ENTERPRISE, MS., WORKING WOMAN and Heart & Soul magazine.  In a poll of SASSY magazine readers, she was named "one of the twenty coolest women ever." 

    She has appeared in numerous national publications and on public affairs and news programs, including "GOOD MORNING AMERICA", “OPRAH”, "ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT", "60 MINUTES", "THE MACNEIL-LEHRER NEWSHOUR", "TODAY", "20/20",  "NIGHTLINE", MSNBC’s “HOCKENBERRY”,"POLITICALLY INCORRECT WITH  BILL MAHER", "CBS THIS MORNING" and "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS".

    In the book, Remarkable Women of The Twentieth Century, Ms. Wattleton is cited for the “Courage of Her Convictions.”  “In the face of resistance, public ridicule, or even mortal danger, these women listened to their hearts and their unshakeable faith.  In standing up for what they believed in they spoke out for many who dared not.”  The book Fifty On Fifty features Faye Wattleton as one of 50 “remarkable role models”.  From Suffrage to Senate called her “the most visible and persuasive spokesperson for reproductive rights in the nation in the latter part of the century.  Ms. Wattleton was also featured in a national photography exhibit, "I DREAM A WORLD: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America".

  • On January 12, 2007, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed became the Chief Adviser for the Caretaker Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Prior to his appointment as the Chief Adviser, Dr. Ahmed worked as Chairman of the Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, (PKSF) from June 2005 to January 2007. PKSF is the largest apex fund for micro credit in the world, currently providing financial and institution-building assistance to over 200 hundred micro-finance companies.

    From October of 2001 to April of 2005, Dr. Ahmed served as Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, where he introduced wide-ranging reforms in the conduct of monetary and exchange rate policy, in the development of new financial markets (bond market) and financial instruments (securitization), and in the operation of the financial system. The financial sector reforms included stronger corporate governance measures at the board level, and also on internal policies, processes and structures within the banking industry and for non-banking financial institutions. Other significant reforms undertaken during his tenure included strengthening the capacity of the Bangladesh Bank; floating the exchange rate with minimal volatility; introducing interest rate flexibility and bringing down the interest rate substantially, which in turn contributed to a significant increase in industrial investment; introducing major corporate governance measures for the first time in the Bangladeshi corporate sector; and making the Bangladesh Bank an effective regulator. The reforms implemented during Dr. Ahmed’s tenure contributed to macroeconomic and financial sector growth and stability in a significant way.

    Dr. Ahmed served for over 20 years at the World Bank, where he focused on macroeconomic issues, as well as, on other sectors and policy issues related to development.  Prior to joining the World Bank, he served for fifteen years in the Civil Service of Pakistan and in the Government of Bangladesh. He has also held several key positions in the office of the Joint Secretary, the Economic Relations Division, and the Ministry of Finance.

    The son of a physician, Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh on May 1, 1940.  Dr. Ahmed was first in his class in both receiving his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in economics from Dhaka University. He subsequently received a second master’s degree in development economics from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, while on leave from his civil service appointments. 

    He is married and has one son.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • President Evo Morales was born in Bolivia on October 26, 1959, in a poor and forgotten community in the Bolivian Altiplano (high plain) called Isallavi, which is part of the Orinoca parish near Lake Poopó in Oruro.

    President Morales descends from an Aymara family, an indigenous nation that has as its fundamental principles “Ama shua, ama llulla, ama quella”, which translated means “Don't lie, don't steal and don't be lazy.” President Morales worked in agriculture since childhood and was responsible for the care of a herd of llamas. He put himself through high school working as a bricklayer, baker, and trumpet player. He also proved to be a very gifted soccer player. President Morales attended Beltrán Avila High School, although he feels his most essential education has come from the “university of life.”

    In 1982 the Bolivian Altiplano was faced with the worst drought in its history forcing thousands of families, including the Morales Ayma family, to leave their homes and communities. Many migrated to the tropics of Cochabamba (Chapare), located in the eastern Bolivian lowlands. Morales soon joined a local union of coca growers. In 1983 his union made him head of the local soccer organization. From this first post in the labor union, he quickly ascended the ranks occupying various posts. In 1985 he was elected General Secretary of the Tropics Federation. In 1996 Morales was made president of the Coordinating Committee of the Six Federations of the Tropics of Cochabamba. In 1997 he was elected to Congress – in a landslide victory – representing the 27th district of Chapare.  In January 2002, however, the neo-liberal parties expelled him from the National Congress.

    In the elections of June 2002, the Movement Towards Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, known by its acronym MAS, meaning “more” in Spanish), led by President Morales, rejected the traditional political parties of Bolivia, getting 581,884 votes and electing 36 members to the National Congress. Since the municipal elections in December 2004, MAS has become the leading political force of Bolivia. Opponents of President Morales accused him not only of being a terrorist, but also of being a member of a guerilla group and a drug-trafficker. Despite this visceral smear campaign, Evo Morales surpassed all political projections by winning 53.7% of the popular vote of Bolivia on December 18, 2005, becoming the country’s first indigenous President.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2008

  • Erna Solberg was born and educated in Bergen: Norway’s ancient maritime capital and gateway to the Atlantic Ocean.

    Erna Solberg has combined numerous national positions as Minister, Parliamentarian, and regional politician with a strong commitment to global solutions for development, growth, and conflict resolution.

    As Prime Minister, and former Chair of the Norwegian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, she has championed transatlantic values and security.

    In 2018 she assembled a global High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy and introduced the topic at the G7 Summit. Her Government supports the World Bank’s PROblue initiative to prevent marine damage.

    Since 2016, the Prime Minister has cochaired the UN Secretary General’s Advocacy group for the Sustainable Development goals. Among the goals, she takes a particular interest in access to quality education for all, in particular girls and children in conflict areas. This was also central in her work as MDG Advocate from 2013 to 2016.

    Solberg has secured significant financial support for the Global Partnership for Education and hosted the Global Finance Facility for women’s and children’s health pledging Conference in Oslo in November 2018. Her firm belief is that investment in education will accelerate progress on all other SDG goals.

    She was awarded the inaugural Global Citizen World Leader Award in 2018 for her international engagement.

    Solberg has been the leader of the Conservative Party of Norway (EPP, IDU) since 2004 and has held the position of Prime Minister since the General Election in 2013. She was reelected in September 2017.

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister of Norway, October 2020

  • Erik Berglöf was named the chief economist and special adviser to the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2006. Prior to that, Mr. Berglöf was the director of the Stockholm Institute of Transition Economics (SITE) and a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, he was appointed a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. He has also been an assistant professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and has held visiting positions at Harvard, Stanford and MIT.

    Mr. Berglöf is a widely published and internationally respected specialist in the field of financial development and transition economics with a focus on policy-related issues. He has regularly provided advice to national governments and international institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

    Erik Berglöf was the founder and president of the Centre for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR) in Moscow and a program director at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) in London.  

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • Eric H. Holder, Jr. was sworn in as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States on February 3, 2009 by Vice President Joe Biden. President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Mr. Holder on December 1, 2008.

    In 1997, Mr. Holder was named by President Clinton to be the Deputy Attorney General, the first African-American named to that post. Prior to that he served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. In 1988, Mr. Holder was nominated by President Reagan to become an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

    Mr. Holder, a native of New York City, attended public schools there, graduating from Stuyvesant High School where he earned a Regents Scholarship. He attended Columbia College, majored in American History, and graduated in 1973. He graduated from Columbia Law School in 1976.

    While in law school, he clerked at the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund and the Department of Justice's Criminal Division. Upon graduating, he moved to Washington and joined the Department of Justice as part of the Attorney General's Honors Program. He was assigned to the newly formed Public Integrity Section in 1976 and was tasked to investigate and prosecute official corruption on the local, state and federal levels.

    Prior to becoming Attorney General, Mr. Holder was a litigation partner at Covington & Burling LLP in Washington.

    Mr. Holder lives in Washington with his wife, Dr. Sharon Malone, a physician, and their three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2012

  • Eric Foner is one of this country’s most prominent historians. His work on the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and nineteenth century America has garnered innumerable awards, including a Pulitzer Prize and two Bancroft prizes. No modern historian has done more to affirm the centrality of the Reconstruction Era to the American political story, and to center it in contemporary debates. Foner’s newest book, The Second Founding:How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution focuses on the battles over the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments.

    Source: University Libraries, September 2020

  • Enrique Bolaños Geyer was born in Masaya, Nicaragua on 13 May 1928. He became the 47th President of Nicaragua on January 10, 2002.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • Enrico Letta is the President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic. He was sworn in as President of the Council of Ministers on April 28, 2013.

    He was Undersecretary of State to the Prime Minister of the centre-left government led by Romano

    Prodi from 2006 to 2008. He served as Minister for EU Affairs (1998-1999), as Minister for Industry, Commerce and Crafts (January-April 2000, during the second D’Alema Government) and as Minister for Industry, Commerce and Crafts and Foreign Trade (2000-2001, during the second Amato Government).

    From  1993  to  May  2013,  he  managed  an  independent  think  tank,  Arel,  founded  by  the  late Beniamino Andreatta. He was also Vice Chairman of Aspen Institute Italia, President of the Italy- Spain Dialogue Forum, and a member of the Trilateral Commission.

    Letta was born in Pisa (Tuscany) and he spent the first years of his life in Strasbourg. He graduated in International Law from the University of Pisa and obtained a PhD in European Union Law at the School for Advanced Studies “Sant’Anna” of Pisa.

    He has been a member of the Italian Parliament since 2001, excluding from 2004 to 2006 when he was a member of the European Parliament. He also served as deputy secretary of the Democratic Party (PD) from 2009 to 2013. His whole career and thought have been shaped by a strong commitment to Europe.

    Prime Minister Letta is the author of many books on international and economic affairs, with particular reference to EU enlargement, including: Euro sì - Morire per Maastricht (Laterza, 1997); Dialogo intorno all’Europa (with L. Caracciolo, Laterza, 2002); L’allargamento dell’Unione Europea (Il Mulino, 2003); L’Europa a Venticinque (Il Mulino, 2005); In questo momento sta nascendo un bambino (Rizzoli, 2007); Costruire una Cattedrale (Mondadori, 2009) and L’Europa è finita? (with L. Caracciolo, ADD Editore 2010)

    He is 46 years old. He and his wife, Gianna, are the proud parents of three children: Giacomo, Lorenzo and Francesco.

    He is an avid NBA fan and a Milan AC supporter.



    Source: http://www.palazzochigi.it/Presidente/Biografia/CV_inglese.pdf, September 2013 

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is the 24th President of Liberia and the first elected female Head of State in Africa. She won re-election in November 2011, and was inaugurated, on January 16, 2012, to a second and final term of office.

    Throughout her career, the Liberian leader has demonstrated passionate commitment to hard work, integrity and good governance, advocating for the rights of women and the importance of education to provide a better future for her country and its people.
    After decades of fighting for freedom, justice and equality in Liberia, in 2011 President Sirleaf shared the prestigious Nobel Prize for Peace with two other women – fellow Liberian Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen. They were recognized, by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.  

    In May 2012, the Liberian President was appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General as one of three co-Chairs of a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Panel is tasked with crafting a roadmap – beyond the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals – for global recovery and sustainable development.

    President Johnson Sirleaf is Chairperson of the Mano River Union, where she leads the effort for political stability and economic cooperation among Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. She also Chairs the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA), and is serving a second two-year term as Goodwill Ambassador for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Africa.
    As President, Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf has spent the past six years rebuilding post-conflict Liberia, attracting foreign direct investment of over $16 billion.  She has also attracted more than $5 million of private resources to rebuild schools, clinics and markets, and scholarships for capacity building.

    She successfully led Liberia’s $4.6 billion external debt forgiveness and the lifting of UN trade sanctions to allow Liberia to once again access international markets. She increased the National Budget from $80 million in 2006 to over $672 million in 2012, with an annual GDP growth (2011) increase of more than 7 percent. 

    Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf began her career in the Treasury Department in Liberia in 1965, rising to the position of Minister of Finance, in 1979, where she introduced measures to curb the mismanagement of government finances. After the 1980 military coup d’état, she became President of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment, but fled Liberia that same year from an increasingly suppressive military government.

    She served as Vice President of Citicorp’s Africa Regional Office in Nairobi; as Senior Loan Officer at the World Bank; and later as a Vice President for Equator Bank.

    Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf joined the United Nations Development Programme in 1992, as Assistant Administrator and Director of its Regional Bureau of Africa, with the rank of Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations. She resigned this post to contest the 1997 presidential elections in Liberia, and was ranked second. She went into self-imposed exile, in Côte d'Ivoire, where she established a venture capital vehicle for African entrepreneurs; and Measuagoon, a Liberian community development NGO.

    With the return of peace to Liberia in 2003, Johnson Sirleaf joined the National Transitional Government of Liberia, where she chaired the Governance Reform Commission and led the country’s anti-corruption reform. She resigned to successfully contest the 2005 presidential election, resulting in her historic inauguration on January 16, 2006, as President of Liberia.

    Before becoming President, Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf served on many advisory boards, including the International Crisis Group, Women Waging Peace, the Synergos Institute, and chaired the Open Society Institute for West Africa (OSIWA). She was a founding member of the International Institute for Women in Political Leadership; served, in 1999, on the Organization of African Unity (OAU) committee to investigate the Rwanda genocide; chaired an OAU commission for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue; and collaborated with Elisabeth Rehn of Finland for a UNIFEM investigative report, “Women, War, Peace,” on the effect of conflict on women and women’s roles in peace-building.

    Mrs. Johnson Sirleaf has been awarded honorary doctorates by  over 15 institutions, among them: the Nigerian Defence Academy; the University of Massachusetts Medical School; Harvard University; Rutgers University; Yale University; Georgetown University; the University of Abeokuta, Nigeria; the University of Minnesota; Furman University of South Carolina; Brown University; Indiana University; Dartmouth College; Concordia University; Langston University; Spelman College; and Marquette University.

    In addition to her Nobel Prize, President Johnson Sirleaf is the recipient of numerous honors, including: the African Gender Award (2011); Friend of the Media Award (2010); FUECH Grand Cross Award (2009); FAO’s CERES Medal (2008); Golden Plate Award(2008); International Women’s Leadership Award (2008); International Crisis Group Fred Cuny Award for the Prevention of Deadly Crisis (2008); James and Eunice K. Matthews Bridge Building Award (2008); American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award  (2008); Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007), the highest civilian honor bestowed by an American President; National Civil Rights Museum Annual Freedom Award (2007); National Democratic Institute Harriman Award (2007); Bishop T. Walker Humanitarian Award (2007); Gold Medal of the President of the Italian Republic (2006); Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger (2006); National Reconciliation Award (2006); International Woman of the Year (2006); and International Republican Institute Freedom Award (2006).

    The Liberian leader has been ranked among the top 100 most powerful women in the world (Forbes 2012); the first most powerful woman in Africa (Forbes Africa 2011); among the 10 best leaders in the world (Newsweek 2010); among top 10 female leaders (TIME 2010); called “the best President the country has ever had (The Economist 2010); and as one of the six “Women of the Year” (Glamour 2010).

    Born Ellen Eugenia Johnson in Monrovia on October 29, 1938, she is the granddaughter of a traditional chief of renown in western Liberia and a market woman from the southeast. She earned a degree in Accounting at Madison Business College, in Wisconsin; received a Diploma from the University of Colorado’s Economics Institute; and obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, in 1971, from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

    President Johnson Sirleaf has written widely on financial, development and human rights issues, and in 2008 she published her critically acclaimed memoir, This Child Will Be Great.
    She is the proud mother of four sons and grandmother of eleven.

    Source: The office of the Government of the Republic of Liberia September 2012 


  • Elaine Sisman is the Anne Parsons Bender Professor of Music at Columbia University, where she has taught since 1982, serving six years as department chair and eight as chair of Music Humanities. The author of numerous studies of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, for which she received the Alfred Einstein Award and grants from the NEH and ACLS, she has also lectured widely on classical and romantic approaches to musical illumination and melancholy. A former president of the American Musicological Society, she serves on the boards of international Haydn and Mozart societies as well as The Musical Quarterly. Sisman studied piano at Juilliard and Cornell, received her doctorate in music history at Princeton, and has taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. Columbia has honored her with its Great Teacher Award (1992) and award for Distinguished Service to the Core Curriculum (2000).

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 10/11

  • Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu of Turkey is the first by-vote-elected Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Ever since he took the office as the ninth Secretary General in January 2005, he has taken serious steps to make the 57 member states organization as an effective organization.

    Since his association with the OIC from 1980 as founding Director General of the Research Centre for Islamic History, Culture and Arts (IRCICA) in Istanbul, Prof. Dr. Ihsanoglu has pioneered activities towards creating awareness about Islamic culture across the world through research, publishing, and organizing congresses in various fields, including history of arts and sciences, and intercultural relations. Furthermore, he has initiated and supervised programs for the protection and promotion of the written and the architectural heritage of Islamic civilization in various countries. He has also contributed to scholarly debates on intercultural dialogues. With his institutional and personal initiatives, he has earned recognition at intellectual circles as a leading contributor to rapprochement between cultures, particularly between the Muslim and Western worlds.

    Prof. Dr. Ihsanoglu objectively lays out the urgency for socio-economic reforms in the Muslim world in order to achieve progress and development. He ardently supports the rights of the Muslim minorities and respect for human rights globally, which he passionately advocated both in his writings and speeches.

    Prof. Dr. Ihsanoglu was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1943. He received his B.S. at Ain Shams University in 1966 and master’s degree in chemistry in 1970. After completing his Ph.D. studies at Ankara University, Turkey in 1974, he did his post-doctoral research from 1975 to 1977 as a research fellow at University of Exeter, the United Kingdom.

    He served as a faculty member in faculties of science and then became the first professor and founding Head of the Department of History of Science of Istanbul University. He is also the founding Chairman of Turkish Society for History of Science (TBTK) and ISAR Foundation. He further served as the President of International Union of History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS) between 2001 and 2005. He is member of various international societies; scientific councils, advisory boards of numerous academies, centres and institutes, and editorial boards of many journals in a number of Islamic and western countries.

    He wrote numerous books, articles and papers in Turkish, English and Arabic on science, history of science, Islamic culture, Turkish culture, relations between the Muslim world and the Western world, and Turkish-Arab relations, some of which were translated to several eastern and western languages.

    He was conferred with medals by kings and presidents as well as with honorary doctorates by a number of universities around the world.

    He is fluent in Turkish, English and Arabic languages and has a working knowledge in French and Persian. He is married and the father of three young men.

    Source: http://www.oicun.org/4/29/ September 2012 

  • Eduardo Souto de Moura, was born on July 25, 1952, in Oporto, Portugal. In 1974 he collaborated in the architectural practice of Noé Dinis, and from 1975 to 1979 he collaborated in the practice of Álvaro Siza. He studied architecture at the School of Fine Arts in Oporto, receiving his degree in 1980. He has since owned his own office. From 1981 to 1991, he was assistant professor at his alma mater and later began to serve as professor in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Oporto. Eduardo Souto de Moura has been a visiting professor at the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-Belleville, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Dublin School of Architecture and Urban Design, Die Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

    He has participated in numerous seminars and given many lectures, both in Portugal and abroad. His work has appeared in various publications and exhibitions. In 2011 he received the Pritzker Prize.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2011

  • Edi Rama was born in Tirana, on July 4th, 1964. He is married to Ms. Linda Rama and they have two children, Greg and Rea.

    With a remarkably rich and diverse career path, Edi Rama counts his contribution in arts, sports and teaching, as a publicist and politician. He was a professor of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, and a player of the national basketball team. He authored two books, namely, Refleksione (Reflections), with Ardian Klosi, which was published in 2011 immediately after the collapse of the dictatorship and Kurban. Additionally, Edi Rama has published two arts books containing his works in collaboration with the distinguished artist Anri Sala. He has also been author and participant of many worldwide art exhibitions.

    Edi Rama’s involvement in the public and political life of his country starts with the movement for democracy that led to the dismantling of the communist regime in Albania. Rama was one of the most public outspoken members and a key leader of the students’ movement at the Academy of Fine Arts.

    Following a hiatus of several years, he left Albania to dedicate to the artistic life, although he remained a staunch critic in the press of the first post-communist government. Edi Rama entered politics as the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, in 1998. During his tenure he won the support and wide appreciation of the Albanian public opinion for his creative and efficient ways of promoting art and culture in Albania.

    In 2000, Edi Rama ran for mayor of Tirana Municipality, with the support of the Socialist Party and marked a landslide victory against his rival. Upon taking over, he set off on a campaign aimed at transforming and regenerating the capital city by restoring public spaces that were, until then, usurped by illegal buildings and increasing the green areas, while instilling a new spirit and vision in the administration of the Capital. Under Edi Rama’s leadership, Tirana Municipality turned into a modern European institution. His projects to introduce color in public spaces, amongst the ruined facades of residential buildings of the communist era, the rehabilitation of Lana Riverbed, the increase of recreational parks and green areas in the city, as well as the reconstruction of Tirana’s road network based on entirely new standards gain international recognition, including a series of awards, amongst which, World Mayor Award (2004) and European Hero Award by Time Magazine. Edi Rama was re-elected as Mayor of Tirana in 2003 and 2007 and led the Albanian Capital for 11 years.

    In 2005, Edi Rama was elected Chair of the Socialist Party of Albania, leading this force through the difficult opposition years and into the overwhelming victory on June 23rd, 2013.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013 

  • Margarita Cedeño Fernandez is the first Dominican lawyer, who assumes duties as a First Lady. She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She received a Doctor in Laws, Cum Laude, in 1987 from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo. She received a Master Magna Cum Laude in Business Law and Economic Law from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in 1995.

    She has performed studies related laws and international negotiations and conflict resolution at the universities of Georgetown, Harvard University and Geneva, the first two in the United States and the third in Switzerland. On her labor process, she has experience in the private sector, which was part of prestigious offices of lawyers from the Dominican Republic such as those of Dr. Abel Rodriguez del Orbe and Fernandez and Associates, which is a member partner and founder.

    During the years 1996-2000, she served as legal adviser of the President in the position of Assistant Secretary of State. In addition, she was honorary adviser and director of the Legal Management and Investment Climate of the Office for the Promotion of Foreign Investment in the Dominican Republic. She is married to Dr. Leonel Antonio Fernandez Reyna, current president of the Dominican Republic. Both have procreated Yolanda Maria Fernandez Cedeño America. Dr. Cedeño Fernandez is also the mother of two teenagers, Ramon Emil and Gabriela Angelissa Fiorentino. Dr. Cedeño Fernandez officially took over as First Lady of the Dominican Republic on August 16, 2004, when her husband, Dr. Fernandez Reyna, was sworn in again as President Constitutional now for the period 2004-2008.

    She is the daughter of the spouses Luis Matos and Margarita Cedeño Emilio Lizardo of Cedeño, who also procreated Luis Alfredo. She has five other parenting sisters. Since assuming her duties as First Lady of the Dominican Republic, Dr. Margarita Cedeño Fernandez defined the family as the core of their work, in search of the integral development of this core social impact through actions within the Progressing programs, Community Technology Centers, Network of Public Libraries and Social Solidarity. For her outstanding performances and results, the management of Dr. Cedeño has been highlighted at both national and international levels, being the First Lady object of recognition for her hard work and sustained in favor of the most vulnerable segments of the population in his country.

    In those recognitions, there are the American Health Organization, which distinguished herself with the appointment of "Continental Ambassador for the Elimination of Rubella in the Western Hemisphere," recognition granted in the 27th Pan American Sanitary Conference, in 2007 in Washington DC, United States, given due to her great interest and support for initiatives in the field of health, especially vaccination campaigns which took place in the national territory.

    In 2007, the First Lady received a UIT Award for Telecommunications and Information Society, "for her contribution to ensure that technologies are available to residents of poorest areas in the Dominican Republic, which work between the objectives of the UIT to promote the construction of the information society. Several programs that are developed from her office she has achieved awards and recognition both outside the Dominican Republic, as the "Progressing", which won the Award for Quality and Promising Practices issued by the National Office of Administration and Personnel, the "Baby, think well", which won first place in the competition organized by the World Change Reality Works, in September 2007 and the "Women on the Web", which was recently selected by Cisco Networking Academy in Latin America and the Caribbean as the best, as part of the Campaign for Gender in Latin America and the Caribbean 2007.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Profile
    Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017. In doing so, he was the first WHO Director-General elected from among multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and was the first person from the WHO African Region to head the world’s leading public health agency.

    Born in the Eritrean city of Asmara, Dr Tedros graduated from the University of Asmara with a Bachelor of Biology, before earning a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London, a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and an Honorary Fellowship from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

    Following his studies, Dr Tedros returned to Ethiopia to support the delivery of health services, first working as a field-level malariologist, before heading a regional health service and later serving in Ethiopia’s federal government for over a decade as Minister of Health and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    As Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system, built on the foundation of universal health coverage and provision of services to all people, even in the most remote areas.

    Under his leadership, Ethiopia expanded its health infrastructure, developed innovative health financing mechanisms, and expanded its health workforce. A major component of reforms he drove was the creation of a primary health care extension programme that deployed 40 000 female health workers throughout the country. A significant result was an approximate 60% reduction in child and maternal mortality compared to 2000 levels.

    As Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016, he elevated health as a political issue nationally, regionally and globally. In this role, he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Prior to his election as Director-General of WHO, Dr Tedros held many leadership positions in global health, including as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.

    After taking office as WHO Director-General on 1 July 2017, Dr Tedros initiated the most significant transformation in the Organization’s history, which has generated a wide range of achievements.

    Dr. Tedros is globally recognized as a health scholar, advocate and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and leadership in emergency responses.

    He has published numerous articles in prominent scientific journals and received awards and recognitions from across the globe. These include receiving Honorary Fellowships from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (2012) and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland’s Faculty of Nursing and Midwifes (2020); and Honorary Doctorates of Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine at Umeå University, Sweden (2018) and the University of Nottingham and Newcastle University (both 2019).

    Dr Tedros has also received multiple national and institutional recognitions, including becoming the first non-American to be awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in 2011 in recognition of his contributions to public health; the Decoration of the Order of Serbian Flag in 2016; the Danida Alumni Prize of Denmark’s Danida Fellowship Centre in 2017; being made a Grande Officier of the National Order of Benin (l’Ordre National de Benin) in 2018; the L'Ordre national du Lion of Senegal in 2018; the Oswaldo Cruz Medal of Merit, in 2018, in recognition of his services to public health in Brazil; the Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of Saint Agatha from San Marino in 2019; the Bridge Maker Award of the 14th August Committee of Norway in 2020; 2020 Human Rights Award of the Spanish Law Bar (Consejo General de la Abogacía Español); one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2020; the African of the Year Award for 2020 of the African Leadership Magazine; and Global Health Leader Award presented by Amref Health Africa in 2021. 

    Source: World Health Organization Website, August 2021

  • Nataša Pirc Musar was born in 1968 in Ljubljana. She graduated from the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law (1992) and holds a doctorate from the University of Vienna, Law Faculty (2015) with the thesis titled How to strike the right balance between access to public information and personal data protection – using a public interest test.

    She has had a diverse career, working both in the public and private sector, devoted to human rights, gender equality, rule of law, data protection, and hate speech.

    She began her career as a journalist and news presenter on Slovenian national television and later on POP TV, the largest Slovenian commercial television broadcaster. She has also written newspaper articles and worked on radio.

    She gained additional experience in journalism at CNN and studied at the Media Department of Salford University in Manchester in the UK for two semesters. During her studies, she did professional internships at BBC, Granada TV, SkyNews, Reuters TV, and Border TV. She has also written newspaper articles and worked on radio.

    In 2004, the National Assembly elected her as the Information Commissioner of the Republic of Slovenia, a position she has held for two consecutive terms (until 2014).

    In October 2009, she was elected Vice President of the Europol Joint Supervisory Body, and in March 2013 President of the JSB Europol. Members of this supervisory authority are representatives of national supervisory authorities for the protection of personal data from all Europol member states; i.e. the EU Member States. In accordance with the Europol Convention, the mission of the joint supervisory authority is to conduct independent reviews of the activities of Europol in order to ensure that individual rights are not violated by the storage, processing, and use of data held by Europol. The joint supervisory authority monitors the permissibility of the further transfer of data originating from Europol.

    In December 2014, she took an oath as an attorney at law at the Slovenian Bar Association, where she was a member of the Executive Board (2021–2022). Until December 2022, she was the director and owner of the Law Firm Pirc Musar & Partners.

    From 2015 until 2019, she was a member of a jury at the Journalism Fund in Brussels, evaluating grant proposals for journalistic investigative stories.

    On November 22, 2022, she was elected the President of the Republic of Slovenia. On December 23, 2022, she took office. Nataša Pirc Musar is the first female to hold this position in Slovenia.


    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, March 2023.

  • 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, August 2019 

  • 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, June 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, September 2019.

  • Read Dr. Alexander Van der Bellen's full curriculum vitae.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 9/2017

  • 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

  • As head of the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC), Doris Leuthard is one of the seven members of the Federal Council, Switzerland's cabinet. She is the President of the Swiss Confederation in 2017.

    DETEC's strategy focuses on the principles of sustainable development, which are implemented in terms of policy in the fields of the environment, transport, energy, communications and spatial development. As head of DETEC, Doris Leuthard is in charge of seven federal offices (ministries), which are responsible for implementing and verifying political guidelines and criteria specified by Parliament and the Federal Council in the areas of environment, transport, energy and communications.

    Before taking the helm of DETEC on 1 November 2010, Federal Councillor Leuthard was head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs (FDEA) from August 2006 to October 2010. During this time, she was responsible for the labour market, vocational education and training, technology, innovation, agriculture, housing, national economic supply and trade policy. She represented Switzerland at international organisations including the WTO, OECD, FAO and the World Bank and chaired the EFTA Council.
    In 2010, Doris Leuthard was President of the Swiss Confederation.

    From 1999 to 2006, Doris Leuthard was a member of the National Council representing canton Aargau. From 2004 to 2006, she was president of the Christian Democratic People's Party. During her time in the National Council, she was a member of the following committees: legal affairs, political institutions, judicial, economic affairs and taxation.

    Born in 1963, Doris Leuthard studied law at the University of Zurich and completed language and study courses in Paris and Calgary. She was a partner in a law firm. She is married to Dr. Roland Hausin.

    Source: Swiss Confederation, 9/7/17

  • Dorinda Elliott joined Time Magazine as an Assistant Managing Editor in charge of business in May 2004.  For the past year and a half, she has overseen Time’s business and financial coverage, as well as the Inside Business and Global Business demographic editions of Time.  Elliott will join Conde Nast Traveler in April as a deputy editor/special projects.

    Elliott started her journalism career in 1980 as a banking reporter for The Journal of Commerce in New York.  In 1983 she began working as a copy editor at the Asian Wall Street Journal based in Hong Kong.  From 1984 to 1986, she served as Hong Kong Correspondent for Businessweek magazine, covering the beginnings of China's reforms, the rise of Asia's so-called tiger economies, and the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.  In 1986, Elliott joined Newsweek as Hong Kong Correspondent. 

    From 1986 - 2000, Elliott worked at Newsweek in a variety of positions.  As Beijing bureau chief during the late 1980s, she covered China's reforms and the student movement of 1989.  She worked for three years as Moscow Bureau Chief during Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, covering the rise of the mafia and Russian-style capitalism, and spent a year as a European Correspondent based in Brussels, before moving back to Hong Kong in 1995. There, she worked as Hong Kong Bureau Chief, and then Asia Editor. She covered the fall of Indonesia's Suharto, Malaysia's reform movement, and the 1998 Asian financial crisis, as well as China’s plunge into capitalism.  Elliott won an Overseas Press Club Award for coverage of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 and another shared OPC award for China reporting. 

    Between 2000 and 2002, Elliott was Editor of Asiaweek in Hong Kong. She relaunched the magazine with a fresh design and a focus on China and the new generation of Asian business people fomenting social and political change across the region. She then worked as Editor at Large for Time, Inc.  Prior to joining Time in New York, Elliott spent a year as Editor in Chief of Newsweek Select, helping launch the Chinese-language monthly.  Elliott has also written for Conde Nast Traveler about the art scene in China and for Vogue magazine about her travels overseas. 

    Elliott graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies and was a Gannett Fellow at the Gannett Center for Journalism at Columbia University in New York in 1991.  She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and also speaks Russian and French. She lives in New York City with her husband Adi Ignatius and three sons.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2006

  • Dodo Aïchatou Mindaoudou was appointed as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Niger in 2001. Prior to this post, Aïchatou Mindaoudou served Niger as the Minister of Social Development, Population, and Women in the mid-1990s, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation from 1999 to 2000, and a member of the Permanent Secretariat for the creation of a Strategy Document on the Poverty of Niger.

    Outside the political world, Aïchatou Mindaoudou has served her country as the Secretary-General of the Network for Rural Law and a member of the African Society for International Law. She is also a distinguished author on issues of women, human development, economic development, and privatization and has participated in numerous conferences worldwide.

    Minister Dodo Aïchatou Mindaoudou received her Doctorate in Law in 1991 at the University of Paris, Pantheon Sorbonne, specializing in International Law and Economy.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Date and Place of Birth: April 7, 1946, Ljubljana, Slovenia

    1970: B.A. (Comparative Literature, Sociology), University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
    1976: Ph.D. (Sociology), Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachussetts, U.S.A.

    Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Serbo-Croatian

    Marital Status: Married to Marjetica-Ana Rudolf-Rupel

    2004- Minister of Foreign Affairs
    2000-2004 Minister of Foreign Affairs
    1997-2000 Ambassador to the U.S.A.
    1994-1997 Mayor of Ljubljana
    1992-1995 Member of State Assembly (Parliament) of Slovenia
    1990-1993 Minister of Foreign Affairs
    1989-1990 President of Slovenian Democratic Alliance (SDZ)
    1989 Visiting Professor at Cleveland State University, Ohio, U.S.A.
    1984-1987 Responsible editor of Nova revija
    1985- Visiting Professor at New School for Social Research, New York, NY, U.S.A.
    1980- Professor at Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
    1977-1978 Visiting Professor at Queen's University, Kingston, Canada

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • The Prime Minister Dimitar Kovachevski, born in 1974 in Kumanovo, is Doctor of Economics, Associate Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje. He is lecturer at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies and author of numerous scientific papers in the field of economics and management published in international scientific journals and conferences.

    He started his working career in Makedonski Telekom AD Skopje as finance associate and later finance controlling regulation and harmonization coordinator (1998-2005), and then promoted to a number of managerial positions, director of marketing and sales management (2005-2008), director of marketing communications (2008-2010), director of communications (2010-2016) and director of residential sales (2016-2017). He was part of the international brand committee and the international communications committee of Deutsche Telekom (2008-2016). Then he became Executive Director of one.Vip Macedonia (A1 Macedonia) part of Telekom Austria Group (2017-2018). He was part of the establishment of a start-up high-tech company for production and development of elements for production of electricity from renewable sources (2018-2020). During his professional career he worked on a number of corporate projects for business processes reengineering and integration, to increase the efficiency and profitability of companies. He was part of the project management teams for implementation of SAP integrated material and finance management system and CRM integrated customer management system.

    He started his high school education at the Goce Delchev High School in Kumanovo, and finished it at Waterville Elysian Morristown High School, Waterville, MN, USA. In 1998 he graduated from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Faculty of Economics, and received his master's degree in 2003 from the same Faculty. He completed his doctoral studies in economics at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Montenegro in 2008, where he obtained a doctorate in economics.

    He completed executive education at Harvard University, Harvard Business School, USA Executive Education Program in 2011, the European Entrepreneurship Colloquium at the Technical University of Munich where he became EFER EEC alumni in 2015, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2016 and EADA Business School, Barcelona, Spain in 2017.

    He is Fluent in English, uses German.

    He started his academic career as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the New York University in Skopje (2009-2012), and continued as an Assistant Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje (2012-2018). In 2018 he was elected Associate Professor at the School of Business Economics and Management at the University American College Skopje

    He worked on a series of international and domestic projects including the World Bank Local and Regional Competitiveness Project, Sub-Project: Capacity and innovation of tourism services for sustainable local economic growth in North Macedonia, Finance Think, Economic Research and Policy Institute Skopje (2019), Internationalization at Home through Online Micro Masters and Virtual Mobility, Vytautas Magnus University Lithuania, Istanbul University Turkey, DOBA Business School Slovenia, ICS Skopje, (2019-2022), The project for increasing the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises in the Republic of North Macedonia (2019) and the e-PROFMAN Project, Online Professional Development Program for Innovative Management, Leadership and Strategic Communications - DOBA Business School Slovenia, Istanbul University Turkey, ICS Skopje (2016-2017).

    Source: Office of the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, September 2022

  • Mr. Overbye's reporting can range from zero-gravity fashion shows and science in the movies to the status of Pluto, the death of the Earth and the fate of the universe.

    He joined The Times in 1998 as deputy science editor, resuming a newspaper career that had been disrupted in the ninth grade when he lost his job as editor of the junior high paper after being in a classroom after hours where erasers were thrown. In the meantime, he graduated from M.I.T. with a physics degree, failed to finish a novel and worked as a writer and editor at Sky and Telescope and Discover magazines.

    He has written two books: "Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, The Scientific Search for the Secret of the Universe" (HarperCollins 1991, and Little, Brown, 1999), and "Einstein in Love, A Scientific Romance" (Viking, 2000). As a result of the latter, there are few occasions for which he cannot rustle up a quotation - appropriate or not - from Albert Einstein.

    In 2001, realizing that the reporters were having more fun and got to take cooler trips than editors, he switched to being a reporter. He has been covering the universe for more than 30 years, but lately he professes to be amazed that a huge chunk of his work is devoted to two topics that did not exist only a decade or so ago: the proliferation of planets beyond our own solar system; and the mysterious dark energy that seems to be souping up the expansion of the universe and spurring metaphysical-sounding debates among astronomers and physicists.

    He lives with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Mira, in Morningside Heights. In their house, he reports, Pluto is still a planet.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2012.

  • Deborah Maine is an epidemiologist with a background in anthropology. She has been working in the area of women’s reproductive health in developing countries for nearly 30 years, most of them at the School of Public Health at Columbia University. For the last 20 years she has focused on maternal mortality and morbidity. During that time, she directed two international programs:

    • The Prevention of Maternal Mortality Program, funded by the Carnegie Corporation, which had 11 multidisciplinary teams in West Africa; and
    • The Averting Maternal Death and Disability Program, funded by the Gates Foundation, which supported projects in more than 50 countries.
    • Both of these projects are continuing and growing under new leaders

    In June 2005, Deborah joined the faculty of Boston University’s School of Public Health.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Aung San Suu Kyi is the Chair of Burma’s leading opposition party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).  She is the daughter of the late General Aung San, who is considered the founding father of Burma’s independence movement.  Aung San Suu Kyi was raised in Burma and India and educated at Oxford University in the United Kingdom.  She entered politics upon her return to Burma in 1988 by co-founding the NLD and advocating for democracy in a country which had been under military dictatorship for most of its post-independence history.  Although the NLD won elections held in 1990, the ruling State Law and Order Restoration Council refused to recognize the results and placed Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.  Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. She spent most of the proceeding 21 years in detention.  In November of 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest and continued her struggle to bring democracy to Burma.  She re-entered active politics, led the NLD to re-register as a political party, and won a seat in the Kawmhu constituency during Burma’s April 1, 2012 Parliamentary by-elections. For her lifelong struggle for democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi has become an icon and serves as an inspiration to the people of Burma and the world.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2012

  • David Rothkopf is President and CEO of Garten Rothkopf, an international advisory firm specializing in transformational global trends, notably those associated with energy, security, and emerging markets.  He is also a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he has written Running the World: The Inside Story of the National Security Council and the Architects of American Power, a behind-the-scenes history of how foreign policy is made in the White House, hailed as the “definitive book on the subject” by TheNew York Times.  His latest book, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World they are Making, published in March of 2008, has already won enthusiastic reviews and will appear in two dozen editions worldwide.   Additionally, at Carnegie Mr. Rothkopf chairs the Carnegie Economic Strategy Roundtable, which examines the nexus between market concerns and U.S. economic policy making.  Mr. Rothkopf is chairman of the National Strategic Investment Dialogue, a forum convening leading institutional investors as they consider critical issues of investment strategy.  He is also a member of the advisory board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Center for Global Development.

    Prior to the establishment of Garten Rothkopf, Mr. Rothkopf was chairman, CEO and co-founder of Intellibridge Corporation, a leading provider of international analysis and open-source intelligence for the U.S. national security community and selected investors, financial organizations and other corporations. Before founding Intellibridge, Mr. Rothkopf was managing director of Kissinger Associates, the international advisory firm founded and chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.  Immediately prior to joining Kissinger Associates, Mr. Rothkopf served as Acting U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.  In this capacity, Mr. Rothkopf directed the 2400 employees of the International Trade Administration including the U.S. Commercial Service, the International Economic Policy Bureau, the Bureau of Import Administration and the Bureau of Trade Development.  He joined the Clinton Administration in 1993 as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Policy Development. 
    Prior to joining the Clinton Administration, Mr. Rothkopf was co-founder, chairman and chief executive of International Media Partners, Inc., which published CEO Magazine, and Emerging Markets newspaper and organized the CEO Institutes. Previously, Mr. Rothkopf served as a senior executive and editor at Institutional Investor, Inc. and served in a similar capacity at Financial World Magazine.

    Mr. Rothkopf is a frequently cited commentator in leading publications and has appeared as a guest addressing a wide variety of foreign policy issues on most major English-language broadcast networks worldwide. He is the author of over 150 articles on international investment, economic, and policy themes and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Financial Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer and other leading newspapers.  He has also written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Economy, The Journal of International Affairs and a variety of other magazines. In addition to the books cited above, he is the author, co-author, co-editor of and contributor to a variety of books including The Global Century: Globalization and National Security (National Defense University), Cuba: The Contours of Change (Lynn Rienner Publishers), The Price of Peace: Emergency Economic Intervention and U.S. Foreign Policy (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), The Common Market: Uniting the European Community (Franklin Watts) and The Big Emerging Markets (Bernan Press).  He was educated at Columbia College of Columbia University and at the Columbia University School of Journalism and has served as an adjunct professor of international affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2008

  • David Denby was born in New York in 1943 and went to Columbia College, graduating in 1965, and then to Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. He began writing film criticism while a student in Stanford's Communication Department, and has served as film critic of the "Atlantic Monthly," "The Boston Phoenix," "New York" magazine, and since, 1998, "The New Yorker." His articles and essays have also appeared in "The New Republic" and "The New York Review of Books." He has written two books, "Great Books," his account of returning to Columbia for the academic year 1991-92 in order to take its core curriculum courses for the second time; and "American Sucker," which chronicled his misadventures in the stock market during the tech bubble. He is married to Columbia's Associate Provost Susan Rieger and has two sons.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, March 2006

  • David Choquehuanca has served as the foreign minister of Bolivia since January 23, 2006. Choquehuanca, who is Aymara , has been a long-time activist for indigenous people, has worked with various international agencies and has been an advisor to President Evo Morales, since before Morales's election to the presidency.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2006

  • Dr. Danilo Türk was born on February 19, 1952 in Maribor, Slovenia. He received his law degree in 1975 from the Faculty of Law, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, after completing his dissertation, Procedural Bases for Enforcement of the Rights of Slovenian and Croatian Minorities in Austria Before UN Authorities. After receiving his degree, he began work as secretary of the Commission for Minorities and Migrants of the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Slovenia (SZDL). In 1978, he obtained his master’s degree in law from Belgrade University with a dissertation entitled, Protection of Minorities and International Law, and became an academic assistant, teaching international law at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. After his military service, he resumed his work on minority issues and served as chairman of the SZDL Commission for Minorities and Migrants until 1981. In 1982, he obtained his doctorate from the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana with a thesis entitled, The Principle of Non-Intervention in International Relations and in International Law.

    Dr. Türk continued his academic career at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana where, in December 1982, he became assistant professor, then associate professor in 1987, and finally tenured professor of international law in 1995. From 1983 to 1992, Dr. Türk headed the university's Institute of International Law and International Relations. In these years he devoted his time to research and teaching, and efforts for the protection of human rights. Since 1975 he has been actively involved with Amnesty International and has acted as adviser on many occasions involving human rights violations in the former Yugoslavia. From 1984 to 1992 he was a member of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities as an independent expert. For the Sub-Commission he prepared a report on the right to freedom of opinion and expression as well as a series of reports on how to put economic, social, and cultural rights into practice. In 1991 he became the chairman of the Sub-Commission.

    In 1987, Dr. Türk initiated and participated in the establishment of the Human Rights Council in Slovenia. The Council was established early in 1988 under the auspices of the SZDL and from 1989 on it functioned as an independent institution. Dr. Türk was the vice president of the Council. After Slovenia's declaration of independence, Dr. Türk took an active role in its diplomatic activity. In July and August 1991, under the authorization of the minister of foreign affairs, he informally represented the still-unrecognized Slovenia in Geneva in contacts with representatives of the UN, the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and the Council of Europe. From September 1991 to August 1992, he was a member of the Slovene delegation at the Conference on Yugoslavia. On behalf of Slovenia, Dr. Türk prepared a number of draft memoranda for the Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia (the Badinter Commission). The first memorandum, written in November 1991, was the key document on which the Commission founded its statement that Yugoslavia had dissolved and that all the successor states were equal in status.

    In 1992, Dr. Türk assumed the position of ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the United Nations. During his term on the Security Council from 1998 to 1999, he dealt with the issues of Kosovo, Iraq, Libya, East Timor, and the Congo, among others.

    Following the successful conclusion of Slovenia’s term as non-permanent member of the Security Council, Kofi Annan, secretary-general of the United Nations, appointed Dr. Türk assistant secretary-general for political affairs. For more than five years his tasks included analytical and consulting activity related to  crisis situations including  the Balkans (in particular Kosovo and Macedonia), Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, East Timor, Colombia, Haiti, and Venezuela. After 13 years in New York, Dr. Türk returned to Slovenia in the summer of 2005. He resumed teaching international law and related subjects at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. Since May 2006, he has served as vice dean of the Faculty of Law.

    On November 11, 2007, Dr. Türk was elected president of the Republic of Slovenia, winning 68.03% of the vote, and was inaugurated in the National Assembly on December 22, 2007.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Daniel Zarrilli has been appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio as the director of the Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency for the City of New York, leading the implementation of A Stronger, More Resilient New York, the City's efforts to improve resiliency by strengthening coastal protections, upgrading buildings, improving infrastructure, and making neighborhoods safer and more vibrant. He is also serving as the acting director of the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

    Prior to this, he served on the Mayor's Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, leading the City's efforts to develop a comprehensive coastal protection plan for the five boroughs and was named the City's first Director of Resiliency in June 2013.

    In a previous role, he was the senior vice president for Asset Management at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), responsible for maritime assets and operations, including the City's two cruise terminals and numerous other transportation and waterfront assets. Prior to joining NYCEDC, Daniel spent five years with Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation. He is a professional engineer in the State of NY and holds an MS in civil and environmental engineering from MIT and a BS in civil engineering from Lehigh University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2015

  • Daniel K. Tarullo took office on January 28, 2009, to fill an unexpired term ending January 31, 2022.

    Prior to his appointment to the Board, Mr. Tarullo was Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught courses in international financial regulation, international law, and banking law.  Prior to joining the Georgetown Law faculty, Mr. Tarullo held several senior positions in the Clinton administration.

    From 1993 to 1998, Mr. Tarullo served, successively, as Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Assistant to the President for International Economic Policy.  He also served as a principal on both the National Economic Council and the National Security Council.  From 1995 to 1998, Mr. Tarullo also served as President Clinton's personal representative to the G7/G8 group of industrialized nations.

    Before joining the Clinton administration, he served as Chief Counsel for Employment Policy on the staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, and practiced law in Washington, D.C.  He also worked in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and as Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Commerce.  From 1981 to 1987, Mr. Tarullo taught at Harvard Law School.

    Mr. Tarullo has also served as a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and as a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.  Mr. Tarullo has also held a visiting professorship at Princeton University.

    Mr. Tarullo was born in November 1952 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He received his A.B. from Georgetown University in 1973 and his M.A. from Duke University in 1974.  In 1977, Mr. Tarullo received his J.D. (summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as Article and Book Review Editor of the Michigan Law Review.

    Mr. Tarullo is married and has two children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2011

  • Dalia Grybauskaitė was born in Vilnius on 1 March 1956. After graduating school she studied political economy at Leningrad University. In 1988, she defended her Ph.D. thesis at Moscow Academy of Public Sciences. She holds the academic qualification of Doctor of Social Sciences.

    In 1991, she completed a special course for senior executives at Georgetown University in Washington.

    In 1991, she became a program director in Prime Minister’s office. The same year, she was appointed Director of the European Department at the Ministry of International Economic Relations.

    In 1993, she served as Director of the Economic Relations Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A year later she was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Mission to the EU.

    From 1996-1999, Dalia Grybauskaitė acted as Minister Plenipotentiary at the Lithuanian Embassy in the USA.

    She served as deputy finance minister from 1999 to 2000, deputy foreign minister from 2000 to 2001, and finance minister from 2001 to 2004.

    In 2004, Dalia Grybauskaitė was appointed EU Commissioner responsible for financial programming and budget. She was elected Commissioner of the Year in November 2005 “for her unrelenting efforts to shift EU spending towards areas that would enhance competitiveness such as research and development.”

    As EU Commissioner, she launched one of the most ambitious projects in the history of the European Union: she initiated the reform of the Community’s budget to ensure a more expedient, efficient and transparent use of funds.

    On 26 February 2009, Dalia Grybauskaitė announced that she would run for Lithuania’s presidential office. In the first round of voting on May 17, she was elected President of the Republic of Lithuania in a landslide victory.

    The President has the following state decorations of Lithuania: Order of Vytautas the Great with the Golden Chain (2009) and the Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (2003).

    The President speaks four foreign languages: English, Russian, Polish, and French.

    She enjoys classical music, reading and sports.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2010

  • Crown Prince Haakon was born on 20 July 1973, and is heir to the throne of Norway. The Crown Prince married Miss Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby in Oslo Cathedral on 25 August 2001.

    There are three children in the Crown Prince and Crown Princess’s family: Marius Borg Høiby, Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid Alexandra and His Highness Prince Sverre Magnus. Crown Prince Haakon has one sister, Her Highness Princess Märtha Louise.


    Crown Prince Haakon holds a Bachelor in political science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters Degree in development studies from London School of Economics and Political Science.

    The Crown Prince graduated from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy in Bergen in 1995. The studies at Berkely started in the autumn of 1996 and he received his Bachelor in 1999. The following autumn the Crown Prince was a trainee with Norway’s delegation to the UN and in 2001 he followed the Foreign Ministry’s trainee programme for diplomats.

    The MA in development studies was completed in London in 2003, with a specialisation in international trade and Africa.

    Official Duties

    Crown Prince Haakon carries out a wide variety of official engagements in Norway every year, focusing especially on entrepreneurship and innovation in Norwegian business, youth and diversity, and nature - with a special regard for the ocean and the issue of climate change.

    In 2013, he initiated the SIKT conference. This has become an annual meetingplace where young leaders from all sectors of Norwegian society discuss the future of Norway.

    Every year the Crown Prince travels abroad accompanied by Norwegian delegations, strengthening bilateral relations within trade and industry, science and culture.

    Crown Prince Haakon holds the rank of general in the Norwegian Armed Forces, admiral in the Norwegian Navy and general in the Norwegian Air Force.

    International Involvement

    The Crown Prince is very active in the international sphere, where young leadership and the fight against poverty are issues particularly close to his heart.

    In 2003 he was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In this capacity he goes on an annual field visit to UNDP funded projects all over the world. In his work for UNDP, Crown Prince Haakon puts special emphasis the Sustainable Development Goals. Goal number one - the fight to alleviate poverty – and number four - sustainable oceans - are at the core of his efforts.

    In 2006, Crown Prince Haakon was one of three founders of the organisation Global Dignity - a worldwide initiative to promote values-based leadership. He is actively engaged in The Crown Prince and Crown Princess's Foundation which identifies and supports projects for young people in Norway with the objective of strengthening youth leadership and integration.

    The Crown Prince was a member of the Young Global Leaders network from its establishment in 2005 and up to 2010. Between 2010 and 2017 the Crown Prince served as a member of the Young Global Leaders Foundation Board. The network originated in the World Economic Forum.

    Source: The Royal House of Norway, 7/26/19

  • Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was sworn in as president of Argentina on December 10, 2007. Prior to becoming president, she was senator for the Province of Buenos Aires and chairperson of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Affairs.

    She began her political career while still a student at the Universidad Nacional de la Plata, when she joined the Justicialist Movement and committed herself to the struggle for human rights. In 1989 she became state legislator of the Province of Santa Cruz, a position to which she was re-elected in 1993, and chairperson of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Power and Regulations of the State House of the Province of Santa Cruz, a position she held until 1995.

    In 1990 Cristina Fernández de Kirchner became vice speaker of the State House of the Province of Santa Cruz. In 1994 she was elected constituent for the National Convention for the Reform of the Argentine Constitution. Then in 1995 she resigned as state legislator to serve as senator for the Province of Santa Cruz from 1995 to 1997, a position she held again from 2001 to 2005. From 1997 to 2001 she was congresswoman for the Province of Santa Cruz and vice chairperson of the House Committee on Education. In 1998 she was a constituent for the Provincial Convention for the Reform of the Province of Santa Cruz Constitution. In 2000 she was vice chairperson of the House Special Committee on the Investigation of Illegal Activity related to money laundering.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Clive Crook is the Chief Editorial Advisor to the Chairman for Atlantic Media Company, watching over a portfolio of media properties including National Journal, CongressDaily, Government Executive, The Atlantic and The Hotline.  He also contributes to The Atlantic and National Journal as a senior writer.

    Clive was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford and the London School of Economics. After his studies, he worked as an official in Her Majesty's Treasury.  He spent 22 years at The Economist, as the economics correspondent (1983-85); Washington D.C. correspondent (1985-86); and economics editor, responsible for all the paper's economics coverage and principal editorial-writer on economic policy (1986-93); finally serving as the deputy editor prior to joining Atlantic Media Company in Washington, DC.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • Chrystia Freeland is the U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times. She leads the editorial development of the paper’s U.S. edition and of U.S. news on FT.com.

    Previously, Freeland served as deputy editor in London.  Other notable positions Freeland has held at the Financial Times include editor of electronic services, editor of the Financial Times’ weekend edition, editor of FT.com, UK news editor, Moscow bureau chief and Eastern Europe correspondent.  Freeland began her career working as a stringer in the Ukraine, writing for the Financial Times, The Washington Post and The Economist.

    Freeland’s expertise lies in the history and culture of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.  She received her bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University, and earned a master of studies degree from St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, which she attended as a Rhodes Scholar.

    Freeland writes a weekly column for the Weekend section of the Financial Times.  Her columntitled “The A-Train” is a social observation of the American upper-middle class, with a personal twist and a serious core.

    Freeland is the author of Sale of a Century: The Inside Story of the Second Russian Revolution (Little Brown, 2000), which details Russia’s journey from communism to capitalism. Her piece on Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which appeared in the Financial Times Magazine, won “Best Energy Submission” at the Business Journalist of the Year Awards in 2004.

    She has been honored as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

    A Canadian citizen, Freeland currently lives in New York City with her husband, her two daughters, and her mother.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • President and Iroij Christopher Jorebon Loeak was born on November 11, 1952 in Ailinglaplap, Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands.

    President Loeak attended the Marshall Islands High School and went on to the Hawaii Pacific College and Gonzaga University, School of Law.

    He first began his career in the political arena in 1985 when he was elected Senator, representing the people of Ailinglaplap Atoll to the Nitijela (Parliament). He has since then held several key positions in Government as Minister of Justice, Minister of Social Services, Minister of Ralik Chain, and Minister in Assistance to the President.

    President Loeak also served in various committees namely the Judiciary and Government Relations, Public Accounts, Health and Education and Social Services, Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee, Appropriation Committee, Resources and Development Committee, Committee for the International Protection, Peace, Security, and Protection of the Environments.

    President Loeak is married to Lieom Anono Loeak. President and Madam Loeak have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.


    Source: President Office’s, Republic of the Marshall Islands, September 2013

  • Charles Ogletree, the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law.  The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, named in honor of the visionary lawyer who spearheaded the litigation in Brown v. Board of Education, opened in September 2005, and focuses on a variety of issues relating to race and justice, and will sponsor research, hold conferences, and provide policy analysis.

    Professor Ogletree’s most recent book, co-edited with Professor Austin Sarat of Amherst college is From Lynch Mobs to the Killing State: Race and the Death Penalty in America, was published by New York University Press in May 2006.  His historical memoir, All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half-Century of Brown v. Board of Education, was published by W.W. Norton & Company in April 2004.

    Professor Ogletree is a native of Merced, California, where he attended public schools.  Professor Ogletree earned an M.A. and B.A. (with distinction) in Political Science from Stanford University, where he was Phi Beta Kappa.  He also holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he served as Special Projects Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review.

    Earlier this year, Professor Ogletree was named by Ebony Magazine as one of the 100+ Most Influential Black Americans.  He was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the National Black Law Students Association, where he served as National President from 1977-1978.  Professor Ogletree also received the first ever Rosa Parks Civil Rights Award given by the City of Boston, the Hugo A. Bedau Award given by the Massachusetts Anti-Death Penalty Coalition, and Morehouse College’s Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Prize. 

    Professor Ogletree has been married to his fellow Stanford graduate, Pamela Barnes, since 1975.  They are the proud parents of two children, Charles Ogletree III and Rashida Ogletree.  The Ogletrees live in Cambridge and are members of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, June 2006

  • Charles Gyude Bryant has been Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (Head of State) since October 14, 2003, and has been active in Liberian civic and political affairs since the early 1970s. When the military Junta lifted the ban on political activity in 1984, Gyude Bryant joined a number of other prominent Liberian political and business leaders to found the Liberia Action Party (LAP). In 1992 he was elected chairman of LAP. He has used this platform to build the party into an institution that has played a leadership role in bringing the previously fractious Liberian opposition together.

    Gyude Bryant launched his professional career as an entrepreneur. Following his graduation from Cuttington University College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics, Gyude Bryant was hired in 1972 by the Mesurado Group of Companies, then Liberia's largest private conglomerate, to serve as fleet manager of the Mesurado Fishing Company. In 1973 he went to the National Port Authority to head its planning and development department. In 1977 he launched a company of his own, the Liberia Machinery & Supply Company (LIMASCO), of which he is president and CEO.

    He has been an active communicant of the Episcopal Church of Liberia. In 1996 he was elected chairman of its Diocesan Board of Trustees, a position he still retains.

    Gyude Bryant is married to Rosie Lee Bryant and has three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • As Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs, between August 2002 and August 2006, Carolina Barco focused her objectives on three specific areas: To strengthen the Ministry's diplomacy in order to get increase efficiency, mainly towards direct support for the Colombian Community abroad; to develop a strong communication policy in order to improve Colombia's international image and contribute to a real understanding the country's realities, and to promote trade and international cooperation, particularly for development programs.

    She has worked in the public sector, as director of the City Planning Department in Bogotá, and adviser to the Ministries of Development, Culture, and Environment, as well as to the National Planning Department and the Office of the Mayor of Bogotá.

    She has also worked as an international cooperation adviser to the United Nations Development Program, as a researcher at Universidad de los Andes, and as a member of Lincoln Institute of Land Policy's Board of Directors. Former Minister Barco is well known mainly as an authority in the formulation and adoption of public policies.

    She has a Bachelor's degree in Social and Economic Sciences and a Masters Degree in Business Administration and Urban and Regional Planning.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Carlos Diego Mesa Gisbert served as President of Bolivia from October 17, 2003, until June 6, 2005.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2004

  • Bronisław Komorowsk was born on June 4, 1952 in Oborniki Śląskie near Wrocław. He graduated from the Faculty of History at the University of Warsaw and before assuming the presidency, served as: an anticommunist opposition activist, a Member of Polish Parliament, a Minister of National Defense, and a Marshal of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (Speaker of the Parliament).

    As a secondary school student he was involved in opposition activities. He was arrested for the first time in December 1971 while working with the Workers Defense Committee (KOR) and the Movement for Defense of Human and Civil Rights (ROPCiO), organizing patriotic demonstrations. He also worked as a printer, journalist, distributor and publisher of the underground press, including “Głos” and “ABC” (Adriatic – Baltic – Black Sea). During his years of involvement in the anti-communist opposition he was frequently arrested and was imprisoned during martial law. Until 1989 he taught history at the theological seminary in Niepokalanów.

    From 1991 to 2010 he was a Member of Polish Parliament (the Sejm) for consecutive terms. During this time he was a member of the Committee for Poles Abroad, the National Defense Committee and the Committee for Foreign Affairs. From 1997 to 2000 he presided over the Sejm National Defense Committee and in November 2007 was appointed Marshal of the Sejm (Speaker of the Parliament). He served from 1990 to 1993 as Deputy Minister of National Defense and from 2000-2001 as Minister of National Defense in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek.

    First a member of the Freedom Union, he then joined the Conservative People’s Party where he was deputy chairman. In 2001 he became a member of the Civic Platform, and was appointed deputy chairman in 2006. As a result of the tragic death of President Lech Kaczyński in the Smoleńsk catastrophe on April 10, 2010, Bronisław Komorowski, as Marshal of the Sejm became, under the regulations of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland, became Acting President of the Republic of Poland. He subsequently won the 2/4 presidential election on July 4, 2010 and took office on August 6, 2010.

    He is married to Anna Dembowska and they have five children: Zofia, Tadeusz, Maria, Piotr and Elżbieta.

    Source: Polish Delegation, September 2014

  • 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

    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

  • Borut Pahor was born on November 2, 1963 in Postojna. He has a degree in political science, with a focus on international relations. In 1987, he won the Prešeren and Zore Awards from the then Faculty of Sociology, Political Science and Journalism, University of Ljubljana for his graduate thesis. 

    He started his professional career in 1990 as a delegate in the then Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. In 1992, he was elected as a deputy to the National Assembly, re-elected in 1996, and in 2000 was elected President of the assembly. From 1993 to 2011, he concurrently lead the United List of Social Democrats (renamed the Social Democrats in 2005).

    In June 2004, before the end of his term in the National Assembly, he was elected via a preference vote as a Member of the European Parliament. In 2008, the former President of the Republic of Slovenia, Danilo Türk, appointed Borut Pahor formateur of a new coalition government.

    On June 2, 2012, he announced that he would run in presidential elections that autumn, and on December 2 of that year, he was elected the fourth President of the Republic of Slovenia. 

    Borut Pahor and his partner, lawyer Tanja Pečar, have a son, Luka. Borut Pahor is fluent in English and Italian, and has a working knowledge of French. In his free time, he particularly enjoys being active in sport. 

    Source: Information provided by the Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the United Nations, September 2013

  • Boris Tadić was first elected president of Serbia in June 2004, and was re-elected for a second term in February 2008. Since coming to office, President Tadić has consolidated Serbia's democracy and become the international

    spokesman of the "new Serbia." President Tadić has actively promoted the "de-Balkanization of the Balkans" by taking the initiative in regional reconciliation efforts; and has vigorously re-forged strategic partnerships between Serbia and the

    United States, the member-states of the European Union, Russia and China. President Tadić has been a strong advocate of Serbia's full and rapid accession to the European Union, and he has consistently advocated a peaceful, diplomatic solution to determining the future of Serbia’s southern province of Kosovo and Metohija.

    Prior to becoming president, Boris Tadić served as the Minister of Defense of Serbia and Montenegro and as Minister of Telecommunications in the months following Serbia's October 5th democratic revolution that overthrew the regime of Slobodan Milošević.

    At the Defense Ministry, his efforts in establishing strict civilian control of the military and reorganizing the Ministry and General Staff to be NATO-compliant gained him an international reputation as an effective reformer.

    In February 2004, President Tadić was elected the leader of the Democratic Party, succeeding the assassinated Prime Minister of Serbia, Dr. Zoran Djindjić.

    President Tadić was born in Sarajevo on 15 January 1958. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade with a degree in social psychology. President Tadić joined Serbia's nascent

    anti-communist dissident movement in the 1980s and was arrested and imprisoned several times by the then-communist authorities.

    Amongst numerous international awards, in 2008 President Tadić received the prestigious annual German award Quadriga, given to prominent figures for their vision, courage and political determination.

    President Tadić is married and has two daughters.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Boris Johnson was born in June 1964 in New York. His family moved to London when he was five years old.
    Few Londoners have entirely English descent, and Johnson is no exception. He describes himself as a “one man melting pot,” with French, Turks, and Germans among his ancestors.

    Johnson went to primary school in Camden and was subsequently educated at the European School in Brussels, Ashdown House, and then at Eton College. He later read Classics at Balliol College, Oxford, as a Brackenbury Scholar and served as president of the prestigious Oxford Union.

    He began his journalistic career as a trainee reporter for The Times. He joined The Daily Telegraph in 1987 as leader and feature writer. From 1989 to 1994 he was the Telegraph’s European Community correspondent, and from 1994 to 1999 he served as assistant editor. He began as political columnist for The Spectator in 1994 and served as editor from 1999 until December 2005.

    Besides his work as a journalist, he has published several books, including Lend Me Your Ears, Friends, Voters, Countrymen, an autobiographical account of his experience of the 2001 election campaign, and a novel, Seventy-Two Virgins. He produced a television series based on The Dream of Rome, his book on Roman history.

    In 2001 he was elected MP for Henley-on-Thames, replacing Michael Heseltine. He has held shadow government posts as vice chairman, shadow minister for the arts, and shadow minister of higher education. In July 2007 Boris Johnson resigned from his position as shadow education secretary so that he would be free to stand as Conservative candidate for mayor of London. He resigned as MP for Henley shortly after becoming mayor of London.

    As well as being a passionate cyclist, he enjoys painting and playing tennis, and spends much of his time bringing up his four children with his wife Marina in North London.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009 


    • Cambridge Overseas School Leaving Certificate Grade A (Malawi 1956)
    • Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) Degree (With Honours), University of Delhi, India (1961).
    • Master’s (M.A.) Degree in Economics, University of Delhi, India, (1963).  
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree in Development Economics, Pacific Western University, Los Angeles, USA (1984).
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Degree (Honoris Causa), Strathclyde University, Scotland, 2005.


    • Government of Malawi (1963-1964), Ministry of Finance (Administrative Officer)
    • Government of Zambia (1965-1966) Ministry of Finance (Principal Administrative Officer).
    • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (1966-1975): Chief, Africa Trade Centre; Head Africa-EEC Relations Unit.
    • The World Bank (1975-1978): Secretary’s Department; Loan Officer (Kenya and Tanzania).
    • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (1978-1990): Chief, Transnational Corporations Unit; and Director, for Trade and Finance Division.
    • Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). (1991-1997) - Secretary General. 
    • Reserve Bank of Malawi (2001-2003): Deputy Governor.
    • Government of Malawi (2003-2004): Senior Minister of Economic Planning and Development.
    • Bineth Trust,  (Founder and Chairman)
    • Bingu Silvergrey Foundation for the Elderly, (Founder and Chairman)
    • University of Southern Malawi  (Founder and Chairman)


    • Towards Multinational Economic Co-operation in Africa, (Praeger Publishers, New York 1972).
    • One Africa One Destiny - Towards Democracy, Good Governance and Development (SAPES Trust, Zimbabwe, 1995).
    • Mabizinesi Aphindu: Mayendetsedwe Abwino Amakono (in Vernacular languages 2004).
    • One Africa One Destiny - Africa’s Response to Globalization(Forthcoming 2006).

    He has also written over two dozen articles on Development Economics, Monetary Policy, Trade Co-operation and Regional Integration in leading international journals.


    A distinguished International Economist and Diplomat with extensive high level professional and management experience.

    He was born in Malawi on 24 February 1934 at Kamoto Village, Traditional Authority Chimaliro in Thyolo District of Malawi; he is a devout Catholic Christian; recently widowed and have four children and seven grandchildren; and he likes writing, swimming and fishing.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2007

  • During his ten years in office, President Bharrat Jagdeo has helped lead Guyana towards a more prosperous, sustainable future. As the drafting of new climate legislation in Copenhagen draws nearer, President Jagdeo is collaborating with a number of organizations in Guyana and internationally, including Conservation International, to both spread the word about Guyana’s commitment to forest protection and climate change mitigation, and to inspire collective action on a global scale.  

    An economist by profession, President Jagdeo first entered public service in Guyana’s State Planning Secretariat in 1990. He was appointed junior finance minister in 1993 and promoted to senior minister of finance in 1995. In this position, he led the production of Guyana’s National Development Strategy with the support of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s Carter Center. Jagdeo and the Carter Center went on to collaborate with African leaders, drawing on Guyana’s experience with its National Development Strategy to apply lessons for other countries.

    After the retirement of former President Janet Jagan, Jagdeo was appointed as Guyana’s President in 1999. At age 35, he became one of the world’s youngest heads of government. Jagdeo was freely elected as President in 2001, and re-elected in 2006.

    President Jagdeo’s tenure in office has seen unprecedented social and economic reform in Guyana, including improved access to education; health care reform; water and sanitation system expansion; and large-scale development of road, river and air transport networks. While pursuing these reforms, President Jagdeo also reduced the national debt and reformed the tax and investment regimes.

    President Jagdeo served as chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group from September 2005 until September 2006.

    In June 2009, he launched a “Low Carbon Development Strategy,” hailed by a wide cross-section of the Guyanese people and the international community as being an unprecedented plan for national development that secures the forest ecosystem in the global fight to address climate change.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009 


  • Benigno S. Aquino III is the 15th President of the Republic of the Philippines. He is an economist by training and a public official by profession. He served in the House of Representatives as representative of the 2nd District of Tarlac from 1998 to 2007, and served in the Philippine Senate from May 2007 to June 2010. As a senator, he chaired the senate committee on local government, where he anchored his key legislative initiatives on good governance through increased transparency and accountability, particularly in the use of public funds.

    His public service is founded on the democratic ideals championed by his parents, former senator and martyr Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, Jr. and former President Corazon Aquino. Following the death and funeral of his mother, former President Corazon Aquino, public clamor arose for him to seek the Presidency. He answered the call of the people and campaigned on the core message, ‘Kung Walang Corrupt Walang Mahirap’ (If there is no corruption, there is no poverty). On May 10, 2010, he was elected with the largest plurality under the 1987 Constitution. On June 30, 2010, he was inaugurated into office. As the President of the Philippines, President Benigno S. Aquino III continues to pursue programs anchored on clean, honest, and effective governance for all Filipinos, in fulfillment of his social contract with the Filipino people to achieve inclusive growth, a restoration of trust in public institutions, and a renewal of optimism and confidence to achieve lasting economic and social change.

    Source: Office of the President of the Republic of the Philippines, September 2014

  • Belay Begashaw is the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | Africa since January 2012. He joined the Earth Institute at Columbia University in January 2009 as Senior Agriculture Policy Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa, and was appointed director of The MDG Centre in August 2009.

    Begashaw serves as Associate Director of the Earth Institute’s Tropical Agriculture and Rural Development Program, and has over 20 years of experience in agriculture extension and rural development, ranging from a grass-roots development agent to the Minister of Agriculture for Ethiopia. Over the past three years, he has done extensive consulting work for several international organizations in the area of food security, poverty reduction and investment.

    Begashaw earned his MPA degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, M.Sc. from University of Reading and a B.Sc. from Addis Ababa University, Almay College of Agriculture. He holds a Ph.D. in agricultural policy from Texas A&M University where he is a Borlaug Fellow. Begashaw has served as a member and chair of several boards of trustees with national and international mandates, including International Live Stock Research (ILRI), Alamaya University, Ethiopian Agriculture Research System, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, the National Drug Administration the National Standard Organization, the National Food Reserve Agency and Ethiopian Radiation Agency.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2013

  • Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.

    "I grew up in war", the Secretary-General has said, "and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild. That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service. As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights."

    Mr. Ban held office from on 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016. On 21 June 2011, he was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly for a second mandate.

    One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

    The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the "Unite to End Violence against Women" campaign, the "Stop Rape Now" initiative, the creation of a "Network of Men Leaders" and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

    Ban Ki-moon has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations "blue helmets" operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises. Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the "responsibility to protect," the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes. He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.

    Mr. Ban has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

    The Secretary-General has introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

    The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

    At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

    Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea's 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.

    Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

    Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

    Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations. His priorities have been to mobilize world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He has sought to be a bridge-builder, to give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and to strengthen the Organization itself.

    "I grew up in war", the Secretary-General has said, "and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild. That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service. As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this Organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights."

    Mr. Ban held office from on 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016. On 21 June 2011, he was unanimously re-elected by the General Assembly for a second mandate.

    One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. Subsequent efforts to focus on the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, have generated more than $60 billion in pledges, with a special emphasis on Africa and the new Global Strategy on Women’s and Children’s Health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

    The Secretary-General pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the "Unite to End Violence against Women" campaign, the "Stop Rape Now" initiative, the creation of a "Network of Men Leaders" and the establishment of a new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Within the UN itself, the Secretary-General has increased the number of women in senior management positions by more than 40 per cent, reaching the highest level in the Organization’s history.

    Ban Ki-moon has sought to strengthen UN peace efforts, including through the New Horizons peacekeeping initiative, the Global Field Support Strategy and the Civilian Capacity Review, a package of steps to improve the impact of the 120,000 United Nations "blue helmets" operating in the world’s conflict zones. A mediation support unit, along with new capacity to carry out the Secretary-General’s good offices, have been set up to help prevent, manage and resolve tensions, conflicts and crises. Accountability for violations of human rights has received high-level attention through inquiries related to Gaza, Guinea, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, legal processes in Lebanon and Cambodia, and advocacy for the "responsibility to protect," the new United Nations norm aimed at prevent and halt genocide and other grave crimes. He has also sought to strengthen humanitarian response in the aftermath of mega-disasters in Myanmar (2008), Haiti (2010) and Pakistan (2010), and mobilized UN support for the democratic transitions in North Africa and the Middle East.

    Mr. Ban has sought to rejuvenate the disarmament agenda through a five-point plan, efforts to break the deadlock at the Conference on Disarmament and renewed attention to nuclear safety and security in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

    The Secretary-General has introduced new measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. These include heightened financial disclosure requirements, compacts with senior managers, harmonization of business practices and conditions of service, the adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards, and continued investments in information technology and staff development.

    The Secretary-General was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944. He received a bachelor's degree in international relations from Seoul National University in 1970. In 1985, he earned a master's degree in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

    At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban was his country's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade. His 37 years of service with the Ministry included postings in New Delhi, Washington D.C. and Vienna, and responsibility for a variety of portfolios, including Foreign Policy Adviser to the President, Chief National Security Adviser to the President, Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and Director-General of American Affairs.

    Mr. Ban’s ties to the United Nations date back to 1975, when he worked for the Foreign Ministry's United Nations Division. That work expanded over the years, with assignments that included service as Chairman of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization and Chef de Cabinet during the Republic of Korea's 2001-2002 presidency of the UN General Assembly. Mr. Ban has also been actively involved in issues relating to inter-Korean relations.

    Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.

    Since 2007, Mrs. Ban has devoted her attention to women’s and children’s health, including autism, the elimination of violence against women, and the campaign to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS.

    Source: United Nations Official Website, April 2012

  • President Atifete Jahjaga was born on the 20th of April 1975 in Rashkoc – Gjakova.

    Mrs. Jahjaga was Deputy General Director of the Police of Kosovo from February 2009 until her election as President of the Republic of Kosovo, on April 7, 2011. Since the establishment of the Kosovo Police in early 2000, initially she served as a policeman, progressing at a regional level and that of the General Headquarters.

    During her earlier career, President Jahjaga has served in key positions in the implementation of law and order in the professional standards unit, then assistant of the deputy director of the Kosovo Police, assistant of the head of human resources, special executive assistant of the Deputy Commissary for the Administration of the Kosovo Police, Deputy Commander of the Border Police of the Kosovo Police, head of training department, assistant of the Deputy Commissary of the P.K. Border Police, assistant of the Deputy Commissary of the Kosovo Police for personnel and training.

    She finished primary and secondary school in Prishtina, where she also completed her studies at the Faculty of Law of the University of Prishtina, In 2000. in 2006-2007, she attended a postgraduate certification program in Police Management and Penal law at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, Postgraduate Certification in Crime Science at the University of Virginia in the U.S.A., in the year 2007.

    Currently she is continuing master studies in the direction of International Relations at the Faculty of Law of the University of Prishtina. As an addition to these studies she has attended professional and research programs at the European Centre for Security Studies “George C. Marshall” Germany, at the National Academy of the FBI in the U.S.A. and at the Department of Justice in the U.S.A.

    In addition to the Albanian language (native), President Atifete Jahjaga also masters English and Serbian. President Atifete Jahjaga is married to Mr. Astrid Kuçi and lives in Prishtina.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2015

  • A man of the masses, firm in his political convictions. India has an inspiring leader in Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

    On October 13, 1999, he took charge as prime minister of India for the second consecutive term at the head of a new coalition government, the National Democratic Alliance. He was prime minister for a short period in 1996. He is the only prime minister since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to have become prime minister of India through three successive mandates.

    A veteran Parliamentarian whose career stretches over four decades, Shri Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) nine times and to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) twice, a record by itself. As India's foreign minister, chairperson of various important standing committees of Parliament and leader of the opposition, he has been an active participant in the shaping of India's post-Independence domestic and foreign policy.

    Shri Vajpayee's first brush with nationalist politics was in his student days when he joined the Quit India Movement of 1942, which hastened the end of British colonial rule. A student of political science and law, it was in college that he developed a keen interest in foreign affairs - an interest he has nourished over the years and put to skillful use while representing India at various multilateral and bilateral fora.

    Shri Vajpayee had embarked upon a journalist's career, which was cut short in 1951 when he joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of today's Bharatiya Janata Party, the leading component of the National Democratic Alliance. A critically acclaimed poet, he still takes time off from affairs of state to indulge in music and in a bit of gourmet cooking.

    Born in the family of a humble school teacher on December 25, 1924, in the erstwhile princely State of Gwalior (now a part of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh), Shri Vajpayee's rise in public life is a tribute to both his political acumen and Indian democracy. Over the decades, he has emerged as a leader who commands respect for his liberal worldview and commitment to democratic ideals.

    An ardent champion of women's empowerment and social equality, Vajpayee believes in a forward-looking, forward moving India, a strong and prosperous nation confident of its rightful place in the comity of nations. He stands for an India anchored in 5000 years of civilizational history, ever modernizing, ever-renewing, and ever re-energizing itself to meet the challenges of the next 1000 years.

    India's second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, was conferred upon him in recognition of his selfless dedication to his first and only love, India, and his more than half-a-century of service to society and the nation. In 1994, he was named India's 'Best Parliamentarian.' The citation read: "True to his name, Atalji is an eminent national leader, an erudite politician, a selfless social worker, forceful orator, poet and litterateur, journalist and indeed a multi-faceted personality...Atalji articulates the aspirations of the masses... his works ever echo total commitment to nationalism."

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • Ashis Nandy is an Indian Political Psychologist, Social Theorist and Critic; Honorary Fellow and Former Director, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi; Distinguished Fellow, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2018

  • Before joining the Open Society Institute and the Soros Foundations as President in September 1993, Aryeh Neier spent twelve years as Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, of which he was a founder in 1978. Prior to that position, he worked for the American Civil Liberties Union for fifteen years, including eight as national Executive Director.

    Mr. Neier served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York University for more than a dozen years [1978-1991] and has lectured at a number of the country's leading universities and at universities in many other countries. He is the recipient of six honorary doctorates (State University of New York-Binghamton, Hofstra University, Hamilton College, American University, University of Connecticut, John Jay College of Criminal Justice) and the American Bar Association's Gavel Award.

    The author of six books (Dossier [1975]; Crime and Punishment: A Radical Solution [1976], Defending My Enemy [1979], Only Judgment [1982], War Crimes [1998]), and Taking Liberties [2003], Mr. Neier has also contributed chapters to more than twenty-five books.

    He has been a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and has also published in such periodicals as The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Foreign Policy, Dissent and a number of law journals. For a dozen years he wrote a column on human rights for The Nation.  He has contributed more than a hundred and fifty op-ed articles to newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and The International Herald Tribune. Many of his articles have been syndicated internationally.

    Mr. Neier was born in Nazi Germany and became a refugee at an early age.  An internationally recognized expert on human rights, he has conducted investigations of human rights abuses in more than forty countries around the world. For more than two decades he has been directly engaged in efforts to promote compliance with international humanitarian law (the laws of armed conflict), and in the global debate on accountability, bringing to justice those who have committed crimes against humanity. He played a leading role in the establishment of the international tribunal to prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2006

  • Arthur Levitt was the twenty-fifth and longest serving chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. First appointed by President Clinton in July 1993, the President reappointed Chairman Levitt to a second five year term in May 1998.  He left the commission on Feb 9, 2001.

    Investor protection was Chairman Levitt's top priority.  Throughout his tenure, Chairman Levitt worked to educate, empower, and protect America's investors. In a series of moves designed to enhance efficiency and improve competitiveness, Chairman Levitt initiated the most sweeping changes to US securities markets since the creation of the SEC.   These innovative policies constituted a regulatory framework which revolutionized the structure of security markets creating, for the first time, for-profit exchanges, alternative trading systems, and electronic markets, while maintaining customer protection and market transparency.

    Key policy initiatives include strengthening the independence of auditors and the profession’s self-regulatory functions, leveling the playing field for all investors through regulation fair disclosure, requiring companies to release important information to all investors at the same time and bringing reform to municipal debt markets by eliminating pay-to-play and improving price transparency.

    Before joining the commission, Mr. Levitt owned Roll Call, a newspaper covering Congress. From 1989 to 1993, he served as chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and from 1978 to 1989 he was chairman of the American Stock Exchange. He worked for the Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Time Magazine before working for sixteen years on Wall Street.

    He is presently a senior advisor to The Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, Promontory Financial Group and GETCO, LLC, a member of the Board of Bloomberg LLP and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Williams College in 1952 before serving for two years in the US Air Force.

    Levitt’s bestselling book, Take on the Street: What Wall Street and Corporate America Don’t Want You to Know/What You Can Do to Fight Back was published by Pantheon Books in October 2002. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2010

  • His Excellency Armando Emílio Guebuza was born on January 20, 1943 in Murrupula, in the Northern Province of Nampula Province, where his father, Miguel Guebuza, worked as a male nurse.  His mother, Marta Bocota Guebuza, was a housewife.

    In 1948, his father was transferred to Lourenço Marques, the name of the city of Maputo at that time. Here, at the age of six, Armando Guebuza started school at the Centro Associativo dos Negros da Colónia de Moçambique, in the Xipamanine neighbourhood.

    As a believer of the Presbyterian Church of Mozambique, a branch of the Swiss Mission, he was integrated in its youth patrols. These, apart from religious activities, engaged in other social and cultural undertakings that demanded the participation of everyone, bound together by the spirit of brotherhood, mutual help, and promotion of a common vision.

    At secondary school, he joined the Núcleo dos Estudantes Secundários Africanos de Moçambique (NESAM), “Nucleus” for short, a civic organization founded by Eduardo Mondlane in 1949. The main activities of the Nucleus were tutorials, civic and cultural education and, in a discrete manner, political mobilization.

    In 1963, Armando Guebuza was elected President of the Nucleus, a post previously held by Joaquim Chissano, before he left for Portugal in 1960. His election met the expectations of the membership, with the Nucleus becoming a centre of attraction and reference for many youths and adolescents of the time.

    In the same year, Armando Guebuza joined the FRELIMO underground network, in the city of Lourenço Marques. His experience in the leadership of the Nucleus, his charisma, and the fact that he was a tutor at the dominical school, were key to the promotion and development of clandestine work amongst the students with great impact.

    In March of 1964, Armando Guebuza and other colleagues decided to leave Mozambique to join FRELIMO. To escape from PIDE control, the dreaded Portuguese secret police, they had to abandon Mapai, at 4 o’clock in the morning by train that they boarded to leave Mozambique.

    They then walked over 80 kilometres from Mapai to the border village of Chicualacuala, where they arrived exhausted, hungry, and thirsty. Twenty hours after leaving the train, and on the Southern Rhodesian side of the border, they continued to walk, non-stop, for more than 30 kilometres until they caught the train to Salisbury, Harare. Along this route, they were joined by two more Mozambicans.

    From Salisbury, the group that Armando Guebuza was part of departed for Zambia. On the train, they were arrested by the Southern Rhodesian police, as they were preparing to leave that country. They were jailed at a Victoria Falls prison.

    Armando Guebuza and his colleagues were subsequently handed over to PIDE. For approximately five months, they were tortured in order to wrench confession out of them, to no avail. They were then set free. 

    At the time of their release, the guerrillas of the FRELIMO Fourth Region who were preparing to open the Southern Front were arrested. Despite the fact that they were under surveillance, Armando Guebuza and his comrades decided to take revenge against PIDE for these arrests and reaffirm with deeds of courage that FRELIMO was alive.

    On the night of the December 24 or 25, 1964, using their sophisticated underground network, they had pamphlets with the photograph of Eduardo Mondlane distributed in the Southern region of Mozambique in the provinces of Inhambane, Gaza, and Maputo. This situation forced PIDE to issue a press release containing the list of names of the guerrillas detained with details of the political background of each of them.

    Despite the intimidations and blackmail by PIDE, Guebuza and his colleagues nurtured their dream of joining FRELIMO. They left for Swaziland where they stayed for some months. Later on, they managed to clandestinely cross South Africa and, in the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (known as Botswana today), were arrested again and threatened with deportation by the British authorities.

    As a result of the intervention of the President of FRELIMO, Dr. Eduardo Mondlane, demanding their unconditional release, the group was handed over to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and sent to Zambia. From there, the group headed for Tanzania driven by Mariano Matsinha, then FRELIMO Representative to Zambia.

    In Tanzania, Armando Guebuza underwent military training in Bagamoyo. He then joined the group of freedom fighters who opened the Political and Military Training Camp of Nachingweya.

    In 1966, he was transferred from Nachingweya to Dar-es-Salaam, to take the post of Private Secretary to President Mondlane, replacing Joaquim Chissano, who was preparing to leave for training in the Union of the Socialist Soviet Republics. At the same time, Armando Guebuza taught at the Mozambican Institute.

    Later on in 1966, he was appointed Secretary for Education and Culture.

    Guebuza has been a member of the Central Committee of FRELIMO since 1966. Since then, he has also been a member of its innermost circle, today known as the Political Commission, which is FRELIMO´s highest decision making body between Congresses.

    In 1968, he was appointed Inspector of FRELIMO schools.

    In 1970, he was appointed National Political Commissar.

    During the Transition Government, His Excellency Guebuza held the portfolio of Home Affairs. In the first Government of independent Mozambique, he was appointed Interior Minister.

    In 1974, Armando Emílio Guebuza led, in his capacity as Political Commissar, the process for the establishment of Grupos Dinamizadores, the grassroots political and administrative structures that replaced the crumbling Portuguese administration.

    In 1977, the FRELIMO Standing Political Committee appointed Armando Guebuza to lead the commission responsible for the resettlement of the flood victims in the Province of Gaza. It is as the result of this effort, and in collaboration with local authorities and the population, at large, that the communal villages dotting the slopes of the Limpopo Valley, today in steady progress, were born.

    Still in 1977 as part of the National Political Commissar, Armando Guebuza was appointed National Defence Deputy Minister. In 1978, he held these posts together with that of Governor of the Northern Province of Cabo Delgado. In 1981, he was appointed Governor of the Province of Sofala and in 1983, he was appointed Interior Minister.

    In 1984, he was appointed Minister in the Office of the President, with responsibility for the coordination of the areas of Agriculture, Trade, Light Industry and Tourism, as well as cooperation with China, North Korea, Pakistan and Vietnam.

    In 1986, he was appointed Minister of Transport and Communications and Chairman of the Southern Africa Development Community Committee of Ministers of Transport and Communications.

    In 1990, he was designated Head of the Government delegation to the Rome talks that resulted in the signing of the General Peace Agreement in 1992. In 1992, he was named Head of the Government delegation to the Commission for the Supervision and Implementation of the General Peace Agreement.

    Armando Guebuza, a retired Lieutenant-General, was also involved with the Burundi Peace process under the aegis of the late President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere and, later on, of the South African President, Nelson Mandela. His Excellency Armando Guebuza was in charge of the Commission on the Nature of Burundi Conflict, Problems of Genocide and Exclusion and its Solutions.

    In 2000, he was chosen, by consensus, by the parties in the conflict in Burundi, to chair the Commission for Guarantees for the Implementation of the Agreement resulting from the Peace negotiations.

    Guebuza was Chief Whip of FRELIMO Bench since the first multiparty parliament that emerged from the General Elections of 1994, until FRELIMO VIII Congress in 2002.

    In June 2002, he was elected FRELIMO Secretary-General and fielded as this Party’s Candidate for the 2004 Presidential Elections.

    In February 2005, he was sworn in as Mozambique’s third President after a sweeping victory at the December 2004 Elections.

    In March 2005, he was elected President of the FRELIMO ruling Party and re-elected at its IX and X Congresses in November 2006 and September 2012, respectively.

    In January 2010, he was sworn in for his second term after an overwhelming victory at the October 2009 Elections.

    Source: Permanent Mission of Mozambique to the United Nations, September 2013

  • Arien Mack is the Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School for Social Research, where she has edited Social Research since 1970. She established the Social Research conference series in 1988, and she continues to direct it through the Center for Public Scholarship, which she founded and directs. Arien is also the founder and director of the Journal Donation Project, which makes low-cost academic and reserach journals available to libraries and universities in countries where access to those publications has been difficult for political reasons. In 2007, she launched Endangered Scholars Worldwide, dedicated to drawing attention to the plight of scholars, students, and researchers around the world whose lives and livelihoods are under threat due to the nature of their work or political positions. As a research psychologist, her current interests focus on perception, cognition, and attention. She teaches graduate-level psychology courses and oversees a research lab at The New School for Social Research. Her publications include more than 60 articles and the coauthored volume Inattentional Blindness (MIT Press 1998).

    SOURCE: https://www.newschool.edu/nssr/faculty/arien-mack/

  • A writer whose imagination has been engaged with the great moral and political issues of our time, Ariel Dorfman is a Chilean expatriate who lives in Durham, North Carolina, where he holds the Walter Hines Page Chair at Duke University. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages, and his plays (including The Other Side, currently at the Manhattan Theatre Club) have been staged in more than 100 countries. His novels include Widows, Konfidenz, The Nanny and the Iceberg and Blake’s Therapy. Among his non-fiction works are The Empire’s Old Clothes and the memoir Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey. Among his many awards are the Sudamericana Prize for the novel, the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play (Death and the Maiden) and two awards from the Kennedy Center. He is a member of the Académie Universelle des Cultures, Paris, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a writer for many major papers worldwide.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, December 2005

  • 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

  • Antonin Baudry was appointed Cultural Counselor for France in the United States (French Embassy) and Permanent Representative for French Universities in the United States in September 2010.

    Mr. Baudry (born May 6, 1975) has training both as a civil engineer and as a literary scholar. After graduating from high school with a scientific diploma with honors in 1992, he pursued his undergraduate education by first taking French preparatory classes at the Lycée Louis Le Grand in Paris. Successful completion of a competitive exam gave him entrance to the prestigious French graduate school of engineering, the Ecole Polytechnique, in 1994. After completing his coursework at the Ecole Polytechnique, he attended the Ecole Normale Supérieure, where he completed a Master’s Degree in literature and cinema in 2002.

    Mr. Baudry’s ensuing career has been a hybrid of diplomatic and cultural enterprises. From 2002 to 2004, he was a Diplomatic Envoy for the Office of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. He then became a Technical Advisor in the Office of the French Minister of the Interior. In 2006, Mr. Baudry worked as Technical Advisor and Director of International Cultural Affairs, Francophonie and International Economic Affairs in the Office of the French Prime Minister. In 2006, he was appointed Cultural Counselor for the French Embassy in Spain.

    Since September 2010, Mr. Baudry has been serving as Cultural Counselor for France in the United States and Permanent Representative for French Universities in the United States in the French Embassy’s office in New York. The mission of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S.is to enrich and strengthen the robust spirit of partnership between the two countries in the economic, political and cultural spheres, through various educational and cultural initiatives. In this role, Mr. Baudry has made the development of language programs and university partnerships his priority.

    Source: Information provided by the Office of the President, November 2012 


  • Anthony Yuen joined Phoenix Satellite Television in 2000, and with over 350 million regular Chinese viewers around the world, he has quickly become a popular face of broadcast journalism in Asia.

    Yuen’s weekly program, “Talk with World Leaders,” reveals compelling insights. Some of his notable interviewees include: Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair, former US Secretary of the State Colin Powell, former US President Ronald Regan, former US President Jimmy Carter, Russian President Vladimir Putin, UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, former Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and former President of the Palestinian Council Yasser Arafat.  Yuen also hosts a thirty-minute daily program called “News Today” which contains his analysis and comments on current affairs.  This program became a popular commentary program, attracting two hundred million viewers daily, among them the elite inside China.

    Yuen has authored numerous books on Asia including: Talk with World Leaders On U.S.-China Relations, Understanding Cross Straight Relations, On U.S. and the World, Understanding Japan, How Far Can Taiwan Go?  For eight years, he has been writing political columns for newspapers throughout Asia: Lien-He-Zao-Bao, Singapore; Sin-Chew Daily, Malaysia; Economic Journal, Hong Kong; Asian Week, Hong Kong.

    Being a prestigious professional journalist, Yuen has been honoured by ten universities in China, including Fudan University, Renmin University of China, Lanzhou University, Sichuan University, China University of Technology and Hainan University, as a guest professor.

    Yuen graduated with a B.A. in journalism from National Cheng-Chi University in Taipei, Taiwan in 1973. After serving as Deputy Chief of International Affairs at the Broadcasting Corporation of China, he continued his studies at St. John’s University in New York, NY with a M.A. in East Asian Studies.  He studied four years at the Department of Politics at New York University majoring in International Politics.

    Currently, he lives in Hong Kong with his wife.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, February 2006

  • Anne-Marie Slaughter is currently the Bert G. Kerstetter '66 University Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.  Beginning in September 2013, she will assume the presidency of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute and idea incubator based in Washington and New York, and will become a professor emerita at Princeton.

    Dr. Slaughter served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State from 2009-2011, the first woman to hold that position. She worked closely with the top leadership of the State Department and USAID as the Executive Director of the first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, which was released in December 2010 and provides a blueprint for elevating development as a pillar of American foreign policy and leading through civilian power. Upon leaving the State Department to return to Princeton at the end of her public service leave, she received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for exceptional leadership and professional competence, the highest honor conferred by the State Department. She also received a Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for her outstanding contribution to development policy, and a Joint Civilian Service Commendation Award from the Supreme Allied Commander for Europe.

    From 2002-2009, Dr. Slaughter was the Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, a position she held from 2002–2009. She rebuilt the School's international relations faculty and programs, recruiting a distinguished group of senior scholars. She expanded the School's faculty as a whole by over 30%, adding scholars from history, sociology, engineering and the natural sciences, and expanded the School's Masters in Public Policy Program to include medical doctors, lawyers, and Ph.D. scientists. Dr. Slaughter was also responsible for the creation of several research centers in international political economy and national security, the joint Ph.D. program in Social Policy, the Global Fellows program and the Scholars in the Nation's Service Initiative.

    Dr. Slaughter has written or edited six books, including A NEW WORLD ORDER (2004) and THE IDEA THAT IS AMERICA: KEEPING FAITH WITH OUR VALUES IN A DANGEROUS WORLD (2007). She published over 100 scholarly articles in international law and international relations, and helped pioneer an integrated approach to both fields. She gave a set of Millennial Lectures at The Hague Academy of International Law in 2000 and was the convener and academic co-chair, with Professor John Ikenberry, of the Princeton Project on National Security, a multi-year research project aimed at developing a new, bipartisan national security strategy for the United States.

    A contributing editor at The Atlantic, Dr. Slaughter writes a monthly column for Project Syndicate. She provides frequent commentary for both mainstream and new media and curates foreign policy news for over 65,000 followers on Twitter. She has served on many boards, including the Council of Foreign Relations and the McDonald's Corporation, and is currently on the board of the New America Foundation and Abt Associates. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group and is a consultant to Google, Inc. Foreign Policy magazine named her to their annual list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

    Prior to coming to Princeton, Dr. Slaughter was the J. Sinclair Armstrong Professor of International, Foreign, and Comparative Law and Director of the International Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School from 1994-2002, and a Professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government from 2001-2002.

    Dr. Slaughter was raised in Charlottesville, Virginia by her American father and Belgian mother. She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton in 1980 where she majored in the Woodrow Wilson School and received a certificate in European cultural studies. She won the Daniel M. Sachs Memorial Scholarship, one of Princeton's top honors, which provides for two years of study at Oxford University. She received her M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in international relations from Oxford in 1982 and 1992, respectively, and her law degree from Harvard Law School, cum laude, in 1985. She continued at Harvard after graduation as a researcher for her academic mentor, the distinguished international lawyer Abram Chayes. Before joining the Harvard faculty she taught at the University of Chicago Law School. She is married to Professor Andrew Moravcsik; they have two sons, Edward and Alexander.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2013

  • Anne Lauvergeon is the chairman and chief executive officer of AREVA, the world’s energy expert. In 2008, she was ranked by Forbes magazine as the ninth most powerful woman in the world, second most in Europe, and the most powerful in France. Anne Lauvergeon, graduated from the French National School of Mining Engineer (Ecole des Mines) and the French Ecole Normale Supérieure, and holds a degree in physics. She started her professional career in 1983 in the iron and steel industry with Usinor.

    In 1984, she directed the European safety studies for the chemical industry of CEA (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique), the public technological research organization in France. Between 1984 and 1989, she held several positions in nuclear and mines public organizations. From 1985 to 1988, she supervised the underground utilities activities in and around Paris and was appointed, in 1988, deputy director of the General Mining Council.

    In 1990, she was named adviser for economic international affairs at the French Presidency and in 1991, deputy chief of staff. At the same time she became “sherpa” to the president, in charge of the G7 Summit’s preparation.

    In 1995, she became a partner at Lazard Frères & Cie in Paris, spending several months in their New York offices.

    In March 1997, she joined Alcatel Telecom as senior executive vice president and was appointed member of the Executive Committee in July 1998. She was in charge of international organization and the Alcatel Group’s interests overseas in energy and nuclear fields.

    Since June 1999, she has been chairman and chief executive officer of AREVA NC.

    Since July 2001, she has also been chief executive officer of AREVA.

    Anne Lauvergeon is a member of the United Nations Global Compact board and a counselor to the International Investors Council to Thabo Mbeki, president of the Republic of South Africa.

    University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Anne Anderson was born in 1952 in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. She graduated from UCD in 1972 with a BA degree (Hons: History and Politics) and immediately entered the Department of Foreign Affairs – at the time, the youngest Third Secretary in the history of the Department. Subsequent evening studies led to a Diploma in Legal Studies from the Kings Inns.

    Her thirty nine years in the Department have included a wide range of posts at headquarters and abroad. Since 1991, she has served at Assistant Secretary and subsequently Deputy Secretary level. Her assignments as Ambassador have been to the United Nations, Geneva (95-2001), Permanent Representative to the European Union (2001-2005), Ambassador to France (2005-2009) and Ambassador Anne Anderson is the current Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations.  From 2001 to 2005, she served as Permanent Representative to the European Union in Brussels.   Prior to that she was Ireland’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and was the Vice-Preside of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 1997.

    Source: Permanent Mission of Ireland, February 2013 

  • 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


    • 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

  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen, born in 1953, has been the prime minister of Denmark since 2001. Anders Fogh Rasmussen was born in Ginnerup on the Jutland Peninsula. He was educated at the Viborg Cathedral School and Århus University, where he studied economics. While at school he was a cofounder of the Young Liberals, the youth wing of Denmark’s free-market Liberal Party (Venstre in Danish). Shortly after his graduation in 1978, Rasmussen won a seat in the Folketing, the Danish parliament, as a member of the Liberal Party.

    Rasmussen served in the center-right government of Poul Schlüter (leader of the Conservative People’s Party) as minister for taxation from 1987 to 1992 and as minister for economic affairs from 1990 to 1992. Rasmussen was forced to resign from both posts following accusations that he had provided the Folketing with inaccurate information. In 1998 Rasmussen became leader of the Liberal Party.

    In the November 2001 national elections, Rasmussen’s Liberal Party emerged as the largest party in the Folketing. Rasmussen succeeded Social Democratic Party leader Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as prime minister, forming a minority coalition government with the Conservative People’s Party. As prime minister, Rasmussen pledged to halt the growth of taxes, reward individual initiative, and maintain Denmark’s social welfare system.

    Upon taking office, Rasmussen announced a freeze on taxes coupled with some spending cuts. Nevertheless, public expenditures in Denmark continued to grow at a rate exceeding the annual inflation rate. Rasmussen also declared that his government would impose tough new restrictions to reduce immigration to Denmark. The restrictive measures were passed into law in July 2002, and by 2004 immigration had plunged by nearly 80 percent.

    Many European political analysts speculate that he is a likely candidate to become the first president of the EU, although Rasmussen has not outwardly expressed interest in that position. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2008

  • Anatoliy Zlenko was born in 1938. He is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2003

  • 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, 9/2018

  • Amartya Sen is Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, and Professor of Economics and Philosophy, at Harvard University and was until 2004 the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.  He is also Senior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows.  Earlier on he was Professor of Economics at Jadavpur University Calcutta, the Delhi School of Economics, and the London School of Economics, and Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford University.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, 2/2019

  • Amanda Burden, AICP, is chair of the New York City Planning Commission and director of the Department of City Planning. Since she became chair, she has spearheaded Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development initiatives with comprehensive urban design master  plans intended to catalyze commercial and residential development throughout the city and to reclaim its waterfront. Among these are plans for the East River waterfront in Lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City and Jamaica in Queens, as well as the Hudson Yards on the far west side of Manhattan.

    Under her direction, the Department of City Planning has initiated rezonings that provide new housing opportunities in neighborhoods such as Greenpoint/Williamsburg, East and Central Harlem, and Port Morris in the Bronx. Other rezonings have protected the low density of neighborhoods of special character throughout the city.

    Burden served on the City Planning Commission from 1990 until her appointment as chair. From 1983 until 1990 she was responsible for the planning and design of Battery Park City and oversaw the design of all open spaces, including the Esplanade and the thirty acres of parkland.

    Burden’s many awards and honors include the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s 2004 Design Patron award and the 2005 Center for Architecture Award from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
    Burden has long been involved with the city’s cultural community and civic groups. She served as chair of the board of Creative Time Inc. and as board member of the Center for Arts Education, the Nature Conservancy, the Architectural League, and the Fund for the City of New York. She is a trustee of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • Alvaro de Soto, during his 25-year career at the UN which ended in 2007, led the negotiations that resulted in the 1992 peace accords ending the decade-long war in El Salvador and the 1999-2004 negotiations on Cyprus. He was also Special Envoy for Myanmar and Special Representative for Western Sahara. His final assignment, from 2005 to 2007, was as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He is a Senior Fellow at the Ralph Bunche Institute and an Associate Fellow at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and a member of the Global Leadership Foundation.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • President Alpha Condé became the first freely elected president of Guinea in December 2010, ending more than fifty years of one-man rule following Guinea’s independence from France in 1958. Born in Guinea, he spent much of his early life as a student and later as a law professor, in France. He returned to Guinea to campaign for democracy. He ran for the presidency in 1993 and 1998, elections that were marred by fraud and widely considered illegitimate. After the 1998 elections he was jailed and tortured. He was subsequently released on condition that he cease his political activities. After a brief exile back in France, he returned to Guinea in 2005 to resume his campaign for democracy.

    In September 2009 the military opened fire and killed scores of antigovernment demonstrators. Following the massacre, the leader of the junta was injured in an assassination attempt, forcing him to leave the country for medical help. This created a political crisis that was eventually resolved by an agreement to hold elections in which the military would not contest for power. These elections were held last year.

    Guinea’s population of ten million people is one of the poorest in Africa. But the country boasts a rich endowment of natural resources—with roughly one-third of the world’s bauxite reserves and some of the largest iron ore deposits in the world—and impressive agricultural potential. Although it is predominantly Islamic, the population comprises many ethnic groups.

    President Condé’s challenges are to guide the country through its transition to democracy, oversee political and ethnic reconciliation, and establish a framework that will allow the country to benefit from its rich resource endowment.

    Source: Office of the President, Republic of Guinea, September 2011

  • Alok Sharma was appointed full-time President for COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, on 8 January 2021.

    He was previously Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and President for COP26 between 13 February 2020 and 8 January 2021.

    He was previously Secretary of State for International Development from 24 July 2019 to 13 February 2020, and Minister of State for Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions from 9 January 2018 until 24 July 2019.

    He was Minister of State for Housing and Planning, for the Department for Communities and Local Government from 13 June 2017 to 9 January 2018.

    Alok was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 17 July 2016 to 13 June 2017.

    He has served as a member of the Commons Treasury select committee, a member of the Commons Science and Technology select committee, a Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Treasury and from 2012 to 2015 as a Conservative Party Vice Chairman. Alok was appointed in 2016 as the Prime Minister’s Infrastructure Envoy to India.

    He also served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who had overall responsibility for the Cabinet Office. He was elected as the Conservative MP for Reading West in May 2010.

    Source: Government of the United Kingdom, September 2022.

  • Alice Tepper Marlin serves as President & CEO of Social Accountability International (SAI).  SAI is a standards-setting organization dedicated to improving workplaces and communities. SAI provides substantial capacity building services for its SA8000 standard, designed by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board to assure decent workplaces and excellent human resources management worldwide. SA8000 is based on United Nations and ILO Conventions, and on the ISO management systems. SAI contracts with Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) to license qualified organizations to verify compliance with SA8000. Ms. Tepper Marlin is currently also Adjunct Professor of Markets, Ethics and Law at NYU’s Stern School of Business. 

    She founded the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP) in 1969 and served as President & CEO for 33 years. CEP pioneered the social investment field and regularly published the best selling consumer guide, “Shopping for a Better World.” Ms. Tepper Marlin has been a frequent public speaker on corporate accountability for three decades.

    Earlier, Ms. Tepper Marlin served as a Securities Analyst and Labor Economist at Burnham & Co., and as editor of an international tax journal at the International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation in the Netherlands. She designed and managed the first social investment portfolio management service in 1969.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007

  • Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. He was born in Santiago, Chile in 1956.

    His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the

    biennials of Venice (1986, 2007), São Paulo (1987, 1989), Sydney (1990), Istanbul (1995), Kwangju (1995, 2000), Johannesburg (1997), and Seville (2006), as well as the Documenta exhibitions in Kassel (1987, 2002).

    Important individual exhibitions have been held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994); Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005); Fundación Telefónica, Santiago (2006); and Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007).

    Alfredo Jaar has created more than fifty Public Interventions around the world. More than forty monographic publications have been published about his work.

    He became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1985 and a MacArthur Fellow in 2000. In 2006, he received Spain’s Premio Extremadura a la Creación.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2009

  • H.E.Aleksander Kwasniewski was born on November 15th, 1954, in Bialogard, (formerly Koszalin Voivodship, presently West-Pomeranian Province). Wife Jolanta, maiden name Konty, daughter Aleksandra (born 1981).

    In the years 1973-1977, Aleksander Kwasniewski read for transport economics (foreign trade) at the Gdansk University. An activist of the student movement up to 1982, he held, among other functions, chairmanship of the University Council of the Socialist Union of Polish Students (SZSP) from 1976 to 1977, and vice-chairmanship of the Gdansk Voivodship Union from 1977 to 1979. He was a member of the SZSP supreme authorities from 1977 to 1982, and from November 1981 to February 1984 - editor in chief of student weekly "ITD," next editor in chief of daily "Sztandar Mlodych" from 1984 to 1985. A co-founder of the first computer-science periodical in Poland "Bajtek" in 1985.

    From 1985 to 1987, Minister for Youth Affairs in the Zbigniew Messner government, and then Chairman of the Committee for Youth and Physical Culture till June 1990. A member of the Mieczyslaw Rakowski government, then a cabinet minister and Chairman of the government Social-Political Committee from October 1988 to September 1989. A participant at the Round-Table negotiations, co-chairing with Tadeusz Mazowiecki and Romuald Sosnowski the task group for trade union pluralism. A member of the Polish United Workers' Party from 1977 to 1990. A co-founding member of the Social Democratic Party of the Republic of Poland from January to February 1990, and its first chairman till December 1995. One of the founding members of the Democratic Left Alliance in 1991. A sports activist in the Student Sports Union from 1975 to 1979 and the Polish Olympic Committee (PKOL). PKOL president from 1988 to 1991. Distinguished with the Golden Olympic Order of the International Olympic Committee in 1998 and the Golden Order of Merit of the International Amateur Athletic Federation in 1999, and in 2000 Order of Merit EOC (European Olympic Committee).

    Running for the Sejm (lower house of Parliament) from the Warsaw constituency, he won the largest number of votes, 148,533 to be exact. Leader of the parliamentary caucus of the Democratic Left Alliance in the first and second term (1991-1995). A member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the National Assembly from November 1993 to November 1995.

    Aleksander Kwasniewski won the presidential elections for the first time in 1995 on the election campaign slogans: "Let's choose the future" and "Common Poland," collecting 51.7 percent of votes, against 48.3 percent cast on Lech Walesa. In a year 2000 he won again collecting 53,9% of votes in the first run. His election campaign slogan was: "The home of all - Poland". Sworn into office on December 23rd, 1995, as President of the Republic of Poland. On the same day, President Kwasniewski took an oath as Superior of the Armed Forces at the First Fighter Wing, "Warszawa", in Minsk Mazowiecki. On December 23rd, 2000 he took his office for the second term.

    A co-author of the Constitution draft and a mover of the referendum campaign in favour of passing the Constitution of the Third Republic of Poland, which he signed into law on July 16th, 1997. In 1996, President Kwasniewski submitted the draft of a convention on fighting organised crime to the UN. Took an active part in the efforts to see Poland in NATO. Head of Poland's delegation at the Madrid and Washington summits in 1997 and 1999 respectively. On February 26th, 1999, he signed the instruments ratifying Poland's membership of NATO (during a joint ceremony with the President of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel). He also took active part in further enlargement of an Alliance supporting invitation for seven new states (NATO Summit 2002 in Prague) and the 'open door' policy.

    Following the September 11th 2001 events upon his initiative and within the antiterrorist coalition there was an international conference organized in Warsaw with participation of leaders from Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe to strengthen regional activities in combating international terrorism. An advocate of regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe. Host of the meeting of the Presidents from the region at Lancut in 1996. An active participant at such meetings in Portoroz in 1997, Levoczy in 1998, Lvov in 1999. Jointly with Lithuania's President, the driving force behind the meeting "Coexistence of Nations and Good-Neighbourly Relations: the Guarantee of Security and Stability in Europe," held in Vilnius in 1997 and the follow-up conference "Baltic-Black Sea Cooperation: Towards the Integrated Europe of the 21st Century Free of Dividing Lines," held in Yalta in 1999. Author of the 'Riga Initiative' (2002) - a forum for cooperation of Central Europe states towards further enlargement of NATO and the European Union.

    Aleksander Kwasniewski also launched the following initiatives aimed at reapprochement:

    Between Poland and Germany by co-creating, among other things, a programme of exchange for Polish and German youths "Jugendwerk" in 1986 (in the capacity of Minister for Youth Affairs), patronage over the construction of Collegium Polonicum at the Viadrina University in Slubice-Frankfurt on the Odra (inaugurated in October 1996), putting forth the problem of mutual return of works of national culture in December 1998, joint commemoration with the President of the Federal Republic of Germany of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in September 1999

    Between Poland and Ukraine - Polish-Ukrainian "Declaration on Reconciliation" in May 1997, Polish-Ukrainian Self-Government Forum in June 1999, proposal to erect a monument to the victims of Jaworzno concentration camp (May 1998) and patronage over the reconstruction of the Cemetery of Polish Eaglets in Lvov and Kharkov

    Between Poles and Jews - launching and patronizing i.a. the Auschwitz Programme, help initial the Auschwitz Declaration by the Polish side and a coalition of Jewish Organisations, setting in motion the process of restoring Polish citizenship to persons deprived of it on the strength of political decisions taken in 1968, as well as active participation in the work to regulate the state's attitude towards Jewish religious communities.

    Source: The official website of the President of the Republic of Poland, September 2005

  • Alan Murray is online executive editor of The Wall Street Journal, and author of the paper's award-winning "Business" column, which runs on page 2 every Wednesday.

    He is also a regular contributor to CNBC, and author of the book “Revolt in the Board Room: The New Rules of Power in Corporate America.”

    Mr. Murray has management responsibility for the Journal’s multimedia efforts, including its relationship with CNBC television, the Wall Street Journal books business, the paper’s events business, and a variety of online ventures.

    Previously, Mr. Murray served as CNBC’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief and was co-host of the nightly show,  “Capital Report with Alan Murray and Gloria Borger."  While working at CNBC, he also wrote the Journal's weekly "Political Capital" column. Prior to that, he spent a decade as the Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal.

    Mr. Murray joined The Wall Street Journal in 1983, as a reporter covering economic policy. He was named Washington deputy bureau chief in January 1992 and became bureau chief in September 1993. During his tenure as bureau chief, the Washington bureau won three Pulitzer Prizes, as well as many other awards.

    In addition to “Revolt in the Board Room,” he has authored two best-selling books: “The Wealth of Choices: How the New Economy Puts Power in Your Hands and Money in Your Pocket,” published by Random House in 1991, and “Showdown at Gucci Gulch: Lawmakers, Lobbyists and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform,” co-authored with Jeffrey Birnbaum and published by Random House in 1987. “Gucci Gulch” received the American Political Science Association’s Carey McWilliams Award in 1988. Mr. Murray also garnered two Overseas Press Club awards for his writings on Asia, as well as a Gerald Loeb award and a John Hancock award for his coverage of the Federal Reserve.

    Mr. Murray began his journalism career in June 1977 as the business and economics editor of the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times. He joined the Congressional Quarterly in Washington as a reporter in June 1980, and the following year became a reporter at the Japan Economic Journal in Tokyo on a Luce Fellowship.

    He serves on the Governing Council of the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and is a member of the Gridiron Club and of the Council on Foreign Relations. He has served on the Board of Visitors of the University of North Carolina and the Board of Trustees of St. Patrick’s Episcopal School.

    Mr. Murray received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of North Carolina, where he was a John Motley Morehead scholar, a merit scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He earned a master’s degree in economics at the London School of Economics. In 2005, he completed the Stanford Executive Program at the school’s Graduate School of Business.

    He is married to Lori Murray, a foreign policy consultant and former special adviser to the president for chemical weapons and former assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.  They live in Greenwich, Conn., with their two children.

    Source: Directors Forum, March 2008

  • When Alan G. Hassenfeld, the 58-year-old Chairman of Hasbro, Inc., took the helm at one of the world's leading toy companies in 1989, he was faced with managing and growing a company with annual net revenues of more than $1.3 billion.

    Today, Hasbro (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time entertainment with $3.1 billion (full year 2005) in revenues and an impressive blue-chip portfolio of familiar and popular brand names under one roof. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.

    Prior to being named Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1989, Mr. Hassenfeld worked his way up the ranks of the business started in 1923 by his grandfather.  Following his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Hassenfeld began his career at Hasbro in 1970, which has included jobs in marketing and sales for both domestic and international operations.  He became vice president of international operations in 1972 and also served as vice president of marketing and sales, as well as executive vice president.  He was named president in 1984 and is largely responsible for building Hasbro’s international operations, which today accounts for approximately 40% of the company’s revenues.

    Mr. Hassenfeld is active in many charitable and social causes both nationally and locally inRhode Island.  He is Chairman of the World Scholar Athlete Games and served as Chairman of Families First.  He spearheaded the formation and launch of the Right Now! Coalition, an effort created to foster ethics and campaign reform, as well as enlighten the Rhode Island state government to its constituents’ concerns.  The coalition remains strong today and Mr. Hassenfeld has served as chairman since its inception in 1991. 

    In addition, he has been a leader in rallying corporate executives to work with elected officials to end childhood hunger, and has been very involved in issues impacting refugee resettlement in the state of Rhode Island by serving on the Board of Directors for Refugees International.  Mr. Hassenfeld is on the advisory board of Big Brothers of Rhode Island and serves as a board member of the company's two philanthropic divisions, the Hasbro Charitable Trust and the Hasbro Children's Foundation.

    Mr. Hassenfeld serves as the Chief Advisor to the China Toy Association and is involved with many of the nation’s leading academic institutions.  He is on the Board of Overseers at the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Dean’s Council at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.   In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the medical school at Brown University and is a Trustee Emeritus at Bryant University.  He is also a member of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame.  

    Mr. Hassenfeld is married and lives in Bristol, Rhode Island.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2007 

  • Ambassador Alan D. Solomont is the incoming Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean of Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. He will assume that role in January, 2014. The mission of Tisch College is to ensure that every student at Tufts University is educated to be an active citizen.

    Nominated by President Obama in 2009, Solomont served until July, 2013 as the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. As the President’s representative, Ambassador Solomont strengthened Spain’s cooperation with the United States on matters of global security. He was a tireless advocate for American business in Spain, and he supported investment by Spanish companies in the United States. He and his wife Susan promoted the values of volunteering and citizen service throughout their host country.

    In addition to his position at Tufts, Solomont is a Visiting Distinguished Professor at IE University’s School of International Relations in Madrid, and he is an advisor to several Spanish companies regarding their business in the United States.

    Prior to his diplomatic service, Ambassador Solomont was an entrepreneur, philanthropist and political activist.  He served as Chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that oversees all domestic service programs, including AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, VISTA and Senior Corps.  He was appointed to the Board by President Clinton in 2000, re-appointed by President Bush in 2007 and elected chairman in 2009.

    Ambassador Solomont spent his professional career in the health and eldercare arenas.   He was formerly Chairman of the ADS Group, a regional provider of nursing care, assisted living and home care services which he sold to the Multicare Companies in 1996. He is a co-founder of HouseWorks, a home care company that helps seniors remain independent at home and supports families caring for aging relatives.  He was also a founder and Managing Director of Angel Healthcare Investors, which invested in early stage health care companies.  In addition to his own businesses, he has served on the boards of several non-profit and for-profit organizations, including the Boston Medical Center, Boston Private Bank & Trust Co., Tufts University, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation and the WGBH Educational Foundation.  He chaired the Boards of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston and Hebrew Senior Life, a large nonprofit elder care provider in Boston.

    Ambassador Solomont has been a longtime leader in the Democratic Party, serving as its National Finance Chair in 1997-1998.  He was a crucial supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, and he is a longtime friend of Secretary of State, John Kerry.  Drawing on his personal involvement and interest in American politics, Ambassador Solomont taught an undergraduate political science course on the American Presidency as a Senior Fellow and Visiting Instructor at Tufts University.

    Ambassador Solomont holds a B.A. in Political Science and Urban Studies from Tufts University and a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.  After graduating from Tufts in 1970, he was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for independent study and travel abroad, during which time he made his first visit to Spain.

    Solomont has received honorary degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell and Suffolk University.

    He is married to Susan Lewis Solomont, and they have two grown daughters. 

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, November 2013

  • Former Vice President Al Gore is chairman of Current TV, an Emmy award winning, independently owned cable and satellite television nonfiction network for young people based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. He also serves as chairman of Generation Investment Management, a firm that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing.

    Al Gore is a member of the board of directors of Apple, a senior adviser to Google, and a partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is a Visiting Professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and chairs the Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit organization designed to help solve the climate crisis.

    Al Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth vice president of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. During the Administration, Al Gore was a central member of President Clinton's economic team. He served as President of the Senate, a Cabinet member, a member of the National Security Council, and as the leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives.

    He is the author of the bestsellers Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, The Assault on Reason, Earth in the Balance and An Inconvenient Truth and is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary.  Al Gore is the co-winner, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”  He and his wife, Tipper live in Nashville, TN and have four children and three grandchildren.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, October 2010

  • Ahmed Rashid is “Pakistan’s best and bravest reporter” (Christopher Hitchens). His unique knowledge of this vast and complex region allows him a panoramic vision and nuance that no Western writer can emulate.

     His book Taliban first introduced American readers to the brutal regime that hijacked Afghanistan and harbored the terrorist group responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Now, Rashid examines the region and the corridors of power in Washington and Europe to see how the promised nation building in these countries has progressed. His conclusions are devastating: An unstable and nuclear armed Pakistan, a renewed al’ Qaeda profiting from a booming opium trade, and a Taliban resurgence and reconquest. While Iraq continues to attract most of American media and military might, Rashid argues that Pakistan and Afghanistan are where the conflict will finally be played out and that these failing states pose a graver threat to global security than the Middle East.

    Sources:  Information provided by the office of Ahmed Rashid. March 2012

  • Judge Ahmed Ouerfelli was born in Essers, Tunisia on November 23, 1970. He graduated in business law in 1993 and got a Master
    degree in private law in 1995. He is a magistrate and graduated from the High Institute of the Judiciary in 1995. He served as judge in the Court of First Instance of Ariana (1995-1997) then in the Tunis Court of Appeals (the Premier President’s Section). From 2000 to March 2011, he served as researcher judge, then Chair of a Working Group in charge of business law at the Center of Legal and Judicial Studies (CEJJ). Since then, he has been the legal adviser of the President of the Republic. He taught civil law, fiscal law, arbitration law, anticorruption law and international trade law in Tunisian universities. He also taught criminal tax law and company
    law at the High Institute of the Judiciary and at the High Institute of Lawyers. Ouerfelli is the author of several books on fiscal law, arbitration law (international and domestic) and on commercial companies’ law and has published many surveys and articles in Tunisian, French, Swiss, Egyptian, Dutch, Lebanese, Iraqi, Yemeni and Moroccan journals and reviews.

    Source: Tunisian Delegation, September 2014

  • President Kabbah was born in Pendembu, Kailahun District, in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone, on 16 February 1932. His family, educational and religious backgrounds reflect the diversity and high level of tolerance that generally characterize the people of his West African homeland.

    Born of Moslem parentage and a devout Moslem himself, he received his secondary education at St. Edward's, the oldest catholic secondary school in the country. He also married a Catholic, the late Patricia Kabbah, nee Tucker, who hailed from the Southern Province. He received his higher education at the Cardiff College of Technology and Commerce, and University College Aberystwyth, Wales, in the United Kingdom, with a Bachelor's degree in Economics in 1959. He later studied law, and in 1969 he became a practicing Barrister-at-Law, member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, London.

    The President has spent his entire career in the public sector, as a national and international civil servant. He served in the Western Area and in all the Provinces of Sierra Leone. He was a District Commissioner in Bombali and Kambia (Northern Province), in Kono (Eastern Province) and in Moyamba and Bo (Southern Province). He later became Permanent Secretary in various Ministries, including Trade and Industry, Social Welfare, and Education.

    He was an international civil servant for almost two decades. After serving as deputy Chief of the West Africa Division of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York, he was reassigned in 1973 to head the Programme’s operation in the southern African Kingdom of Lesotho, as Resident Representative. He also headed UNDP operations in Tanzania and Uganda, and just before Zimbabwe's independence, he was temporarily assigned to that country to help lay the groundwork for cooperation with the United Nations system.

    After a successful tour of duty in Eastern and Southern Africa, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah returned to New York to head UNDP’s Eastern and Southern Africa Division. Among other things, he was directly responsible for coordinating UN system assistance to liberation movements recognized by the Organization of African Unity (OAU), such as the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, and the South West African People's Organization (SWAPO) of Namibia.

    Before his retirement in 1992, President Kabbah held a number of senior administrative positions at UNDP Headquarters in New York, including those of Deputy Director and Director of Personnel, and Director, Division of Administration and Management.

    Following the military coup in 1992, he was asked to chair the National Advisory Council, one of the mechanisms established by the junta to facilitate the restoration of constitutional rule, including the drafting of a new constitution for Sierra Leone.

    In March 1996, Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), was elected President of Sierra Leone in the first multi-party elections in twenty-three years. Guided by his philosophy of "political inclusion" he appointed the most broad-based government in the nation's history, drawing from all political parties represented in Parliament, and ‘technocrats’ in civil society. One minority party did not accept his offer of a cabinet post.

    The President's first major objective was to end the rebel war which, in four years had already claimed hundreds of innocent lives, driven thousands of others into refugee status, and ruined the nation's economy. In November 1996, in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, he signed a peace agreement with the rebel leader, former Corporal Foday Sankoh of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

    The rebels reneged on the Agreement, resumed hostilities, and later perpetrated on the people of Sierra Leone what has been described as one of the most brutal internal conflicts in the world.

    In May 1997, a military coup forced the President into exile in neighbouring Guinea. His democratically elected government was restored nine months later when the military-rebel junta was removed by troops of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and loyal civil and military defence forces.

    Once again, in pursuit of peace, President Kabbah signed another peace agreement with the RUF rebel leader Foday Sankoh in July 1999. Notwithstanding repeated violations by the RUF, the document, known as the Lomé Peace Agreement, remained the cornerstone of sustainable peace, security, justice and national reconciliation in Sierra Leone. On 18 January 2002, at a ceremony marking the conclusion of the disarmament and demobilization of ex-combatants under the auspices of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), he declared that the rebel war was over.

    President Kabbah, as Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone holds an honorary doctor of laws degree of the University. In September 2001 Southern Connecticut State University in the United States awarded him with an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, in recognition of his effort to bring peace to his country.

    The President is Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic of Sierra Leone.

    A widower, he has four children and two grandchildren.

    Source: Sierra Leone State House, September 2005

  • Dr. Ali is a national of Saudi Arabia, where he completed early education. He holds a B.A. degree in commerce and a degree in law from Cairo University, Egypt. He earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, both in public administration, from University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and University at Albany, State University of New York, USA.

    Dr. Ali began his career in education and manpower development with his appointment as director, Scientific and Islamic Institute, Aden, Yemen. Subsequently, he returned to Saudi Arabia and became the acting rector of King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah. In 1972, he was selected to serve as deputy minister of education, a position he held for three years.

    When the member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) decided to establish the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), he was appointed to serve as its first president, first from 1975 to 1993 and again from 1995 to the present. With his qualifications, background, and commitment to development, he transformed the IsDB into a full-fledged group comprising several specialized institutions and funds dealing with development financing, trade financing, private sector financing, and investment insurance.

    During 1993 to 1995, having been chosen secretary general of the Muslim World League, he was given the task of restructuring it, after which he returned to serve the IsDB. He has also been contributing to the welfare of the community in Saudi Arabia, extending his services to the higher education councils of five universities and as a board member of the Saudi Fund for Development.

    Dr. Ali’s views on development have been expressed in many articles, speeches, lectures, and papers on Islamic economics, banking, and education. He is a firm believer that Islamic principles and their applications in economics and banking have a lot to offer the world and thus contribute positively toward solving economic problems.

    A key vision of Dr. Ali is the importance of implementing sound financial and management policies. The IsDB has thus secured an AAA rating from all three global rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch) for seven consecutive years. This has laid the foundation for IsDB’s providing expanded financing to member countries at competitive terms.

    Dr. Ali is married and has four children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Admiral Mullen was sworn in as the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, 2007. He serves as the principal military advisor to the president, the secretary of defense, the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council.

    A native of Los Angeles, he graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1968.

    He commanded three ships: the gasoline tanker USS Noxubee (AOG 56), the guided missile destroyer USS Goldsborough (DDG 20), and the guided missile cruiser USS Yorktown (CG 48).

    As a flag officer, Admiral Mullen commanded Cruiser-Destroyer Group 2, the George Washington Battle Group, and the U.S. 2nd Fleet/NATO Striking Fleet Atlantic.

    Ashore he has served in leadership positions at the Naval Academy, in the Navy’s Bureau of Personnel, in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Navy Staff. He was the 32nd vice chief of Naval Operations from August 2003 to October 2004.

    His last operational assignment was as commander, NATO Joint Force Command Naples/Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe.

    Admiral Mullen is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School and earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Research from the Naval Postgraduate School.

    Prior to becoming chairman, Admiral Mullen served as the 28th Chief of Naval Operations.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, April 2010

  • Mr. Arman, is a political activist and a prolific writer whose articles have been widely published on international media outlets. Mr. Arman has lived in the US for the past 30 years. A well-known community activist, Mr. Arman sat on many boards and served on many committees. Over the years, Mr. Arman has played a vital role in cultivating relationships and building bridges of understanding among America’s diverse communities; especially, between Muslims and people of other faiths.  

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was born on August 3, 1964, in Newcastle, United Kingdom. He is married to Pimpen Sakuntabhai Vejjajiva, an Assistant Professor at Chulalongkorn University. They have two children, Prang Vejjajiva and Pannasit Vejjajiva.

    Prime Minister Vejjajiva studied at the Chulalongkorn Demonstration School in Thailand and completed his secondary education at Eton College, UK. He received a BA with first class honors in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. He also earned an MPhil in Economics from Oxford. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law by Ramkhamhaeng University.

    Before 1992, Vejjajiva was a Special Lecturer in Economics at Oxford University and also taught at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in Thailand, where he had the rank of second lieutenant.

    After 1992, he was a Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics at Thammasart University. He was elected a Member of Parliament in the Democrat Party in 1992 for Bangkok District 6; in 1995, for Bangkok District 5; in 2001, for the Democrat Party List; from 2005 until February 2006, for the Democrat Party List; and in 2007, for the Democrat Party List, Zone 6.

    Since 1992, he has served as a Government Spokesperson, Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs to the Prime Minister, Chairman of the House Committee on Educational Affairs, Chairman of the House Committee to Consider the National Education Bill of 1999, Deputy Leader of the Democrat Party, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, and currently serves as the twenty-seventh Prime Minister of Thailand.

    Vejjajiva was awarded the Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant in 1999 and the Knight Grand Cordon of the Most Noble order of the Crown of Thailand in 1998.

    He was named one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1992, one of six up-and-coming leaders for Asia by Time Magazine in 1997, and one of 20 Leaders for the Millennium Politics and Power by Asiaweek magazine in 1999.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2009

  • The forty-first-generation direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon Him), His Majesty King Abdullah II, assumed his constitutional powers on February 7, 1999.

    Following the legacy of his father, the late King Hussein, King Abdullah has made the welfare of Jordan’s people the cornerstone of his policies for national development, regional peace, and global coexistence. The king’s special concern for the future of Jordan’s young people has put youth engagement, education, and opportunity at the top of his agenda. At home, he has paired economic reforms with political liberalization and an innovative national development program, hinging on educational reforms.

    To provide real solutions to Jordan’s pressing economic needs, King Abdullah ushered in a new era of structural reform and modernization, integration with the world economy, and globalization. The king has worked to bring together the public and private sectors—both domestic and global—through large-scale initiatives for job creation and poverty alleviation.

    King Abdullah has been the voice of Jordan’s progressive policies to expand global justice and cooperation. Taking up the historical role of the Hashemite family, he has championed the rights, achievements, and values of Muslims worldwide. In 2004, he worked with leading Islamic scholars to release the Amman Message, reaching a global audience with Islam’s guiding principles of peace, tolerance, and dialogue among faiths. In the footsteps of the late King Hussein, King Abdullah renewed a firm commitment to peace in the region on the basis of the two-state solution and the establishment of a viable, independent, and geographically contiguous Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace alongside Israel, in accordance with UN resolutions and the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

    Born in Amman on January 30, 1962, King Abdullah is the eldest son of His Majesty King Hussein Bin Talal and Her Royal Highness Princess Muna Al Hussein. King Abdullah began his education at the Islamic Educational College in Amman. He later attended St. Edmund’s School in Surrey, England, and concluded his high school education at Deerfield Academy in the United States. Later, he pursued advanced studies at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Georgetown University.

    In 1993, then-Prince Abdullah met Rania Al-Yassin. Six months later, the couple were engaged, and they married on June 10, 1993. They have four children: Prince Hussein, the crown prince; Princess Iman; Princess Salma; and Prince Hashem.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2011

  • Abdullah Gül, born in 1950, was elected as the eleventh president of the Republic of Turkey in August 2007. An observant Muslim, his election broke an eighty-four-year hold on power by the secular establishment and brought a new religious middle class from Turkey’s heartland into the center of the staunchly secular state.

    President Gül received his doctorate in economics from Istanbul University in 1983. While working on his degree, he taught economics to prospective engineers for five years. From 1983 to 1991 he worked at the headquarters of the Islamic Development Bank in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 1989, President Gül became associate professor in international economics at Istanbul University.

    His political life began when he was elected to parliament from his birthplace, Kayserai, in 1991 and from that time until he became president, he served as a representative from Kayserai in the Turkish National Assembly (Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi, or TBMM) for five terms.

    In 2002, President Gül became Turkey’s prime minister and formed the fifty-eighth government and from 2003 to 2007, served as deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the fifty-ninth government. During his tenure as foreign minister, the European Union reform process was accelerated and Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU began officially in October 2005.

    President Gül holds honorary doctorate degrees from numerous universities and has received many other honors. In March of this year, President Gül won the Chatham House Prize, an annual award presented to the statesperson deemed by members of the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London to have made the most significant contribution to the improvement of international relations in 2009.

    President Gül is married to Hayrünnisa Gül and is the father of three children.

    Source: University Programs and Events Planning Resources, September 2010

  • Dr. Rui Maria de Araújo is the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste. He was sworn into office on the 16th of February 2015 and leads the Sixth Constitutional Government.

    Dr. Araújo was born on the 21st of May, 1964 in Zumalai, Timor-Leste. His early years of schooling were interrupted by the invasion of Indonesian troops in December of 1975 when he and his family took refuge in the FRETILIN controlled areas of Suai, Bobonaro and Ainaro. After three years of evading capture they surrendered to Indonesian troops in 1978. He went on to complete his secondary studies at the Catholic School, Externato de São José, in Dili, the only school to teach the Portuguese curriculum during the Indonesian occupation.

    On completing his secondary schooling in 1985 Araújo was awarded a scholarship to study English Literature at Satya Wacana University in Central Java. In Indonesia he began clandestine activities to support the resistance struggle, supplying information on the occupation to the Timorese diaspora and acting as a courier for secret documents and packages.

    In 1986 he made a life changing decision to pursue a career in Medicine and began studying at the Medical School of Sultan Agung University, a Moslem Private University in Semarang, Indonesia. Then in 1989 he began the second part of his training at the Medical Faculty of Udayana University. It was at this time that Araújo became a member of RENETIL, Timor-Leste’s National Student Resistance, and supported the group’s communication efforts, editing their political bulletin “Neon Metin”.

    Between 1990 and 1992 Araújo acted as a special liaison in Bali for FALINTIL’S Commander in Chief, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, José Ramos-Horta and Civil Society Organizations supporting the resistance struggle. In 1991 he assisted the team from Yorkshire Television whose documentary “In Cold Blood: The Massacre of East Timor” helped change the course of history and in May of that year met Gusmão in his secret hiding place in Lahane, Dili to deliver a transceiver radio and receive instructions on the expected visit of a Portuguese Parliamentary Delegation.

    In July 1994, after further study and a two-year internship “Mr. Araújo” became “Dr. Araújo”, graduating as a General Practitioner and Medical Doctor.

    Equipped to serve the obvious needs in his homeland, Dr. Araújo promptly returned to Timor-Leste and worked for the next four years as a General Practitioner and House Surgeon at the Provincial Hospital in Dili.

    At this time he managed a tuberculosis program funded by Caritas Norway and implemented in all Catholic Clinics across Timor-Leste. He also quietly provided medical assistance to several guerilla fighters in the villages and in the cities including attending to FALINTIL’s Chief of Staff the late David Alex Daitula.

    The years of working in Dili enabled Dr. Araújo to detect the gaps in Timor-Leste’s health care, leading him to undertake a postgraduate diploma in public health, majoring in Health Policy, Health Management and Health Financing, at Otago University, New Zealand.  Indonesian Intelligence tried to block his scholarship request in 1998 for this study as by this time he had been identified as a “pro-independence clandestine operative”, however a Masters Degree in Public Health was awarded in 2001 after field research lead to his thesis ‘’A Suitable Health System for East Timor from the Perspective of the East Timorese’’.

    Whilst studying in New Zealand back in his homeland the Timorese people finally had the opportunity to choose the future they wanted for their country and on the 30th of August 1999 voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN sponsored referendum. Dr. Araújo worked within the United Nations Transitional Administration that followed, firstly in the Interim Health Authority, then as the Head of the Division of Health Services and then on the 20th of September 2001 was appointed by FRETILIN as the Minister for Health in the Transition Government.

    On the day of Timor-Leste’s restoration of independence, 20 May 2002, Dr. Araújo was reappointed by FRETILIN as Minister of Health in what was now, proudly, the First Constitutional Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. He was Minister of Health in the first Constitutional Government until August 2007 and added to his portfolio the role of Deputy Prime Minister of Social Affairs in June 2006.

    In the years that followed his service as a Minister he continued to use his skills to serve Timor-Leste. From 2007 till 2012 Dr. Araújo was appointed to the Council of State, the top State Advisory body for the President of the Republic at that time, H.E. Dr. José Ramos-Horta. He continued to serve in the health sector as a Policy and Management Advisor to the Ministry of Health till 2008 and then took on Senior Advisory roles within the Ministry of Finance, first on the Professional Development Program, then within Corporate Services and finally, until his appointment as Prime Minister, as a Corporate Policy Advisor.

    Dr. Araújo formally joined FRETILIN in 2010 and in 2011 was elected as one of the members of the Central Committee.

    Dr.Araújo was confirmed as the next Prime Minister of Timor-Leste by the President of the Republic, H.E. Taur Matan Ruak, in February 2015 after incumbent H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão announced his resignation. The political party of Gusmão, CNRT, proposed Araújo as Prime Minister and, as the party with the largest number of seats in the National Parliament, the President approved their candidate. Dr. Araújo and the other 37 members of the Sixth Constitutional Government of Timor-Leste were subsequently sworn in on the 16th of February 2015.

    Source: Office of Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo, September 2015

  • António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations, has had a long and varied career in public service rooted in one overarching imperative: to promote human dignity for all. 

    Whether working as a volunteer in the poor neighborhoods of Lisbon or representing his constituency in the Portuguese parliament, and from his years as Prime Minister to his service as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Guterres has sought to ease suffering, protect the vulnerable and ensure human rights for all. 

    These priorities have remained at the core of his efforts today as Secretary-General of the United Nations.  Since taking office in January 2017, he has worked to promote peace, advance prevention, combat hatred, and mobilize ambition in fighting the climate emergency and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.   

    He has also recognized the need for the United Nations itself to be more innovative and effective, and has set in motion wide-ranging reforms to make full use of new technology and to enhance agility, transparency, and accountability.  He has also pressed to make the Organization more equal, including through gender parity -- with major milestones met well ahead of schedule -- and improved geographical representation.    

    Mr. Guterres has proclaimed himself a proud multilateralist.  “But international cooperation cannot be taken for granted”, he has stressed; “We must prove its value by addressing the real problems people face”. 

    António Guterres was born in Lisbon in 1949 and graduated from the Instituto Superior Técnico with a degree in engineering. He is fluent in Portuguese, English, French, and Spanish. He is married to Catarina de Almeida Vaz Pinto, Deputy Mayor for Culture of Lisbon, and has two children, a stepson, and three grandchildren. 

    Source: Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, November 2020

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