2011 Awards

Universal Peace Award - Dr. Ibrahim Gambari

Dr. Ibrahim Gambari has led a life of extraordinary service to humanity, dealing with some of the most difficult situations in the world in terms of conflict and humanitarian suffering. Because of his rare leadership and drive to make a better world, and his unique accomplishments for humanity, the WANGO International Council, and the Awards Committee, under the chairmanship of Dr. Noel Brown (President of Friends of the United Nations), was delighted to recognize Dr. Gambari with the 2011 Universal Peace Award, WANGO’s highest award to individuals.

Dr. Ibrahim Gambari is head of the joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), a post that he officially assumed on January 1, 2010, after appointment by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. UNAMID was established to quell the fighting and humanitarian suffering that has engulfed the region since 2003, with at least 300,000 people estimated to have died from the conflict and another 2.7 million people remain displaced from their homes. At full deployment, the mission – the UN’s largest – is expected to have some 26,000 troops and police officers.

Previous to assuming this post, Dr. Gambari had been serving as the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Political Issues (at the Under-Secretary-General level) and Special Envoy to Myanmar. He also has served as UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and the UN Special Adviser on Africa, and he headed the UN mission in Angola. From 1990 to 1999, he served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the UN.

Prior to serving as Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Dr. Gambari held the position of Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa. In that capacity, his functions included promoting United Nations and international support for African development, in general, and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). Dr. Gambari served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Angola from September 2002 to February 2003.

Before joining the United Nations Secretariat in 1999, Dr. Gambari served as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations. He was also a senior member of the Nigerian delegation to 10 sessions of the General Assembly. Dr. Gambari served as President of the Security Council on two occasions when Nigeria was a member. He also chaired the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, which successfully saw the demise of apartheid and the establishment of democratic rule in South Africa. Prior to his tenure as Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Dr. Gambari served as Minister for External Affairs of Nigeria. He had served as Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.

Dr. Gambari received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the London School of Economics, and his M.A. degree and Ph.D. degree in political science/international relations from Columbia University. He has taught at the City University of New York, the State University of New York in Albany, and Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, and a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University. He was Chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University in Zaria, where he founded the first undergraduate program in international studies in Nigeria. Dr. Gambari also was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., and a resident scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Italy. He has also authored several books and scholarly articles on international relations and foreign policy, including the books Theory and Reality in Foreign Policy Decision Making, Comparative Study of Regional Economic Integration, and The Domestic Politics of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy. Dr. Gambari received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bridgeport and Johns Hopkins University elected him to membership of the University’s Society of Scholars.

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