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United Nations Relations

Envoy to Darfur Receives UPF Leadership and Good Governance Award

Seoul, Korea - The prestigious UPF Leadership and Good Governance Award was presented in Seoul on March 25 to Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, the Nigerian-born scholar and diplomat who currently serves as the Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur.* Previously he served as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Department of Political Affairs and Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN.

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Prof. Gambari was nominated for the award based on his work as a mediator in Iraq, Burma, and more recently Darfur. Those who have seen him at work note that he spends more time listening than speaking. He makes time to meet equally with the leaders of governments and their opposition, with politicians and with traditional, religious, and civic leaders, and above all with the common people. He encourages the parties in a dispute to find a way to think through their problems by themselves rather than relying on his position and authority to prescribe solutions.

Prof. Gambari was educated in Nigeria and Great Britain, and began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York before working at the University of Albany. Later, he taught at the Ahmadu Bello University, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University, and Howard University. He has been a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. and a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University's Society of Scholars and was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the Government of Nigeria.

Professor Gambari was honored at a banquet as part of UPF's Special Consultation on "Building a World of Lasting Peace" that took place in Seoul March 22-25. For a report about the consultation, click here.

The Leadership and Good Governance Award is presented by the Universal Peace Federation to people manifesting standards of excellence in leadership, integrating professional expertise and practical wisdom with moral and spiritual principles. Candidates from all fields and realms of governance are considered, including leaders from religion, government, non-governmental organizations, corporations, and educational institutions. Recipients include current and former heads of state and government, parliamentarians, and significant religious leaders throughout the world.

* Background note on Darfur: A civil war broke out in the part of western Sudan known as Darfur in 2003; it led to the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of Darfuris and the displacement of nearly two million. In the fighting between the Government of Sudan and militias and other armed rebel groups, widespread atrocities such as the murder and rape of civilians have been committed. The UN raised the alarm on the crisis in Darfur in 2003, and finding a lasting resolution has been a top priority for the Security Council and two consecutive Secretaries-General. Under the auspices of the African Union and with support of the UN and other partners, the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed on May 5, 2006. As few parties signed on, a renewed peace process under a joint AU-UN mediator took place in Doha, Qatar, in 2010 and 2011, producing a framework document. Intensive diplomatic and political efforts to bring the non-signatories into agreement with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur continue. Source: African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur

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