Biographical Notes

    Jan Eliasson (Sweden)
    President of Sixtieth UN General Assembly

    Jan Eliasson was elected President of the sixtieth session of the United Nations General Assembly on 13 June 2005. At the time, he was Sweden's Ambassador to the United States, a post he held from September 2000 until July 2005.

    A veteran in the fields of diplomacy and foreign relations, from 1994 to 2000 Mr. Eliasson served as State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, a key position in formulating and implementing Swedish foreign policy. Earlier, from 1988 to 1992, he was Sweden's Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. During this period, he also served as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative on Iran/Iraq and was Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly's working group on emergency relief (1991), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) (1991 to 1992) and Chairman of the United Nations Trust Fund for South Africa (1988 to 1992).

    In 1992, Mr. Eliasson was appointed as the first United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humani­tarian Affairs. During his tenure, he was involved in operations in Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Balkans and also undertook initiatives concerning landmines, conflict prevention and humanitarian action.

    From 1980 to 1986, Mr. Eliasson was part of the United Nations mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq, headed by former Prime Minister Olof Palme. More recently, Mr. Eliasson served as a mediator in the Nagorny Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co­operation in Europe (OSCE) and was a visiting professor at Uppsala University in Sweden, lecturing on mediation, conflict resolution and United Nations reform.

    Over the course of his diplomatic career, Mr. Eliasson has been posted to New York (twice) Paris, Bonn, Washington (twice) and Harare, where he opened the first Swedish Embassy in 1980. He served as Diplomatic Adviser to the Swedish Prime Minister from 1982 to 1983, and as Director General for Political Affairs in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1983 to 1987. Mr. Eliasson has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles and is a frequent lecturer on foreign policy and diplomacy. A recipient of honorary doctorate degrees from the American University, Washington, D.C.; Göteborg University, Sweden; and Bethany College, Kansas; he also has been decorated by a number of governments.

    Born in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1940, Mr. Eliasson was an exchange student in the United States from 1957 to 1958 and graduated from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1962. He earned a master's degree in economics in 1965.

    Mr. Eliasson is married to Kerstin Eliasson, who is Sweden's State Secretary for Education and Science. They have three grown children, Anna, Emilie and Johan.

    Y. J. Choi (Republic Of Korea)
    First Committee Chairman

    Y.J. Choi, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, was elected Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) on 13 June.

    Mr. Choi was Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2004 and Chancellor of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, also in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in 2003.

    In 2002, Mr. Choi was his country's Ambassador to Austria and Slovenia, and its Permanent Representative to all international organizations in Vienna, Austria. From 2000 to 2001, he was Deputy Minister for Policy Planning and International Organizations, responsible for, among other things, foreign policy planning, North Korean Affairs, the United Nations system, disarmament and non-proliferation, and democracy and human rights.

    Mr. Choi was Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations (1998-1999), during which time he oversaw planning and support for 17 peacekeeping operations, including those in Kosovo, Timor-Leste, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    From 1995 to 1997, he was the Deputy Executive Director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization, based in New York City. His duties included overseeing a $5 billion project to construct two light-water nuclear reactors in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

    In the Foreign Affairs Ministry, he was Director-General of the International Economic Affairs Bureau from 1994 to 1995. Between 1991 and 1993, he was First Senior Coordinator in the Ministry's Office of Policy Planning. He was an Economic Counsellor at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C., from 1988 to 1990.

    He also served in the following capacities: Senior Assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Seoul (1987); Director, International Organizations Division (1986); Political Counsellor, Korean Embassy, Tunis, Tunisia (1983-1985); Director, Cultural Exchanges Division, Seoul (1981); Political Officer, Korean Embassy, Paris, France (1979-1981); and Political Officer, Korean Embassy, Dakar, Senegal (1977-1978).

    Among his academic achievements, Mr. Choi earned his master's and doctorate degrees in international relations from the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne), respectively, in 1980 and 1985. For four years, he studied medicine at Yonsei University in Seoul (1967-1971). He received his bachelor's degree with distinction in 1973 from the Department of International Relations, Yonsei University. This spring, he was a resident diplomat scholar at the Fletcher School of Law, Tufts Uni­versity, Boston, Massachusetts. He is fluent in both English and French, and knows 2,000 characters in Chinese.

    In addition, Mr. Choi has published the following works: The Crisis of the Western Spirit (Seoul: Hanvit, 1982); Rapprochement Sino-Americain (Paris: Berger-Levraut, 1987); East-West Civilizations-A Comparative Perspective (Seoul: Jishik, 1992); and The International Relations of East Asia during the Cold War Period (Seoul: Jishik, 1996).

    Born on 29 March, 1948 in Seoul, Republic of Korea, Mr. Choi is married and has two sons.

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    Aminu Bashir Wali (Nigeria)
    Second Committee Chairman

    Aminu Bashir Wali, elected Chairman of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) on 13 June, has served as Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since June 2004.

    Prior to his appointment as Permanent Representative, Mr. Wali served as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly matters from 1999 to 2003. He was a founding member, a member of the board of trustees and the deputy national chairman of the Democratic Party of Nigeria in 1998.

    Mr. Wali's extensive work experience from 1975 to date covers the business world and the Nigerian Federal Government. He served as chairman of numerous companies, among them Philip Morris Nigeria Ltd., International Tobacco Co. Ltd., International Bank for West Africa Ltd., and Nigerian Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. During the same period, he also served as a director of Barclays Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Nigeria Hotels Ltd., and Nigerbras Shipping Line, among others.

    Mr. Wali was educated at the School of Arabic Studies in Kano, Nigeria, the Federal Training Centre in Lagos, North-Western Polytechnic ( North London University) from 1963 to 1967, and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies at Kuru in Jos, Nigeria.

    Born in 1941 in Kano, Nigeria, Mr. Wali is married.

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    Francis Butagira (Uganda)
    Third Committee Chairman

    Francis Butagira, the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations, was elected Chairman of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) on 13 June.

    Mr. Butagira became his country's Permanent Representative in July 2003 after serving from 2000 as the mediator in Sudanese peace talks sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Develop­ment (IGAD). In 1999, he led a team of Ugandan negotiators in talks leading to the establish­ment of the East African Community. He served in Nairobi as Uganda's High Commissioner and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). In 1998, he was Uganda's Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa.

    Prior to his diplomatic assignments, Mr. Butagira was Chairman of the Legal and Security Affairs Committee in Uganda's National Resistance Council (Parliament) from 1989 to 1996. He was a Member of Parliament between 1980 and 1985, and from 1981 to 1983, he served as President of the Joint Assembly of the European Economic Community and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (EEC/ACP).

    He was a member of the National Consultative Council from 1979 to 1980 and a High Court judge between 1974 and 1979. In 1974, he was Chief Magistrate of Mbarara, and in 1973, of the Buganda Road Law Courts. He headed the Law Department at the Law Development Centre in 1969 and 1970, lectured in Law at the Nsamizi Law School in 1968 and served as State Attorney for the Ugandan Ministry of Justice in 1967.

    Mr. Butagira was educated at Dar es Salaam University College, Harvard University and London University's School of Oriental and African Studies.

    Born in Bugamba, Uganda, on 22 November 1942, he is married with seven children.

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    Yashar Alyev (Azerbaijan)
    Fourth Committee Chairman

    Yashar Teymur oglu Aliyev, Azerbaijan's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, was elected Chairman of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) on 13 June.

    Having served as his country's Permanent Representative since January 2002, Mr. Aliyev was also Vice-President of the fifty-ninth session of the General Assembly, Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council in 2004-2005, and Vice-President of the United Nations Conference on the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in 2001.  He began his diplomatic career at the United Nations in New York 13 years ago, serving as Counsellor on Political Affairs at the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan.  During that time, he served two one-year terms as Chargé d'affaires, in 1993 and in 2001, respectively. He was also his country's delegate to the First and Fourth Committees at the forty-seventh through fifty-sixth sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

    Mr. Aliyev joined Azerbaijan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1989 as Political Officer in the Department of Information and Political Analysis, later serving as First Secretary in 1990 and Deputy Head in 1991.  In 1992, he headed the Ministry's Department of International Organizations.

    Mr. Aliyev took up Oriental studies at Azerbaijan State University in 1972, receiving the school's highest degree in 1977.  He pursued post-graduate work at Russia's Academy of Sciences in Moscow at the Oriental Studies Institute from 1980 to 1982.  In the early 1990s, he also studied for a year at the Diplomatic Academy of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    Fluent in English, Arabic, Russian and Turkish, Mr. Aliyev was born in August 1955.  He is married and has two children.

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    John William Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda)
    Fifth Committee Chairman

    John William Ashe, who was elected Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) on 13 June, has been Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations since May 2004. He is also his country's Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has ministerial responsibility for WTO and sustainable development matters.

    Prior to his appointment as Permanent Representative, Mr. Ashe was Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1995 to 2004. Between 2000 and 2004, he served con­cur­rently as Ambassador/High Commissioner (non-resident) with duties related to the Asia/Pacific region and special responsibilities for India, the Philippines and Samoa.

    From 1989 to 1995, he worked for his country's Permanent Mission to the United Nations as Scientific Attaché, Counsellor and Minister Counsellor. He held leadership positions on more than 40 committees and organizations. In particular, he served as Chairman of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which met at United Nations Headquarters on 11-22 April 2005. He has also chaired the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and led negotiations on budgetary and administrative matters within the Conventions on biological diversity and desertification, the Basel Convention, and the Montreal Protocol. He has also served on the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

    Mr. Ashe was educated at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, St. Mary's University, Halifax, and the Technical University of Nova Scotia at Halifax, Canada.

    Born on 20 August 1954 in St. Johns, Antigua and Barbuda, he is married with two children.

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    Juan Antonio Yanez-Barñuevo (Spain)
    Sixth Committee Chairman

    Juan Antonio Yañez-Barnuevo, who was elected Chairman of the Sixth Committee (Legal) on 13 June, has been the Permanent Representative of Spain to the United Nations since May 2004.

    From 2002 until his appointment as Permanent Representative, he headed the International Legal Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since 1997 he had also been Spain's Ambassador at large, representing his country in the negotiations leading to the establishment of the International Criminal Court. He headed the Spanish delegation to the Rome Conference in 1998.

    Between 1991 and 1996, Mr. Yañez-Barnuevo was Permanent Representative to the United Nations, representing Spain in the Security Council, where he served twice as Council President. From 1982 to 1991, he headed the International Department in the Prime Minister's office, also serving as diplomatic counsellor to the President of the Government.

    After joining the diplomatic service, between 1968 and 1982, Mr. Yañez-Barnuevo served succes­sively as a member of the International Legal Department in the Foreign Ministry, First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations and Deputy Permanent Represen­tative to the Council of Europe.

    The author of many works on international issues, he has taught international law and inter­national relations at Madrid and Seville universities and at the Spanish Diplomatic School.

    Born at Coria del Rio, Seville, in 1942, he was educated at Madrid University, the Madrid School for the International Civil Service, The Hague Academy of International Law, the Spanish Diplomatic School and Cambridge University.

    He is married and has a son.

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