DUniv. 2017

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

Lakhdar Brahimi


Lakhdar Brahimi has worked to resolve conflict and build peace in some of the most troubled regions in the world. Since 2004, he has been Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In 1956, two years after Algeria’s war of independence broke out, Lakhdar Brahimi left his studies in Paris to join his country’s liberation struggle. At the age of 22 he represented the National Liberation Front in Southeast Asia, a position he held for five years. Following Algerian independence in 1962, he held several diplomatic roles, including Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Egypt and Sudan, and Permanent Representative to the Arab League in Cairo.

In 1989, as an Arab League Special Envoy, he brokered the Taif Agreement that ended Lebanon’s seventeen-year-long civil war. Between 1991 and 1993 he was Algerian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He led the United Nations Observer Mission during the 1994 democratic elections in South Africa that brought Nelson Mandela to power. He was sent to help end Yemen’s civil war in 1994, and served as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Haiti until 1996. Mr. Brahimi has also served as UN Special Envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaïre), Sudan, Burundi, Liberia, Nigeria, Angola and Ivory Coast.

Mr. Brahimi also served as the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Afghanistan between 1997 and 1999. He returned to that country in 2001, serving as Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan until 2004, during which he oversaw all political, human rights, relief, recovery and reconstruction activities in the country. In 2004 he was named as UN Special Envoy in Iraq.

Lakhdar Brahimi chaired an independent panel established by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to review United Nations peacekeeping operations. In 2000, this panel issued the “Brahimi Report”, which assessed the shortcomings of current peacekeeping, criticised the UN’s failure to respond to atrocities in Rwanda and  Bosnia, and recommended several reforms. More recently, Lakhdar Brahimi was Joint Special Representative of the UN and Arab League for Syria from 2012 to 2014.

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