H.E. Lakhdar Brahimi

Former Under-Secretary General of United Nations


Lakhdar Brahimi took part in Algeria’s struggle for independence and represented the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Indonesia (1956-1961). He served as his country’s Ambassador to Egypt (1963-1970) and the United Kingdom (1971-1979) and was its Foreign Minister from 1991 to 1993. He also served as Under Secretary General of the League of Arab States (1984-1991) and Under Secretary General of the United Nations (1993-2005).

Brahimi is a member of “The Elders”, a group of elder statesmen and personalities formed in 2007 at the initiative of President Nelson Mandela and chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ambassador Brahimi is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) and is set to teach a Conflict Resolution Seminar at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (“Sciences-Po”) in Paris (IEP – the Institute for Political Studies), in 2011. He is also a Member of the Global Leadership Forum chaired by former South African President F.W. de Klerk.

As Special Envoy of an Arab League High Level Tri-partite Committee composed of H.M. King Fahd Bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, H.M. King Hassan II of Morocco and H.E. President Chadli Benjedid of Algeria, Lakhdar Brahimi mediated (1988-1991) the end of the civil war in Lebanon which had raged for nearly 17 years (resulting in the Taef Peace Agreement).

He led the United Nations Observer Mission to South Africa (UNOMSA) which observed the historic elections that brought Apartheid to an end and gave birth to the new, democratic and non-racial Republic of South Africa with Nelson Mandela as its first President.

Soon after that, he tried to help end the civil war that broke out in 1994 between North and South Yemen.

He went from there to be the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (SRSG) for Haiti (1994- 96).

He also accomplished several missions as the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General, in several African countries, including Sudan, Burundi, Congo (former Zaïre), Liberia, Nigeria, Angola, and Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).

In Afghanistan, he served twice: first as Special Envoy of the Secretary General (1997-99), then as Special Representative of the Secretary General (2001-2004), after the December 2001 Bonn Conference which he chaired, and led to a successful conclusion (24 November – 5 December 2001).

Between his two Afghanistan assignments, Ambassador Brahimi chaired, in 2000, the Independent Panel on UN Peace Operations. The Panel’s Report was endorsed by the Millennium Summit in September 2000 and is commonly known as “The Brahimi Report”.

As Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General to Iraq during the first half of 2004, he helped form the first national Government which was supposed to mark the end of occupation.

Lakhdar Brahimi spent two years (2006-2008) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, USA, as the IAS Director’s Visitor.

Lakhdar Brahimi is also currently an “Andrew D. White Professor-At-Large” for Social Sciences at Cornell University.

Brahimi presently chairs the International Task Force on Afghanistan set-up by the Century Foundation (and co-chaired by US Ambassador Thomas Pickering).

He is also a member of the Boards and Advisory Committees of a number of organizations including The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Services of Georgetown University, the Carnegie Middle East Center, etc.

He was awarded Honoris Causa Doctorates by: the American University, Beirut (AUB); Oxford University in the UK; the University of Bologna in Italy; and the University of Nice in France.

He was awarded a number of awards and medals including, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Award (for Freedom of Speech and Expression), the Georgetown University Raymond “Jit” Trainor Award for a Career of Dedicated Diplomatic Service, the Great Negotiator Award of Harvard Law School, the Stefan A. Riesenfeld Award (UC Berkeley and Berkeley Journal of International Law and Boalt School of Law), the Dag Hammarskjöld Honorary Medal Award, the United Nations Correspondents’ Association (UNCA) Citizen of the World Award, the Defender of Democracy Award of the Parliamentarians for Global Action, the Khalil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Award of the Arab American Institute (AAI), the Lifetime Achievement Award of the ADC (American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee), and most recently the “Prix Spécial du Jury pour la Prévention des Conflits” (Jury Special Prize for Conflict Prevention) of the Chirac Foundation (“Fondation Chirac”).

Lakhdar Brahimi is married with three children and six grand children.