Ibrahim Agboola Gambari
(born on November 24
, Kwara State
) is a Nigerian scholar and diplomat. He was Minister for External Affairs
between 1984 and 1985 and is currently the Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Previously, he served as the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations
(USG) for the Department of Political Affairs
(DPA). He was appointed on June 10 2005
and assumed the post on July 1
of that year.
Gambari attended King's College, Lagos
. At the London School of Economics
he received a bachelor's degree in political science. From 1970 to 1974, he studied at Columbia University
, New York
, where he obtained both his M.A.
degree and his Ph.D
degree in political science/international relations.
Gambari began his teaching career in 1969 at City University of New York
before working at University of Albany
. Later, he taught at Ahmadu Bello University
, in Zaria
, Kaduna State
, the second largest university in Africa. From 1986-1989, he was Visiting Professor
at three universities in Washington, D.C.
: Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
, Georgetown University
and Howard University
. He has also been a Research Fellow
at the Brookings Institution
also in Washington D.C. and a Resident Scholar at the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, the Rockefeller Foundation
-run center in Italy
. He was accorded, honoris causa
, the title of Doctor of Humane Letters (D.Hum.Litt.) from the University of Bridgeport
. He is a member of the Johns Hopkins University's Society of Scholars. He was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic
(CFR) by the Government of Nigeria.
United Nations career
In the 1990s, Gambari was a senior delegate of the Nigerian mission to the General Assembly
. Later, he became his country's Permanent Representative
during military rule. In 1999, he began working with the Secretariat
. He had also served as Special Representative
of the UN Mission to Angola
from September 2002 to February 2003. Previous to his appointed as USG, Gambari was Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa
where he was responsible for promoting African development and New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD). Twice he presided over the Security Council
. He was president of the Special Committee Against Apartheid
In November 2006, Gambari undertook a mission to Myanmar
for four days (November 9
to November 12
) to encourage greater respect for human rights
there. While in Myanmar, the USG first met with the junta
leaders in the new administrative capital, Nay Pyi Taw
where he held talks with Than Shwe
and Soe Win
. Later, on November 11
, in Rangoon
, he met with Nobel
laureate and prisoner of conscience Aung San Suu Kyi
. . The USG had also traveled to Myanmar in May 2006.
Most recently, in September 2007 Gambari visited Myanmar as a UN special envoy, to urge that country's military regime to show restraint in handling widespread protests. The success, if any, of his visit was not immediately apparent. The Times quoted one female activist as saying, “We hoped for so much and what we feel is that he achieved nothing... He should have visited the places of the demonstrations – like Pakkoku and the Shwedagon Pagoda. He should have visited the infamous Insein Prison, then he would have seen the truth."
As of November 2007, Gambari continues to visit Myanmar. "I'd wanted very much to spend more time in Yangoon, but the authorities organized all my meetings except the last three or four hours. I think Prof. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro who is the special rapporteur on human rights .. saw a wider variety of people, particularly detainees, and I think we should await his report."
Gambari sought to coax democratic reforms out of Myanmar's military rulers March 6 2008 in his third trip to the country since the deadly 2007 Burmese anti-government protests sparked global outcry.
Recently, he has come under fire by the Burma Campaign UK for the apparent worsening of conditions in Myanmar over the term of his appointment. His critics within the organization insist that since he made his first diplomatic visit to the country in May of 2006, the number of political prisoners has nearly doubled and ethnic cleansing campaigns have displaced well over 100,000 people. Much blame is placed on his 'soft' approach; in which he expressed his belief that the junta was willing to change and was taking "positive steps" toward reform.
- United Nations 21: Better Service, Better Value, Better Management, Progress Report of the Efficiency Board to the Secretary-General (1996) (co-authored with Rafeeuddin Ahmed, Jamsheed Marker, J. E. Connor and Jean-Claude Milleron) (ISBN 0-7881-7387-1)
- Report of the Security Council mission to Rwanda (UN Security Council mission chairman) (1995)
- Theory and Reality in Foreign Policy Making: Nigeria After the Second Republic (1992) (ISBN 0-391-03743-9)
- Political and Comparative Dimensions of Regional Integration: The Case of Ecowas (1991) (ISBN 0-391-03696-3)