Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1922. He has a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, jurist, scholar, and author, and served as the sixth Secretary-General to the United Nations from 1992 to 1996. Boutros-Ghali has been an active participant in meetings dealing with international law, human rights, economic and social development, decolonization, the Middle East, international humanitarian law, the rights of ethnic and other minorities, non-alignment, development in the Mediterranean, and Afro-Arab cooperation. The only comments I have read that put a human face on the man are that he's married and that he's irascible, so this write-up is going to be fact-filled and dry.
Boutros-Ghali graduated from Cairo University in 1946 and earned a PhD in international law from Paris University in 1949. The same year he was appointed professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University, a position which he held until 1977. He became president of the Centre of Political and Strategic Studies in 1975 and president of the African Society of Political Studies in 1980. He was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Columbia University from 1954 to 1955, Director of the Centre of Research of The Hague Academy of International Law from 1963 to 1964, and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at Paris University from 1967 to 1968.
Boutros-Ghali was a member of the International Law Commission from 1979 until 1991, and is a member of the Institute of International Law, the International Institute of Human Rights, the African Society of Political Studies and the Académie des sciences morales et politique (Académie française, Paris). In 1978 he attended the Camp David Summit Conference and had a role in negotiating the Camp David accords between Egypt and Israel. He led many Egyptian delegations to meetings of the Organization of African Unity and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and headed Egypt's delegation to the General Assembly in 1979, 1982 and 1990. He served as Egyptian Minister of State for Foreign Afffairs from 1977 to 1991 and Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs from 1991 to 1992. He has published more than 100 books, essays and articles on regional and international affairs, law and diplomacy, and political science.
The first African and Arab head of the United Nations, he wanted to streamline the Secretariat and strengthen the UN's peacekeeping role. He worked to overcome the crises in Angola and Somalia, and launched the United Nations Transition Authority in Cambodia to help establish stability in that war-ravaged country. He originally said that he would only serve one term, but in 1996 anounced that he had decided to seek reelection, a bid which was opposed by the United States, which called his reforms half-hearted. Though the other fourteen members of the Security Council supported his reelection, the United States, one of the five members of the Council with veto power, exercised it and blocked the reelection. Boutros-Ghali's supporters said the US had used him as a scapegoat for their own dissatisfaction with the UN, in particular its bloated bureaucracy, their huge financial contribution to its upkeep, and their inability to dictate its policies and foci.
Boutros-Ghali was succeeded at the UN by Kofi Annan. From 1997 to 2002 Boutros-Ghali was Secretary-General of La Francophonie, an organization of French-speaking nations.
A biography of Boutros-Ghali at the United Nations website gives a dizzying list of his accomplishments and honours.
Editor's note: Ghali died after a fall at his home in Cairo, Egypt, on February 16, 2016. He was 93 years old.