Mohamed Sahnoun, a native of Algeria, has a long history of humanitarian work in Africa, and has devoted much of his life to making peace among the people there.
“I started my career with the African Union and immediately I found myself involved in conflict resolutions. I gained experience that proved itself to be very useful later, and therefore the successive Secretary-Generals of the United Nations called on me so that I could take care of these problems.”
It is not only Kofi Anan and other Secretary-Generals of the United Nations that have called on Mr. Sahnoun. His list of service and accomplishments is both lengthy and impressive. After studying at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and later at New York University in the United States, he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in political science.
Mr. Sahnoun has served as Advisor to the President of Algeria, Deputy Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States in charge of the Arab-Africa dialogue, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on the Ethiopian/Eritrean conflict, Joint Representative of the UN and the OAU in the Great Lakes Region and Central Africa, and as Special Representative of the UN to Somalia.
He is a member of the Special Advisory Group of the War-torn Societies Project, a joint endeavour of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.
He was Special Adviser to the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the Culture of Peace Programme. In 1993, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the OAU in the Congo; and in 1994, he became a Pearson fellow with the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
He was a member of the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) in the 1980s, as well as Senior Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED).
Mr. Sahnoun also served as Algeria's Ambassador to Morocco and Secretary to the Maghreb Union, as Ambassador to the United States, as Chief of Algeria's Mission to the United Nations, as Ambassador to France, and as Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.
He served on the Board of the Canadian-based International Institute for Sustainable Development, was president of the Initiatives of Change International, was a founding member of Earth Council Alliance, and is now a valuable addition to the Board of Earth Council Geneva.