Katjavivi Gets UN Position

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK The former University of Namibia’s (Unam) Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Katjavivi was elected chairman of the United Nations University (UNU) Council at its 52nd session held from December 03 to 09 last year in Tokyo, Japan. Katjavivi is also the country’s ambassador to Belgium and the European Union. His appointment came at a critical period when the UNU current Rector, Professor Hans van Ginkle is due to retire in September 2006 and as chairman, he would be expected to play a vital role in overseeing the changeover. Katjavivi first served the UNU Council only as a member when he was appointed in 2002 by the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, with accord of the Director General of UNESCO Koichiro Matsuura. He was initially a parliamentarian immediately after independence in 1990 before becoming the founding Vice- Chancellor of the University of Namibia in 1992, where he played an instrumental role in the transformation of the former Academy to the new university. He has vast experience in international affairs, having served as Swapo’s representative in Western Europe during the country’s struggle for national liberation. Thrilled and delighted about his latest appointment, Katjavivi noted that the appointment was an honour not only to himself personally, but to Namibia and Africa in general. He also declared his readiness to serve UNU and is looking forward to working with the council in guiding the activities of the UNU and its various centres around the world to the best of his ability. In doing all this he says he would be guided by the mission statement of the UNU, which serves as a think-tank for the world body in vital areas such as policy relevance, knowledge, globalisation, peace and security among others. In this connection, he recalls with a great sense of satisfaction the UNU’s contribution to the peace and security area of research for the UN system. In particular, he points to its most recent input towards the cumulative work developed by the UN Secretary General and High-level Panel on threats, Challenges and Change, a document that constitutes the main platform for the recommendations of the UN reforms. The Council of UNU meets annually to formulate principles and policies which govern the activities and operations of the United Nations University. Among many other responsibilities, the council decides upon the research and training centres and programmes, which are to constitute the totality of the university in developed or developing countries; considers and approves the work programme; and adopts the budget of the University on the basis of proposals submitted to it by the Rector.