Monday, January 31, 2011

Mohamed ElBaradei

Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei (Arabic: محمد مصطفى البرادعي‎, transliteration: Muḥammad Muṣṭafa al-Barādaʿī, Egyptian Arabic: [mæˈħæmːæd mosˈtˤɑfɑ (ʔe)lbæˈɾædʕi]; born June 17, 1942) was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an inter-governmental organisation under the auspices of the United Nations, from December 1997 to November 2009. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005

ElBaradei was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. He was one of five children of Mostafa ElBaradei, an attorney who headed the Egyptian Bar Association and often found himself at odds with the regime of President Gamal Abdel Nasser. ElBaradei's father was also a supporter of democratic rights in Egypt, supporting a free press and a legal system that was independent.[3]

ElBaradei is married to Aida El-Kachef, an early childhood teacher. They have two children: a daughter, Laila—who is a lawyer, lives in London, and is married to Neil Pizey, an investment banker—and a son, Mostafa, who is an IT manager living in Cairo. They also have one granddaughter, Maya

ElBaradei earned a Bachelor's degree in law from the University of Cairo in 1962, followed by a DEA degree in International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a PhD in International Law at the New York University School of Law in 1974.

His diplomatic career began in 1964 in the Ministry of External Affairs, where he served in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and in Geneva, in charge of political, legal, and arms control issues. From 1974 to 1978, he was a special assistant to the Foreign Minister. In 1980, he became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. From 1981 to 1987, he was also an Adjunct Professor of International Law at New York University School of Law.

In 1984, ElBaradei became a senior staff member of the IAEA Secretariat, serving as the Agency's legal adviser (1984 to 1993) and Assistant Director General for External Relations (1993 to 1997).

ElBaradei is a current member of the International Law Association and the American Society of International Law.

ElBaradei began serving as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency on December 1, 1997, succeeding Hans Blix of Sweden.[5][6] He was re-elected for two more four-year terms in 2001 and 2005. His third and last term ended in November 2009. Elbaradei's tenure has been marked by high profile non-proliferation issues including the inspections in Iraq preceding the March 2003 invasion and tensions over the nuclear program of Iran.

Nobel Peace Prize
On October 7, 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA itself were announced as joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their "efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy, for peaceful purposes, is used in the safest possible way". ElBaradei donated all his winnings to building orphanages in his home city of Cairo. The IAEA's winnings are being spent on training scientists from developing countries to use nuclear techniques in combating cancer and malnutrition. ElBaradei is the fourth ethnic Egyptian to receive the Nobel Prize, following Ahmed Zewail (1999 in Chemistry), Anwar Sadat (1978 in Peace) and Naguib Mahfouz (1988 in Literature).

In his Nobel lecture, ElBaradei said that the changing landscape of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament may be defined by the emergence of an extensive black market in nuclear material and equipment, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and sensitive nuclear technology, and the stagnation in nuclear disarmament. To combat proliferation, ElBaradei has suggested keeping nuclear and radiological material out of the hands of extremist groups, tightening control over the operations for producing the nuclear material that could be used in weapons, and accelerating disarmament efforts.[62] Dr. ElBaradei also stated that only 1% of the money spent on developing new weapons would be enough to feed the entire world and that, if we hope to escape self-destruction, then nuclear weapons should have no place in our collective conscience, and no role in our security.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he was delighted that the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to the UN nuclear watchdog and its head ElBaradei. "The secretary-general congratulates him and the entire staff of the agency, past and present, on their contributions to global peace," a spokesman for Annan said.

While speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government on 27 April 2010, ElBaradei joked that he was "looking for a job" and is seeking to be an "agent of change and an advocate for democracy" within Egyptian politics. He also made clear that his wife is not very enthusiastic about any potential run.[55]

On 27 January 2011, Mohamed ElBaradei returned to Egypt amid ongoing turmoil, with the biggest mass protests in 30 years. ElBaradei declared himself ready to lead a transitional government if that was the will of the nation, saying that: "If [people] want me to lead the transition, I will not let them down".[56] Subsequently, "when he joined protesters Friday after noon prayers, police fired water cannons at him and his supporters. They used batons to beat some of ElBaradei's supporters, who surrounded him to protect him."[57] On 28 January 2011, ElBaradei was reported to have been placed under house arrest in Egypt.[58] However, the next day, when he was interviewed by Al Jazeera, he said he was unaware of any such arrest.[59]

Later on ElBaradei arrived in Tahrir Square to join thousands of other protesters against the Mubarak regime and spoke directly to the people, stating that they "have taken back [their] rights" and that they cannot go back. A number of Egyptian political movements have called on ElBaradei to form a transitional government.[60]. ElBaradei has also stated that "the people (of Egypt) want the regime to fall". In response to the appointment of Omar Suleiman as the new Vice President of Egypt, ElBaradei stated that it was a "hopeless, desperate attempt by Mubarak to stay in power, I think it is loud and clear...that Mubarak has to leave today". Additionally, ElBaradei reinstated the position that when Egypt does become a democratic nation and that "there is no reason to believe that a democracy in Egypt would not lead to a better relationship with the US based on respect and equity."[61]
(source: extract from wikipedia)

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