Determined to serve the UN in the spirit in which President Roosevelt helped establish it, Lakhdar Brahimi has committed his entire career to freedom and international cooperation. He has struggled against colonialism, opposed militarism and has tirelessly sought peaceful solutions for international conflicts.
Lakhdar Brahimiwas born in Algiers, Algeria, in 1934 and educated in France, where he studied law and political science. His diplomatic career started during the Algerian independence struggle (1961-1965) when he represented the National Liberation Front in Jakarta. Following his position as Diplomatic Adviser to the President of Algeria (1963-1970) he held several diplomatic posts before joining the Arab League in Cairo in 1979. He served as the Under-Secretary-General for the League from 1984-1991, and as Special Envoy of the Arab League Tripartite Committee he helped negotiate the end of the bitter civil war in Lebanon.Lakhdar Brahimifurther served his country as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1991-1993. The involvement of Brahimi in the Algerian struggle for independence and his participation in post-independence governments has been invaluable for his understanding of post-colonial conflicts.
The assignments inLakhdar Brahimi’s commendable career at the United Nations include several missions on behalf of the Secretary-General to a number of countries. He was sent as a UN delegate to South Africa and Haiti between 1993 and 1996, and to Afghanistan from 1997 until 1999. Brahimi has served several times as personal representative of the Secretary-General to support preventive and peacemaking efforts. One of his most important assignments was chairing an independent panel established by Kofi Annan to review United Nations peace operations. In 2000 the results were published in a report carrying his name. The panel was composed of individuals experienced in various aspects of conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and peace building. The report assessed the shortcomings of the United Nations and made recommendations for the peacekeeping system, its politics, strategies and proposed operational and organizational improvements.
Afterwards, Brahimi was sent on a second mission to Afghanistan from 2001 until 2004 where he was entrusted with overall authority for the political, human rights, relief, recovery and reconstruction activities of the UN. After resigning as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General of the UN in 2005,Lakhdar Brahimibecame a commissioner in the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor that aims to make legal protection and economic opportunity not the privilege of the few but the right of all.
The Freedom of Speech and Expression Award is awarded to Lakhdar Brahimi to honor his dedication to the independence of Algeria, and for his courageous support for international cooperation, democracy, peace and freedom throughout the world.