Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ-Ⲅⲁⲗⲓ, بطرس بطرس غالي , ; 14 November 1922 - 16 February 2016) was an Egyptian politician and diplomat who served as the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) from 1992 to 1996. An academic who previously served as acting foreign minister and vice foreign minister of Egypt, Boutros-Ghali oversaw the UN over a period coinciding with several world crises, including the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide. +more He went on to serve as the first Secretary-General of La Francophonie from 1997 to 2002.


Early life and education

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was born in Cairo, Egypt, on 14 November 1922 into a Coptic Orthodox Christian family. His father Yusuf Butros Ghali was the son of Boutros Ghali Bey then Pasha (also his namesake), who was Prime Minister of Egypt from 1908 until he was assassinated in 1910. +more His mother, Safela Mikhail Sharubim, was daughter of Mikhail Sharubim (1861-1920), a prominent public servant and historian. The young boy was brought up by a Slovenian nanny, one of the so-called ; he was closer to Milena, "his invaluable friend and confidant", than to his own mother.

Boutros-Ghali graduated from Cairo University in 1946. He received a PhD in international law from the Faculty of Law of Paris (University of Paris) and diploma in international relations from Sciences Po in 1949. +more During 1949-1979, he was appointed Professor of International Law and International Relations at Cairo University. 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 at The Hague Academy of International Law from 1963 to 1964, and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law at the Faculty of Law of Paris from 1967 to 1968. In 1986 he received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Law at Uppsala University, Sweden. He was also the Honorary Rector of the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, a branch of Kyunghee University Seoul.

Political career

Boutros-Ghali's political career developed during the presidency of Anwar Sadat. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Arab Socialist Union from 1974 to 1977. +more He served as Egypt's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs from 1977 until early 1991. He then became Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for several months before moving to the UN. As Minister of State, he played a part in the peace agreements between President Sadat and Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.

According to investigative journalist Linda Melvern, Boutros-Ghali approved a secret $26 million arms sale to the government of Rwanda in 1990 when he was foreign minister, the weapons stockpiled by the Hutu regime as part of the fairly public, long-term preparations for the subsequent genocide. He was serving as UN secretary-general when the killings occurred four years later.

United Nations Secretary-General

1991 selection

Boutros-Ghali ran for Secretary-General of the United Nations in the 1991 selection. The top post in the UN was opening up as Javier Pérez de Cuéllar of Peru reached the end of his second term, and Africa was next in the rotation. +more Boutros-Ghali tied Bernard Chidzero of Zimbabwe in the first two rounds of polling, edged ahead by one vote in round 3, and fell behind by one vote in round 4. After several countries withdrew their support for Chidzero, fed by fears that the United States was trying to eliminate both of the leading candidates, Boutros-Ghali won a clear victory in round 5.

Tenure (1992-1996)

Boutros-Ghali's term in office remains controversial. In 1992, he submitted An Agenda for Peace, a suggestion for how the UN could respond to violent conflict. +more He set three goals: for the UN to be more active in promoting democracy, for the UN to conduct preventative diplomacy to avert crises, and to expand the UN's role as peacekeeper. Although the goals were consistent with those of US president George H. W. Bush, he nevertheless clashed repeatedly with the United States, especially with his efforts to involve the UN more deeply in the civil wars in Somalia (1992) and in Rwanda (1994). The United States refused to send peace enforcement units under UN leadership.

Boutros-Ghali was criticised for the UN's failure to act during the 1994 Rwandan genocide, during which over a half million people were killed. Boutros-Ghali also appeared unable to muster support in the UN for intervention in the continuing Angolan Civil War. +more One of the hardest tasks during his term was dealing with the crisis of the Yugoslav Wars after the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. The UN peacekeeping force was ineffective in Bosnia and Herzegovina, forcing the intervention by NATO in December 1995. His reputation became entangled in the larger controversies over the effectiveness of the UN and the role of the United States in the UN.

Some Somalis believed he was responsible for an escalation of the Somalia crisis by undertaking a personal vendetta against Mohamed Farrah Aidid and his Habar Gidir clan, favouring their rivals the Darod, the clan of the former dictator Siad Barre. It was believed that he demanded the 12 July 1993 US helicopter attack on a meeting of Habar Gidir clan leaders, who were meeting to discuss a peace initiative put forward by the leader of the UN Mission in Mogadishu, retired US Admiral Jonathan Howe. +more It is generally believed that the majority of the clan elders were eager to arrange a peace and to rein in the provocative activities of their clan leader Aidid, but, after this attack on a peaceful meeting, the clan was resolved on fighting the Americans and the UN, leading to the Battle of Mogadishu on 3-4 October 1993.

Second term vetoed

Boutros-Ghali ran unopposed for the customary second term in 1996, despite efforts by the United States to unseat him. US ambassador Madeleine Albright asked Boutros-Ghali to resign and offered to establish a foundation for him to run, an offer that other Western diplomats called "ludicrous". +more American diplomatic pressure also had no effect, as other members of the Security Council remained unwavering in their support for Boutros-Ghali. He won 14 of the 15 votes in the Security Council, but the sole negative vote was a US veto. After four deadlocked meetings of the Security Council, France offered a compromise in which Boutros-Ghali would be appointed to a short term of two years, but the United States rejected the French offer. Finally, Boutros-Ghali suspended his candidacy, becoming the only Secretary-General ever to be denied a second term by a veto.

Later life

From 1997 to 2002, Boutros-Ghali was Secretary-General of La Francophonie, an organisation of French-speaking nations. From 2002 to 2005, he served as the chairman of the board of the South Centre, an intergovernmental research organisation of developing countries. +more Boutros-Ghali played a "significant role" in creating Egypt's National Council for Human Rights, and served as its president until 2012.

Boutros-Ghali supported the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly and was one of the initial signatories of the Campaign's appeal in 2007. In a message to the Campaign, he stressed the necessity to establish democratic participation of citizens at the global level. +more From 2009 to 2015 he also participated as jury member for the Conflict Prevention Prize, awarded every year by the Fondation Chirac.

Personal life and death

Boutros-Ghali's wife, Leia Maria Nadler, was raised in an Egyptian Jewish family in Alexandria and converted to Catholicism as a young woman.

Boutros-Ghali died aged 93 in a Cairo hospital, after having been admitted for a broken pelvis or leg, on 16 February 2016. A military funeral was held for him with prayers led by Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria. +more He is buried at Petrine Church in Abbassia, Cairo.

Honorary degrees

He received an honorary degree from and Uppsala University.

Awards and recognition

The World Affairs Council Christian A. Herter memorial award, Boston (March 1993) * The Arthur A. +more Houghton Jr. Star Crystal Award for Excellence de l'Institut afro- américain, New York (November 1993) * Member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques * Honorary membership of the Order of Canada * Honorary membership of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Moscow (April 1994) * Honorary foreign membership of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow (April 1994) * Honorary foreign membership of the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Minsk (April 1994) * Fellow of Berkeley College, Yale University (March 1995) * The recipient of the Onassis Award for International Understanding and Social Achievement (July 1995).


National honours

Grand Collar of the Order of the Nile
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Grand Cross of the Order of Merit

Foreign honours

Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator General San Martín
Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
Grand Cross of the Order of the Southern Cross
Companion of the Order of Canada2003
Grand Cross of the Order of Central African recognition
Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit
Grand Cross of the Order of Boyaca
Knight of the Order of the Elephant
Grand Cross of the National Order of San Lorenzo
Grand Cross with Silver Star of the Order of José Matías Delgado
Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour1994
Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
Knight Grand Cross with Collar Order of Merit of the Italian Republic1982
Grand Cross of the Order of Ivory Merit
Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Grand Cross of the National Order of Mali
Grand Cross of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of Nepal
Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun of Peru
Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry1996
Grand Cross of the Order of La Pléiade2002
Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania2000
Grand Cross of the National Order of the Lion
Grand Cross of the Grand Order of Mugunghwa
Grand Cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star

Published works

As Secretary-General, Boutros-Ghali wrote An Agenda for Peace. He also published other memoirs:

In English

The Arab League, 1945-1955: Ten Years of Struggle, ed. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, New York, 1954 * New Dimensions of Arms Regulations and Disarmament in the Post Cold War, ed. +more United Nations, New York, 1992 * An Agenda for Development, ed. United Nations, New York, 1995 * Confronting New Challenges, ed. United Nations, New York, 1995 * Fifty Years of the United Nations, ed. William Morrow, New York, 1995 * The 50th Anniversary: Annual Report on the Work of the Organization, ed. United Nations, New York, 1996 * An Agenda for Democratization, ed. United Nations, New York, 1997 * Egypt's Road to Jerusalem: A Diplomat's Story of the Struggle for Peace in the Middle East, ed. Random House, New York, 1998 * Essays on Leadership (with George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Desmond Tutu), ed. Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, Washington, 1998 * Unvanquished: A US-UN Saga, ed. I. B. Tauris, New York, 1999 * The Papers of United Nations Secretary (with Charles Hill), ed. Yale University Press, New York, 2003 * The Arab League, 1945-1955: International Conciliation, ed. Literary Licensing Publisher, London, 2013.

In French

Contribution à l'étude des ententes régionales, ed. Pedone, Paris, 1949 * Cours de Diplomatie et de Droit Diplomatique et consulaire, ed. +more Librairie Anglo-égyptienne, Cairo, 1951 * Le problème du canal de Suez, ed. Société égyptienne du droit international, Cairo, 1957 * Le principe d'égalité des États et des organisations internationales, ed. Académie de droit international, Leiden, 1961 * Contribution à une théorie générale des alliances, ed. Pedone, Paris, 1963 * Le Mouvement afro-asiatique, ed. Presses universitaires de France, Paris, 1969 * L'organisation de l'Unité africaine, ed. Armand Colin, Paris, 1969 * Les difficultés institutionnelles du panafricanisme, ed. Institut Universitaire des Hautes études Internationales, Geneva, 1971 * Les conflits des frontières en Afrique, ed. Techniques et Économiques, Paris, 1972 * Contribution à une théorie générale des alliances, ed. Pedone, Paris, 1991 * L'interaction démocratie et développement [eds. ], ed. Unesco, Paris, 2002 * Démocratiser la mondialisation, ed. Rocher, Paris, 2002 * Émanciper la Francophonie, ed. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2003 * 60 Ans de conflit israélo-arabe : Témoignages pour l'Histoire (with Shimon Peres), ed. Complexes, Paris, 2006.

Further reading

Honorary Companions of the Order of Canada

Officers of the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Secretaries-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie