Gambari is currently serving as the Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, which he took over from Late Abba Kyari.
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Ibrahim Gambari Biography
Ibrahim Gambari was born on the 24th of November in Ilorin, Kwara State to a Fulani ruling class family. His nephew Ibrahim Sulu Gambari is the Emir of Ilorin.
He attended the Provincial (now Government) Secondary School, Ilorin before he went to the Floreat Collegium Kings College, Lagos. He obtained his B. Sc. (Economics) degree with specialisation in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 1968. He later obtained his M.A and PhD in Political Science/International Relations in 1970 and 1974 respectively, from Columbia University, New York, USA.
He has taught at universities in the United States, Nigeria and Singapore and has to his credit the authorship of a number of books.
He has received several academic and national honours, including the
• Commander of Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFR)
• The current Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Bayero University, Kano (BUK).
• He was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the Government of Nigeria.
• Ambassador Gambari has also been awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters (honoris causa) form the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2002 and Farleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey in 2006
• Honorary Doctorate of Public Service, Chatham University in May 2008
• Honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt), University of Ibadan, Nigeria in November 2011
• He has also received the Special Recognition for International Development and Diplomacy Award conferred by the Africa-America Institute in September 2007
• Distinguished (Foreign) Service Award by the Federal Government of Nigeria in April 2008
• International House Harry Edmonds Award for Lifetime Achievement, New York in May 2009
• Campaign Against Genocide Medal by the Republic of Rwanda in July 2010
• He received South Africa’s highest national honour conferred on non-citizens, the Order of the Companions of Oliver R. Tambo (OCORT), which was conferred to him personally by President Jacob Zuma on 26 October 2012.
• He was elected to the Johns Hopkins University Society of Scholars in 2002 and has since 2005 served as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University, Zimbabwe.
• He was appointed as First Chancellor, Kwara State University in Nigeria, March 2013
He is married with children and grandchildren.
He was Minister of External Affairs from 1984 to 1985 under General Muhammadu Buhari millitary regime and subsequently Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations (1990-1999). Professor Gambari also served as Joint AU/UN Special Representative in Darfur and Head of UNAMID from 2010 to 2012. He is currently a Chairperson of the Panel of Eminent Persons of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria from 1984 to 1985 and worked closely with regional leaders, institutions and governments, particularly within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the economic and political development of the sub-region. Prior to this, he was the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. He was Minister for External Affairs between 1984 and 1985. He has been a delegate to the Assembly of the African Union as a national delegate within this same period. He was a Visiting Professor at three universities in Washington, D.C.Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University from 1986 to 1989.
He was the Chairman of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid from 1990 to 1994 and on Peace-Keeping Operations from 1990 to 1999. He was Head of the Uecretary-General’s Special Envoy on Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar and Special Representative in Angola. He was also a Research Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., as well as a Resident Scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Bellagio, Italy.
He was appointed as the first United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Africa from 1999 to 2005. In that capacity, he worked closely with heads of government, key policymakers as well as institutions in the continent to develop the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). During this period, he was concurrently the Resident Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission to Angola from 2002 to 2003. On 22 May 2007, the Secretary-General entrusted him with the Good Offices Mandate on Myanmar.
He was also appointed by the secretary-general of United Nations BaKi-moon as Joint African Union-United Nations Special Representative for Darfur in January 2010. He was a member of the UN Secretary-General’s delegation from 2000 to 2012
Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, is currently the Founder/Chairman of Savannah Center External link in Abuja, Nigeria, a think-tank for research, training and public policy debate on the nexus between diplomacy (conflict resolution), democracy and development in Africa. His last assignment at the United Nations was as the Joint Special Representative of the Secretary General and Chairperson of the African Union Commission/Head of the UN and AU Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from January 2010 to July 2012. During Ambassador Gambari’s tenure, UNAMID was the world’s largest international peacekeeping mission.
As a scholar, Ambassador Gambari is the author of several books and scholarly articles. He began his teaching career as a Lecturer at the Queen’s College, City University of New York from 1969 to 1974, followed by an Assistant Professorship at the State University of New York from 1974 to 1977
Upon returning to Nigeria, he was appointed Senior Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, from 1977 to 1980, and rose to become an Associate Professor (Reader), from 1980 to 1983) and subsequently full Professor at the same University from 1983 till present
Ambassador Gambari was a visiting Professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University, Georgetown University and Howard University in Washington, D.C. from 1986 to 1989.
He was named by the Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmad, and as the pioneer chancellor of the Kwara State University on March 4, 2013.