Carleton University will award an honorary degree to Antonio Guterres, who served for a decade as United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), on Jan. 29, 2016.
When: Friday Jan. 29, 2016 at 3 p.m.
Where: Senate Room, Robertson Hall, Carleton University
Media are welcome to attend as Guterres receives a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa in recognition of his humanitarian leadership in protecting the world’s refugees.
The UN General Assembly elected Guterres to the post in May 2005. As High Commissioner, he headed one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations with more than 9,000 staff working in 123 countries, providing protection and assistance to over 46 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless individuals. He retired from the position last December.
About Antonio Guterres
Before his appointment as High Commissioner, Guterres spent more than 20 years in government and public service. He served as the prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, during which time he was involved in the international effort to resolve the crisis in East Timor. As president of the European Council in early 2000, he led the adoption of the Lisbon Agenda and co-chaired the first European Union-Africa summit. He also founded the Portuguese Refugee Council in 1991 and was part of the Council of State of Portugal from 1991 to 2002.
During his tenure as High Commissioner, he oversaw a structural reform of UNHCR, reducing staff in Geneva by over 20 per cent and increasing the organization’s cost effectiveness and emergency response capacity. Guterres’ tenure was marked by some of the largest displacement crises in recent history, particularly the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, but also new emergencies in South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Yemen. Under his leadership, UNHCR drew more attention to the overlooked problem of statelessness, launching a campaign to end statelessness by 2024. He established the annual Dialogue on Protection Challenges, an informal, interactive dialogue bringing together states, UN agencies and civil society to discuss mixed migratory flows, protracted refugee situations, urban settings, protection gaps, faith, internally displaced persons, protection at sea and addressing the root causes of displacement.
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