15 September 2004
President of Fifty-Ninth Session of General Assembly Jean Ping (Gabon)
NEW YORK, 14 September (UN Headquarters) -- Jean Ping, President of the fifty-ninth session of the United Nations General Assembly, has been Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Gabonese Republic since 1999 and a Member of Parliament since 1996.
Mr. Ping has headed his countrys delegation at numerous sessions of the General Assembly, as well as at international conferences and summits. He began his professional life at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, where he was recruited in 1972 as an international civil servant in the Sector for External Relations and Cooperation. He also served as President of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in 1993.
His distinguished 32-year career in government has been marked by diplomatic success, notably through his contribution to the efforts of the President of Gabon, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, to restore peace and stability in Central Africa, in particular in the Republic of the Congo, Chad, Central African Republic and Sao Tomé and Principe.
He served as Director of the Cabinet of the President of Gabon until 1990, when he was appointed Minister of Information. Mr. Ping held a succession of posts at the ministerial level until his appointment in 1999 as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and la Francophonie.
Mr. Ping holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Paris I (Panthéon-Sorbonne). A recipient of numerous honours in recognition of his outstanding career and service to his country, Mr. Ping has been awarded Gabons medals of Commander of the Equatorial Star, Grand Officer of the Equatorial Star, Commander of the Maritime Order and Commander of the Gabonese National Order of Merit.
Born in 1942 in Omboue, in the Etimbwe region of Gabon, Mr. Ping is the author of several publications. He is married with children.
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