Note to Correspondents

Note No 144
29 June 2001


VIENNA, 29 June (UN Information Service) -- Mr. Kemal Kurspahic was appointed by Pino Arlacchi, Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP), as his new Spokesperson, effective 1 July 2001. He replaces Mr. Sandro Tucci who is retiring.

Mr. Kurspahic left the position of Managing Editor at The Connection Newspaper in McLean ,Virginia, USA to join the United Nations. Most recently he was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington D. C., working on a new book on the role of the media in the Balkans war and peace.

He is the recipient of many international awards. In the year 2000, Mr. Kurspahic was named a World Press Freedom Hero by the Vienna-based International Press Institute for his invaluable contribution to freedom of the press in the last 50 years. As the Editor-in-Chief of the Bosnian daily Oslobodjenje he was chosen in 1993 as International Editor of the Year for keeping his paper alive under the siege of Sarajevo. He was also a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in the year 1994/1995.

The paper Oslobodjenje was named the Paper of the Year in former Yugoslavia in 1989, the first year of Mr. Kurspahic’s editorialship. The paper made journalistic history by being published everyday, during the Sarajevo siege, out of the atomic bomb shelter in the totally destroyed building, which housed the publication.

Mr. Kurspahic has authored a number of books: AThe White House@ in 1984, on the presidential elections in the USA, ALetters from the War@, the first book published in the besieged city of Sarajevo, and AAs long As Sarajevo Exists@ in 1997 in the USA.

Mr. Kurspahic, was born in Mkronjic-Grad, Bosnia Herzegovina on 1 December 1946. He is married to Vesna Kurspahic, a psychologist and they have two sons, Tarik and Mirza.

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