Press Releases

    18 July 2002

    Main Committee Chairmen, Vice Presidents Elected for Fifty-Seventh General Assembly Session

    NEW YORK, 17 July (UN Headquarters) -- The General Assembly this morning, following the adoption last week of a resolution to amend the rules of procedure governing the timing of elections of the Assembly president, vice-presidents and the chairmen of the Main Committees, elected all six chairmen and the 21 vice-presidents, thereby completing arrangements for the fifty-seventh session. The officers would assume their roles upon the opening of the session on 10 September.

    During last week's meeting on 8 July, Jan Kavan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, was elected Assembly President by acclamation under a text that amended the rules of procedure to allow for the elections to take place three months or more before the opening of a session. On an exceptional basis, the current elections were held less than three months before the next session.

    Regarding the Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly, the number of candidates corresponded with the number of seats to be filled in each region, in addition to the representatives of the five permanent members of the Security Council. Thus, no elections were needed. The following States will serve as Vice-Presidents: Austria, Bahrain, Barbados, Chad, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gambia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Portugal, Qatar, Russian Federation, Swaziland, Togo, United Kingdom, United States and Viet Nam.

    Today, in separate meetings of each of the Main Committees, the Assembly elected the following Chairmen: Matia Mulumba Semakula Kiwanuka (Uganda), First Committee (Disarmament and International Security); Marco Antonio Suazo Fernandez (Honduras), Second Committee (Economic and Financial); Christian Wenaweser (Liechtenstein), Third Committee (Social, Humanitarain and Cultural); Graham Maitland (South Africa), Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization); Murari Raj Sharma (Nepal), Fifth Committee (Financial and Budgetary); and Arpad Prandler (Hungary), Sixth Committee (Legal).

    The newly elected Chairman of the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) Mr. Semkula Kiwanuka (Uganda) has been the Permanent Representative of Uganda to the United Nations since 1996 and led many of his country's delegations to United Nations and other international meetings. Mr. Semakula Kiwanuka obtained a post-graduate diploma in development economics from the University of Oxford (1978-1979). He holds a doctorate in African history from the University of London (1965), and a bachelor's degree in history from London and Makerere Universities (1962).

    The new Chairman of the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), Marco Antonio Suazo Fernandez, was the Deputy Permanent Representative of Honduras to the United Nations and currently charge d'affaires ad interim. At the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Division for Public Economic and Public Administration, he was in charge of capacity-building programmes for Latin America and the Caribbean (1998-2001). He received a degree in social science and jurisprudence at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras, and completed his post-graduate studies at the University of Florence in international relations.

    Mr. Wenaweser, the newly elected Chairman of the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) completed his schooling in Zurich, Switzerland and went on to Zurich University, where he studied the classics, languages and philosophy. Following distinguished diplomatic appointments in his homeland, Mr. Wenaweser was appointed to the Office of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein in 1992. And in 1998, he was appointed the Deputy Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations in New York.

    Mr. Maitland, the newly elected Chairman of the Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) served as Rapporteur of the Committee at its last session. He was Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations since 1 August 2000, with assignments in peacekeeping and in the Secretariat during South Africa's chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Before arriving in New York, he headed the political affairs section of the South African Department of Foreign Affairs Desk. He completed his university studies in international relations in South Africa and France.

    Mr. Sharma, the newly elected Chairman of the Fifth Committee (Financial and Budgetary), joined Nepal's administration service in 1978, serving as Section Officer at the Foreign Aid Coordination Division, Ministry of Finance, until 1982. He served as the Ministry's Joint Secretary and headed its Budget Division until 1993. He was appointed Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations in New York in 1998. A former Hubert Humphrey Fellow at American University in Washington, D.C., Mr. Sharma also holds a masters' degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

    Mr. Prandler, the newly elected Chairman of the Sixth Committee (Legal), has had a long distinguished career in diplomacy, international organizations and teaching international law. He is a professor of international law at Budapest University. He worked in the United Nations Secretariat as Director and Deputy to the Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs. He was also the Secretary-General of the fFourth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

    Complete biographical notes of the chairmen will be issued upon the opening of the fifty-seventh session.

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