Press Releases

28 December 2005

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Tom Koenigs of Germany as Special Representative for Afghanistan

NEW YORK, 27 December (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed Tom Koenigs of Germany as his Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the Assistance Mission.  Mr. Koenigs will replace Jean Arnault of France who has served in that capacity since February 2004.

Mr. Koenigs was appointed Germany's Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office by Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on 1 January 2005.  After years of intensive work in the sphere of human rights policy in the United Nations, he has the necessary experience for his new post.  From 2002 he headed the United Nations Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) as Special Representative of the Secretary-General.  The mission was established to monitor the peace agreement signed in 1996 between the former parties to the civil war.  Under the agreement, the specially created Truth Commission to address the human rights violations committed during the civil war played a central role.

Mr. Koenigs also worked for the United Nations from 1999 to 2002.  As Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Kosovo, he was responsible for the general civil administration.

Prior to taking up employment in the United Nations, Mr. Koenigs was active in regional and municipal politics in the German federal state of Hesse.  He began his career there in 1983 as assistant to the Green Party parliamentary group in the Hesse Landtag and became city councillor of Frankfurt am Mein in 1985.  The same year, he became Head of the Minister's Office in the Hesse Environment Ministry.  From 1987 he was responsible for planning coordination and information technology.

From 1989 to 1999 he was the elected Head of the Department for the Environment of Frankfurt am Main.  From 1993 to 1997 he was also Treasurer of Frankfurt.  From 1994 to 1997 he also acted as Deputy Mayor.

From 1990 to 1999, Mr. Koenigs was chairman of the Climate Alliance Commission, an international non-governmental organization which links 800 European cities with the peoples of the Amazonian rainforest and works for the protection of the global climate.

Mr. Koenigs, born on 25 January 1944, is married, with three children.  He speaks Spanish, English and French.  After studying business administration, he worked as an academic tutor for political economics and economic theory at Berlin Free University.  He also worked as a translator of Latin American literature, as a bookseller, taxi driver, electronics technician and welder in Frankfurt am Main and Rüsselsheim before beginning his career in politics.

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