24 March 2006

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Nejib Friji Director of UN Information Centre in Manama

NEW YORK, 23 March (UN Headquarters) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is pleased to announce the appointment of Nejib Friji as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Manama, Bahrain.  Mr. Friji has considerable experience in communications, public outreach and media relations, and a thorough knowledge of the Middle East and the work of the United Nations. He is expected to take up his duties on 27 March.

Mr. Friji, a national of Tunisia, is currently the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut, which he has headed since 1998.  His appointment to Bahrain will enable the Information Centre in Manama to provide information services to other countries in the Gulf region, and therefore enhance United Nations outreach in that region.

For the past eight years, Mr. Friji headed the United Nations Information Centre in Beirut, which provides services to Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).  In 2003, during the war in Iraq, he also served as Spokesman for the United Nations in Amman (where the United Nations Press Centre was located).  In 2004 he was Spokesman for the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq.

Mr. Friji joined the United Nations in 1989 as an information officer in the Department of Public Information.  From 1991 to 1994, he headed the United Nations Information Service in ESCWA, based in Amman.  In 1994, he was appointed the first Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Sana'a, a position he held until moving to Beirut in 1998.

Before joining the United Nations, Mr. Friji was a journalist based in Brussels, where he specialized in European Union affairs, Euro-Arab relations and NATO issues.

Mr. Friji has a degree in political science from the University of Paris.  He is fluent in Arabic, French and English, and speaks Spanish.

* *** *