JAPAN: The Council of United Nations University, which met for its annual session earlier this month at UNU Centre in Tokyo, has elected Ambassador Jayantha Dhanapala of Sri Lanka as UNU Council Chair, states a United Nations University press release.

Amb. Dhanapala, who currently serves as Senior Adviser to the President of Sri Lanka, has had a distinguished four-decade career as a diplomat, peace-builder and disarmament expert. In his role as UNU Council Chair, he succeeds Peter Katjavivi, the Republic of Namibia’s Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

The Council of United Nations University, which acts as the governing board of UNU, comprises 24 appointed members (who serve as individuals and not as representatives of their home countries), the Rector of UNU and 3 ex-officio members (the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research).

Amb. Dhanapala was appointed to the Council in May 2004 for a six-year term. With UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel planning to retire in 2007, Amb. Dhanapala’s selection as UNU Council Chair comes at a transitional period for the University, and he will play a key role in overseeing the changeover.

“I am deeply honoured to be elected to lead the UNU Council at this time of momentous change for UNU, the entire UN system and the world,” said Amb. Dhanapala.

-Daily News Sri Lanka