Jayantha Dhanapala a man of our times

UN’S TOP POST: The present Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan will complete his second five year term on December 2006. The hunt is on for the successor to Annan to take over the most high profile diplomatic position in the world to provide leadership to 191 nations. We are living in tense times.

There are wars going on around the world, high profile stand-offs and grandstanting between nations amid bitter disputes.

Public opinion has been badly dented as a result of corruption and sex scandals, questions are being asked: Is the United Nations value for money? Who will have the strength of character and leadership to spearhead the reform agenda at the UN?

Come December this year, the United Nations Security Council will recommend a candidate to the UN General Assembly of nations.

The reality is that the five permanent members of the United Nations – United States, Great Britain, Russia, China and France will choose Annan’s successor via a secret ballot. So who is it going to be? Have the five permanent members made up their minds? Who will occupy the hot seat?

Experienced

According to the latest news reports China has declared that the next UN Secretary General should come from Asia.

Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao said that, “Asian people haven’t taken the important post for 34 years and Asia is the most populous continent. We think the next Secretary-General should be picked from Asian nations.”

Other reports quoted the US Ambassador John Bolton saying; ‘We don’t believe that the next Secretary General will need to be a strong administrator, someone who is committed to reforming the United Nations.

Sri Lanka has formally declared their candidate Jayantha Dhanapala the experienced diplomat and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs 1998-2003. Ambassador Dhanapala was President of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference.

He joined the Foreign Service of Sri Lanka in 1965 and his diplomatic tour of duty included London, Beijing, Washington DC and New Delhi.

The Government of Sri Lanka appointed him ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva in 1984. He left the Sri Lankan Foreign Service to head the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR).

Jayantha Dhanapala re-joined the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry as Additional Secretary before taking up the position of Ambassador to the United States.

He has served as Commissioner in UNSCOM with distinction and as the Head of the Special Group visiting the Presidential Sites in Iraq. He was a member of the 1996 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Integrity and character

It was during his tenure as Under-Secretary General of the United Nations that I met Sri Lanka’s distinguished diplomat at the UN Headquarters in New York when I attended a UN Conference on Civil Conflict, organise by UNs.

Dhanapala was always welcoming, ever the consummate diplomat. He was regarded as a first rate diplomat and administrator in New York.

During that trip to the US I had the opportunity of meeting several Ambassadors to the UN and they spoke highly of him. Jayantha Dhanapala is known as a man of integrity and character.

He was born on December 30th in 1938 and was educated at Trinity College Kandy. He proved to be an all rounder even in his school days and was awarded the Ryde Gold Medal for the best all-round student in 1956. He went on to represent his country with great distinction.

Jayantha brought honour to the land of his birth when he served with the United Nations. In 2004 he was appointed as Secretary-General of the Peace Secretariat for the Co-ordinating of the Peace Process.

He resigned from this position recently. He is a diplomat who is very much at ease with himself and with others Dhanapala has gravitas. Dhanapala is a ‘people person’ a man of our times who has handled some hugely complex issues at the United Nations. He has a track record of proven (diplomatic) success.

Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea

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4 Responses to “A man of our times!”


  1. […] Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea   […]


  2. […] Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea […]


  3. […] Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea […]


  4. […] Jayantha Dhanapala has got what it takes to lead the United Nations; the ball is now in the court of the five permanent members of the UN. by Ivan Corea […]

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