The former Secretary-General of the United Nations and a renowned Peruvian diplomat, Javier Perez de Cuellar passed away at the age of 100 on 4th March 2020 in Lima, Peru.
Here is a biography of this very distinguished career diplomat.
Born on 19th January 1920 in Lima, Peru, Perez de Cuellar joined the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940. In due course of time, he was appointed in the diplomatic service in 1944, serving as Secretary in several Peruvian embassies across the world in nations such as France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Bolivia. He also served as the Ambassador of Peru to the Soviet Union – the firstt ever to hold the post, Venezuela, and Switzerland, among other nations.
A distinguished career diplomat, he was a member of the Peruvian delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations at its first session in 1946. Subsequently, he served on a wide range of positions at the United Nations. This included being the Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations, the President of the Security Council of the UN, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs, and the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General.
Perez de Cuellar assumed office as the Secretary-General of the United Nations on 1st January 1982, serving as the fith Secetary-General. He was appointed for a second term on 10th October 1986 and continued to serve till 31st December 1991.
During his tenure, he brokered intense negotiations between the United Kingdom and Argentina during the Falklands War. He also oversaw the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, and aided the efforts to bring political stability to Nicaragua.
He aided in brokering a historic ceasefire between Iran and Iraq in 1988, in bringing independence of Namibia, and in brokering a peace accord in Cambodia. He also came out of his retirement to aid in reestablishing democracy in his home country, Peru.
He was renowned for his diligent and quiet style of diplomacy and was revered for his outstanding work.
For his lifetime of diplomatic service, he was decorated by around 25 nations across the world and was awarded a host of prizes and awards. In 1987, he was bestowed with the Prince of Asturias Prize for the promotion of Ibero-American co-operation. A ew years later, in 1989, he was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for International Understanding and Common Security, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.0