Undersecretary General of the United Nations Ibrahim Gambari Gambay was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters degree (honoris causa) by President Neil Salonen at the UB Commencement on May 14, 2000.The UN special advisor on Africa gave the commencement address. He was also inducted onto the board of the New England Center for Regional and International Studies at UB.
Before joining the United Nations Secretariat in 1999, Mr. Gambari served as the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations. Mr. Gambari served as President of the Security Council on two occasions when Nigeria was a member. He also chaired the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid, which successfully saw the demise of apartheid and the establishment of democratic rule in South Africa. Prior to his tenure as Ambassador/Permanent Representative, Mr. Gambari served as Minister for External Affairs of Nigeria. He had served as Director-General, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
Mr. Gambari was born in Nigeria in 1944, attended Kings College, Lagos and the London School of Economics, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, with a specialty in international relations. He received his Ph.D.in political science/international relations from Columbia University in 1974.
From 1969 through 1983, Mr. Gambari taught at the City University of New York, then at the State University of New York in Albany, and later at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, where he became Chairman of the Department of Political Science and founded the first undergraduate programme in international studies in Nigeria.
He was a visiting professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University (1986-1989), and has also been a research fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., and a resident scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Italy. He has also authored several books and scholarly articles on international relations and foreign policy.
In 2007 United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Gambari as his Special Adviser on the International Compact with Iraq and Other Issues to ensure coordinated support from the United Nations system to the implementation of commitments made, through the Compact, towards a peaceful, secure and prosperous Iraq.