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Secretary-General Appoints Albert Gerard (Bert) Koenders of Netherlands as Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire

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Biographical Note

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed Albert Gerard (Bert) Koenders of the Netherlands as his Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI).

He will replace Choi Young-jin of the Republic of Korea, who will complete his assignment on 31 August 2011. The Secretary-General is grateful for Mr. Choi’s dedicated service and excellent leadership of UNOCI for the past four years during a critical period and under very challenging circumstances.

Mr. Koenders brings with him more than 25 years of experience in international affairs, development cooperation and international policymaking on development, humanitarian, and governance issues. He is currently Co-Chair of the Working Group for the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (Busan Conference) and Chair of the Rutgers World Population Foundation.

In his capacity as the Dutch Minister for Development Cooperation from 2007 to 2010, Mr. Koenders was involved in integrated peace support initiatives in Afghanistan, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. Before that, he was a member of the Netherlands House of Representatives from 1997 to 2007, and undertook several missions to conflict-afflicted areas in Africa and the Middle East.

Mr. Koenders chaired the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank/International Monetary Fund and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Parliamentary Assembly, and served with the European Commission, as well as the United Nations, in Mozambique. He was Foreign Policy Adviser to several Dutch Members of Parliament.

A graduate of the Free University of Amsterdam, Mr. Koenders holds a master’s degree in international economics and African studies from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and was Visiting Professor for Conflict Management at Johns Hopkins University in Bologna from 2000 to 2002.

Mr. Koenders was born in the Netherlands in 1958.

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