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Biography of Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

IAEA Director General from 1997 to 2009

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei was Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from December 1997 until November 2009.

He had been an IAEA staff member from 1984, holding a number of high-level policy positions, including that of Legal Adviser and subsequently Assistant Director General for External Relations.

Dr. ElBaradei was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1942, son of the late Mostafa ElBaradei, a lawyer and former President of the Egyptian Bar Association. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law in 1962 at the University of Cairo, and a Doctorate in International Law at New York University School of Law in 1974.

He began his career in the Egyptian Diplomatic Service in 1964, serving in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, in charge of political, legal and arms control issues. During this period, Dr. ElBaradei participated in the activities of many international and regional organizations, including: the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Security Council, the Conference on Disarmament, the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, the Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of African Unity and the League of Arab States.

From 1974 to 1978, Dr. ElBaradei was a special assistant to the Foreign Minister of Egypt and in this capacity he took part in various presidential and ministerial delegations. He was a member of the negotiating team that led to the conclusion of the disengagement agreements between Egypt and Israel.

In 1980, he left the Diplomatic Service to join the United Nations and became a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Programme at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. From 1981 to 1987, he was also an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the New York University School of Law.

During his career as a diplomat, international civil servant and scholar, Dr. ElBaradei became closely familiar with the work and processes of international organizations, particularly in the fields of international peace and security and international development. He has lectured widely in the fields of international law, international organizations, arms control and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and is the author of various articles and books on these subjects. He belongs to a number of professional associations, including the International Law Association and the American Society of International Law.

In October 2005, Dr. ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to prevent nuclear energy from being used for military purposes and to ensure that nuclear energy for peaceful purposes is used in the safest possible way." In its citation, the Norwegian Nobel Committee referred to the IAEA's work as being of "incalculable importance", and referred to Dr. ElBaradei as an "unafraid advocate" of new measures to strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

At the end of his third term as Director General in December 2009, Dr. ElBaradei was appointed Director General Emeritus of the IAEA.

Dr. ElBaradei has received multiple other awards for his work as a public servant and as an advocate of tolerance, humanity and freedom. These include:

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Medal;
  • James Park Morton Interfaith Award;
  • Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award;
  • Raymond "Jit" Trainor Award from Georgetown University for distinction in the conduct of diplomacy;
  • Karlsruhe "Mund Auf" award;
  • Dortmund "Der Steiger Award for Tolerance";
  • "Prix de la Fondation" award of the Crans Montana Forum;
  • Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Human Security Award;
  • "Keys of the City" of Bari and Florence, Italy and Montevideo, Uruguay and “Distinguished Visitor” of La Paz, Bolivia and Quito, Ecuador;
  • Honorary Patron of the Philosophical Society, Trinity College, University of Dublin;
  • "Golden Dove of Peace" prize from the President of Italy;
  • "Mostar 2007" International Peace Award of the Mostar Center for Peace and Multi-ethnic Cooperation;
  • 2007 "Atoms for Peace" prize by the International Institute for Sustainable Peace (IISP) and the World Council of Nuclear Workers (WONUC);
  • 2007 World Nuclear Association award (shared with the IAEA);
  • 2008 "Peacebuilding Award" of the EastWest Institute;
  • International Seville NODO Prize for Peace, Security and Inter-Cultural Dialogue;
  • 2008 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development;
  • 2009 Delta Prize for Global Understanding, sponsored by the University of Georgia and Delta Airlines;
  • 2010 XIV International Prize Grupo Compostela-Xunta de Galicia, Compostela Group of Universities.

Dr. ElBaradei is the recipient of honoris causa degrees from New York University, the University of Maryland, the American University in Cairo, the Free Mediterranean University (LUM) in Bari, Soka University of Japan, Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Konkuk University in Seoul, the University of Florence, the University of Buenos Aires, the National University of Cuyo in Argentina, Amherst, College and Cairo University, and Honoris Causa LL.D., The University of Dublin, Trinity College.

He has also received a number of decorations, including the Greatest Nile Collar — the highest Egyptian civilian decoration — “Grand Cross of the Order of Merit from Chile, The Order of the Republic from Tunisia, The Order of Rio Branco from Brazil, Francysk Skaryna Order from Belarus and “El Athir” Award, Algeria’s highest national distinction.

Dr. ElBaradei is married to Aida Elkachef, an early childhood teacher. They have a daughter, Laila, a lawyer, married to Neil Pizey, an investment banker — who lives in London — and a son, Mostafa, an IT manager, who lives in Cairo. They have two granddaughters: Maya and Nina.


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