9 November 2000




San Jose, Costa Rica, 8 November -- The Council of the University for Peace announced at the conclusion today of its twelfth session in San Jose, Costa Rica, the appointment of a new Chancellor, a new Rector and a major expansion programme. Dr. Graca Machel of South Africa and Mozambique has been appointed Chancellor. Well known for her leadership on issues related to education, human rights and gender equity, she is the first woman and the first black person in the 170-year history of the University of Cape Town to be named as its Chancellor. Internationally, she is particularly well known for the landmark study she undertook for the United Nations Secretary-General on the impact of armed conflict on children. Maurice Strong, President of the University for Peace Council (the University's governing body), said that the Council enthusiastically welcomed the leadership of Dr. Machel, particularly in guiding the expansion of its programmes in Africa and also those which address the vulnerabilities of women and children and the impacts of conflict on them.

The Council is also pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Martin Lees as Rector and Chief Executive Officer of the University, succeeding Maurice Strong who has served in that position as well as that of President, during the transition period. Mr. Lees, a United Kingdom national, has an impressive record of international public service in both the private and public sectors. During the past year he has served as Executive Director of the University for Peace in charge of programme development.

The Council also reappointed Maurice Strong as its President and Dr. Elizabeth Odio, Vice-President of Costa Rica, as Vice-President of the Council.

These appointments were accompanied by decisions to establish new organizational and administrative structures and to launch a series of programmes and initiatives in implementation of the strategy adopted by the Council at its meeting in San Jose in November 1999. These include:

-- establishment of a University for Peace Centre and Policy Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, made possible by a generous contribution by the Schwab Foundation, whose President is Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum;

-- an expanded programme of education, training and research, including a new Masters Degree Programme to be conducted jointly with the School of International Service of American University in Washington, D.C;

-- establishment of a Media and Peace Institute to be located in Europe;

-- development of a Centre for Human Security in cooperation with and on the campus of the University of British Columbia, Canada, under the leadership of former Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy, who was mainly responsible for putting the issue of human security on the international agenda;

-- collaboration with the Earth Council and the World Conservation Union in developments at the University of Peace campus, of the International Ombudsman Centre for the Environment and Development -- to anticipate, prevent and help to resolve environment and natural resource-related conflicts;

-- development of a Global Partnership for Peace Parks in cooperation with the World Conservation Union, the World Wildlife Fund and the Peace Parks Foundation of Southern Africa;

-- establishment, at its San Jose headquarters, of a Peace Complex as a monitoring, teaching and research facility utilizing the latest electronic technologies. This is being developed under the leadership of William Martin, former Executive Secretary of the United States National Security Council, with responsibility for the White House "Situation Room", together with Internet and communications technology innovator Joe Firmage;

-- authorization to the University management to continue to cooperate with others in the establishment of a Centre for Research and Training in Conflict Resolution in Bogot , Colombia;

-- cooperation with one of the world's leading information and publishing organizations, Informa, to create a "UPEACE" journal focused on peace and security issues under the auspices of the University.

The Council is also pleased to announce the establishment of a Council of Honour headed by Costa Rica's former President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dr. Oscar Arias. The Council consists of other Nobel Peace Prize laureates, and a number of other persons who have made similarly distinguished contributions to the cause of peace and security are being invited to participate. The Council of Honour will provide counsel and advice to the University in the development of its activities. The support and guidance of Dr. Arias and the members of the Council of Honour are an immense asset to the University, Council President Maurice Strong said.

"The extensive global expansion programme of the University for Peace requires a major expansion of its campus and headquarters facilities in San Jose. To accommodate this, the University has already refurbished the facilities at its San Jose campus, which it is now shared with the Earth Council in accordance with the strategic partnership agreed by the Council at its last session. In addition, it is now seeking a site for an additional campus in the San Jose area, on which it intends to construct a world-class electronic university as the centrepiece of the global network of partner universities it is developing. Longer-term plans also call for the establishment of a village of residences, hotels, and conference and commercial facilities, which is expected to make an important contribution to the local economy and significantly enhance Costa Rica's role as an international focus. This expansion programme will require substantial new financing, arrangements for which are now being made. They call for initiation of a large- scale fund-raising programme to which Council President Maurice Strong will now be devoting his time and energies. Further information on these and other related decisions taken by the Council will be available shortly in a more extensive report of the results of the Council meeting.

The new Rector, Martin Lees, who will assume his position on 1 January, 2001, commented that this major expansion programme represents a formidable challenge. He is convinced that, as a result of the extensive programme of rebuilding and revitalization which the new Council has undertaken since it was appointed in May 1999, the University for Peace will be able to make valuable contributions to teaching and research on vital issues of peace and progress, which are of such importance to the lives of people throughout the world. He echoed the debt of gratitude expressed by the Council to the Government of Costa Rica for its valuable support and leadership in effecting this transition towards what he described as a "new and exciting era in which the University can serve the cause of peace throughout the world."

The Council paid tribute to the many others who have contributed to its progress, both financially and in terms of their policy and substantive support.

The University for Peace was established by an International Agreement approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1980 to "provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings a spirit of understanding, tolerance, and peaceful co-existence, to stimulate cooperation amongst people, and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations." Following is the curriculum vitae of Martin Lees, newly-appointed Rector.

The priorities of the new Rector will be to continue with the process of revitalization of the University for Peace through a comprehensive and innovative programme of activities to strengthen the University and to internationalize its activities.

Martin Lees was born in the United Kingdom in 1941. He attended Fettes College in Edinburgh and then obtained an honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cambridge in 1964. After five years in industry, he obtained a post-graduate diploma in the Economics and Politics of European Integration at the College of Europe in Belgium. In 1978, Mr. Lees was invited to join the United Nations Development Programme as Special Adviser to Bradford Morse, the Administrator at the time. Following the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development in Vienna in August 1979, he became Executive Director of the United Nations Financing System for Science and Technology for Development. In 1984, he was appointed Assistant Secretary General.

Throughout his career, Mr. Lees has been involved in several major international initiatives, some of which are outlined below:

-- After joining the Organization for Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1971, Mr. Lees took responsibility for the negotiations and substantive preparations for the "InterFutures Project", which addressed the future development of the advanced industrialized countries in harmony with that of the developing countries;

-- In 1983, Mr. Lees became responsible, with the support of former Prime Minister Takeo Fukuda of Japan, for the design and establishment of the "InterAction Council of former Heads of State and Government" and served as its Executive Director.

-- In 1979, he began to establish a long-term relationship with the People's Republic of China by initiating a programme -- at the request of Premier Zhao Xiyang -- to bring economic advice directly to the leaders of China. As a practical consequence of this programme and after extensive negotiations, the State Council of China decided in 1991 to establish "The China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development." Now supported by a wide range of international donors. In 1996, the Chinese leadership decided to continue and expand the Council's activities, which are now fully funded for a second five-year period.

Mr. Lees has also been instrumental in the design and establishment of a variety of proposals for the leaders of the countries of the former Soviet Union and of Eastern and Central Europe, and has organized programmes focused on practical steps: to improve conditions for foreign investment and trade, to manage and reduce energy and financial imbalance in the region, to modernize food production and distribution, and to integrate environmental factors into policies for economic reform. In 1996, on the initiative of Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, Chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation and President of the Keidanren, Mr. Lees assisted in the establishment of the Toyota International Advisory Board, of which he is a member. The University's new Rector takes office on 1 January 2001.

He is fluent in English, French and German. He is married and has four children.

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This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004