As Presidents and Heads of Governments from the 193 member countries of the world begin the general debates of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Tuesday, September 24, 2019, the presiding officer of the Sessions will be a Nigerian.
His Excellency, Ambassador (Professor) Tijjani Muhammad-Bande will, from the exalted seat of President of the United Nations General Assembly, be directing the affairs of the world body whose mandate is to discuss and proffer solutions to a wide range of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations, such as development, peace and security, international law issues.
The self-effacing, accomplished academic and distinguished diplomat, who was elected into the coveted office on June 4, 2019, and who will preside over the UNGA into the 75th Anniversary of the world body next year will have the singular honor of flying the Nigerian flag at that very high level and it is expected that he will bring honor to his country of birth.
Biography of His Excellency Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande
Tijjani Muhammad-Bande has had an outstanding career as a scholar and diplomat. He received a BSc (Political Science) from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria (1979); an MA (Political Science) from Boston University, United States of America (1981); and a PhD (Political Science) from University of Toronto, Canada (1987).
He started his academic career at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Nigeria, rising from Graduate Assistant in 1980 to full Professor in 1998, and ultimately to Vice-Chancellor, in 2004, a position he held for five years. During his tenure as Vice Chancellor, the University, with about 20,000 full-time students in various faculties, ranked first in the accreditation of academic programmes in Nigerian universities (2007).
Between 2000 and 2004, Professor Mohammad-Bande served as Director-General of Le Centre Africain de Formation et de Recherche Administratives pour le Développement (CAFRAD), in Tangiers, Morocco. Established by African governments in 1964, CAFRAD is the continent’s premier intergovernmental Centre for governance reform. Under his stewardship, the Centre improved much-needed training for senior African public servants, conducted specialized research on African governance issues, and worked with a variety of partners, in particular the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.
From 2010 to 2016, he held the position of Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Nigeria’s most reputable policy institution for training leaders from the public and private sectors, including high echelon officials of Nigeria’s Armed Forces. In that capacity, he inspired a marked improvement in the quality of the Institute’s programming and activities. One of his signature initiatives in that regard was the establishment of the Political Parties Policy and Leadership Development Centre, the first of its kind in Africa.
As Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (2018-2019), Professor Mohammad-Bande worked with colleagues from all regions of the world to achieve common objectives. He served as Vice-President of the 71st session of the General Assembly and was active in several forums, including as Chair of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34), Member of the Advisory Board of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, and Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Group.
Professor Muhammad-Bande was an assessor for the National Merit Award (Nigeria) and for professorial positions in universities. He has won merit awards and honours from institutions and governments, including the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China. Most notably, he was named Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), one of Nigeria’s highest national honours.
He is married with four children, and his hobbies include swimming, soccer, field hockey, farming and music.
Some of the high-level events to be convened during the 74th Session of the UNGA
- On Tuesday, 24 September, following the opening of the 74th General Debate, the UNGA will convene a meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which will take place on the afternoon of 24 September and all day on 25 September;
- On Thursday, 26 September, the UNGA will hold a high-level dialogue on financing for development (FfD), as well as a high-level meeting on the elimination of nuclear weapons; and
- On Friday, 27 September, the UNGA will hold the high-level meetingto review progress made in addressing the priorities of small island developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway.