Yesterday the Secretary-General of the United Nations announced that he will appoint Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad as the next High Commissioner for Human Rights. The appointment is subject to what should be a routine approval by the General Assembly.
The position, created in 1993, has been occupied by several very distinguished individuals. Ban Ki Moon's inspired choice ensures that this tradition will continue. Our great thanks are due to the outgoing High Commissioner, Navi Pillay, who has done such a fine job during the course of her mandates.
Over the years, Zeid has been involved in a number of important initiatives related to human rights and international justice. He was president of the Assembly of States Parties of the International Criminal Court. He played a very important and effective role at the Kampala Conference, ensuring the adoption of the amendments to the Rome Statute concerning the crime of aggression. A brilliant diplomat, he also has real field experience. In the 1990s, Zeid served as a human rights officer in the former Yugoslavia. A few years ago, he delivered a fabulous lecture on international justice at Brandeis University, available here.
And he's got a PhD! I believe he is the third High Commissioner to have been awarded the degree based upon a thesis. The outgoing High Commission, Navi Pillay, has a JSD from Harvard, which is equivalent to a PhD. Sergio Viera de Mello earned a doctorate at the Sorbonne. Bertram Ramcharan, who was Acting High Commissioner for about a year, also had a doctorate. All of this proves that a doctorate is not only a great degree as preparation for a career in the academy.