Ambassador Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, a scholar-diplomat, is the Founder/Chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, a non-governmental think-tank on research and policy studies on challenges of conflict prevention and resolution as well as democratization and development in Africa.
Until his retirement from public service about 2012, Professor Gambari was the Joint Special Representative of the UN/AU Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), effectively the largest international peacekeeping operation. He was also the Joint Chief Mediator in charge of negotiation between government of Sudan and the Darfur opposition movement.
Ambassador Gambari has held several leading positions at national, regional and international levels, building extensive contacts with governments as well as public and private institutions. He was Chairman of the UN Special Committee Against Apartheid and worked closely with governments and institutions to coordinate UN policy to eradicated apartheid. As USG/SA to the UNSG on Africa, he worked with Governments and relevant institutions in Africa to develop the NEPAD, while serving at the same time as the Resident Special Representative of the UNSG and Head of UN Mission to Angola.
At the global level, he served as USG/Head of UN Department of Political Affairs, during which period he also acted as UNSG’s Special Envoy to Cyprus, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. He was also the USG/SA on Iraq Compaq between 2007/2009.
He had served his country in different capacities as the Ambassador/Permanent Representative to UN; as Foreign Minister, and as Director-General of the National Institute of International Affairs, Lagos. He was a delegate (in the category of elder statesmen) to the on-going National Conference, whose mandate was to forge a national unity in Nigeria.
As a scholar, Professor Gambari has traversed the academic world:
- As student, a tutelage at the London School of Economics, the Columbia University, New York, University of Albany, etc.
- His teaching career started from the City University, New York; State University of New York; and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
- He was, at different times, a Visiting Professor at John Hopkins University (SAIS); Georgetown University; and Howard University in Washington DC;
- Resident Scholar with the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Italy;
- Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore;
- Scholar-in-Residence at Lynn University, Florida.
He has received several academic and national honours, including the “Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria” (CFR), and the “Order of the Companion of the Oliver R. Tambo” (OCORT) of South Africa. A member of several international institutes, he was the Pioneer Chancellor of the Kwara State University (KWASU), Ilorin, Nigeria.