Olara A. Otunnu is the President of LBL Foundation for Children, an independent international organization devoted to promoting protection, hope, healing and rehabilitation for children in communities devastated by war.
From 1997 to 2005, Mr. Otunnu served as the UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. In that capacity he spearheaded the international campaign to develop and mobilize international action on behalf of children exposed to war, serving as advocate and moral voice for them, promoting measures for their protection in times of war and for their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict. He was the architect of the ground-breaking comprehensive compliance regime for the protection of children, adopted by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1612 of 26 July 2005. The compliance regime establishes a comprehensive, international monitoring and reporting system to document abuses against children, seeks to identify and publicly list offending parties responsible for abusing and brutalizing children, and seeks to bring these offenders into compliance with international laws and standards, including through the imposition of sanctions. In the course of his advocacy, Mr. Otunnu visited several countries still in the grip of conflict or in the process of recovery.
From 1990 to 1997 Mr. Otunnu was President of the International Peace Academy (IPA). Mr. Otunnu is widely recognized for his contributions to international peace and security, conflict prevention, reform of multilateral institutions, human rights, and the future of Africa.
Born in Mucwini in Uganda, Mr. Otunnu received his early education at Gulu High School and King's College Budo. He then attended Makerere University in Kampala (where he was President of the students' union), Oxford University (where he was Overseas Scholar) and Harvard Law School (where he was Fulbright Scholar). A lawyer by training, he was an Associate with the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke in New York, prior to becoming Assistant Professor of Law at Albany Law School.
In the 1970s, as President of Makerere students union and later as Secretary-General of Uganda Freedom Union, Mr. Otunnu played a leading role in the resistance against the regime of Idi Amin. At the Moshi Unity Conference on Uganda (1979), Mr. Otunnu was elected to serve as a member of the Uganda National Consultative Council, the interim administration in the post-Amin period (1979-1980).
From 1980 to 1985, Mr. Otunnu served as Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During his tenure at the UN, he played a very active role, providing leadership in various bodies, including President of the Security Council (1981), when he presided over the election of the Secretary-General; Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights (1983-84); Vice-President of the General Assembly (1982-83); and Facilitator of Global Negotiations (1982-83).
Mr. Otunnu served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda from 1985 to 1986, during which time he played a prominent role in the Uganda peace talks culminating in the Nairobi Agreement of December 1985. Subsequently, he returned to academia. From 1987 to 1989, he was affiliated with the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) as Visiting Fellow, and with the American University in Paris as Visiting Professor.
Mr. Otunnu is active in many civic initiatives and organizations. He currently serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Aspen Institute, Carnegie Corporation of New York, the International Selection Commission of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, Aspen France, and the Jury for the Hilton Humanitarian Prize.
Mr. Otunnu has received several major awards, including the German Africa Prize (2002) and the Sydney Peace Prize (2005).