Ambassador Jan Eliasson
Former Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Darfur and
Former U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs
"Armed Conflict: The Cost to Civilians" - March 25, 2009
"I try to discipline myself, instead of becoming sleepless and losing hope, to channel anger into action."
- Ambassador Jan Eliasson
Born in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1940, Ambassador Jan Eliasson was an exchange student in the United States from 1957 to 1958. He graduated from the Swedish Naval Academy in 1962 and earned a master’s degree in Economics and Business Administration in 1965.
Ambassador Eliasson served as Diplomatic Adviser to the Swedish Prime Minister from 1982 to 1983, and as Director General for Political Affairs in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs from 1983 to 1987. In 1992, he was appointed the first U.N. Under-Secretary- General for Humanitarian Affairs and was involved in operations in Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Balkans – taking initiatives on landmines, conflict prevention and humanitarian action.
In 1993 and 1994, Ambassador Eliasson served as mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Ambassador Eliasson was the Swedish Ambassador to Washington from 2000 to 2005, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1994 to 2000 and U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs from 1992 to 1994. Earlier, from 1988 to 1992, he was Sweden’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York where he was part of the U.N. mediation missions in the war between Iran and Iraq, headed by former Prime Minister Olof Palme.
From January 2007 to July 2008, Ambassador Eliasson served as Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Darfur, and he was President of the U.N. General Assembly from 2005 to 2006. Ambassador Eliasson’s distinguished career as a Swedish diplomat culminated in his serving as Minister for Foreign Affairs in 2006.
Ambassador Eliasson is married to Kerstin Eliasson, who was Sweden’s State Secretary for Education and Science from 2004 to 2006. They have three grown children: Anna, Emilie and Johan.
Updated on 3/25/2009