Ambassador Eliasson Discusses Tough Mission to Forge Peace

Ambassador Jan Eliasson Speaks on Armed Conflict: The Cost to Civilians

Between 91,121 and 99,500 civilians have been killed since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Those figures are continually updated by Iraq Body Count, an organization operated by academics and peace activists. However, the group indicates those numbers are probably higher.

On Wednesday, March 25, former United Nations Ambassador Jan Eliasson will discuss the aftermath of conflict, including civilian deaths, during “Armed Conflict: The Cost to Civilians.” The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice (IPJ) Theatre, on the University of San Diego campus.

Eliasson’s lecture will focus on how refugees, internally displaced persons and civilians bear the consequences of global armed conflict. The ambassador will also highlight ways to protect civilians who are affected by these adverse circumstances. During his visit to USD, Eliasson will meet with students in the Navy ROTC program to discuss the intersection of the military and humanitarian aid organizations, and to USD law students to address mediation and conflict resolution.

“While the Geneva Conventions have clearly outlawed targeting of civilians by armed forces, civilians in conflicts around the world continue to bear the brunt of military and rebel actions,” said Diana Kutlow, an IPJ senior program officer. “We need to learn more about how to protect civilians not only from direct military actions, but also from the devastation of being displaced, often without food, shelter or medical care.”

Eliasson began his diplomatic career with posts at Swedish Embassies from around the world. Under the direction of former Prime Minister Olof Palme, Eliasson 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 from 1988 to 1992.

His extensive experience abroad and diplomatic background brought him to Washington as the Swedish ambassador 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. In this position, Eliasson was involved in operations located in Somalia, Sudan, Mozambique and the Balkans. He also took on initiatives on landmines, conflict prevention and humanitarian action.

Most recently, from January 2007 to July 2008, Eliasson served as Special Envoy of the U.N. Secretary-General for Darfur. Prior to that, he was the president of the U.N. General Assembly from 2005 to 2006. He served as minister for Foreign Affairs in 2006 as a Swedish diplomat. 

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The University of San Diego, a Catholic Institution of higher learning chartered in 1949. The university enrolls approximately 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The inauguration this fall of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace brings the university’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Education, Law and Nursing and Health Science.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.