Javier Pérez de Cuéllar facts for kids
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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Pérez de Cuéllar in 1982
|Secretary-General of the United Nations|
1 January 1982 – 31 December 1991
|Preceded by||Kurt Waldheim|
|Succeeded by||Boutros Boutros-Ghali|
|Prime Minister of Peru|
22 November 2000 – 28 July 2001
|Preceded by||Federico Salas|
|Succeeded by||Roberto Dañino|
|Minister of Foreign Relations|
22 November 2000 – 28 July 2001
|Preceded by||Fernando de Trazegnies|
|Succeeded by||Diego García-Sayán|
|Ambassador of Peru|
|1964–1966||Ambassador to Switzerland|
|1969–1971||Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Poland|
|1977–1979||Ambassador to Venezuela|
|2001–2004||Ambassador to France|
Javier Felipe Ricardo Pérez de Cuéllar y de la Guerra
19 January 1920
|Died||4 March 2020
|Political party||Union for Peru (from 1994)|
(m. 1947; div. 1975)
Marcela Temple Seminario
(m. 1975; died 2013)
|Children||2 (by Roberts)|
Javier Felipe Ricardo Pérez de Cuéllar de la Guerra GCMG (/ˈpɛrɛs də ˈkweɪjɑːr/ perr-ESS-_-DƏ-_-KWAY-yar, Spanish: [xaˈβjeɾ ˈpeɾez ðe ˈkweʝaɾ]; 19 January 1920 – 4 March 2020) was a Peruvian diplomat and politician who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1982 to 1991. He later served as Prime Minister of Peru from 2000 to 2001.
Pérez de Cuéllar was a member of the Club of Madrid, a group of former heads of state and government, and the Inter-American Dialogue.
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was born on 19 January 1920 in Lima, Peru, to a wealthy family of Spanish descent with ancestry from Cuéllar. He was the son of a prosperous businessman whose ancestors had migrated from Spain in the 16th century. His father died when he was 4. He learned French from a governess and earned a law degree from the Catholic University of Lima in 1943. He joined Peru's diplomatic service in 1944 and was soon posted to France. He studied at Colegio San Agustín, and then at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.
Pérez de Cuéllar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940 and the diplomatic service in 1944, serving thereafter as secretary at Peru's embassy in France, where he met and married his first wife, Yvette Roberts-Darricau (1922–2013), in 1947. He also held posts in Britain, Bolivia and Brazil, and later served as ambassador to Switzerland from 1964 to 1966, the Soviet Union and Poland from 1969 to 1971, and Venezuela from 1977 to 1979. From his first marriage, he had a son, Francisco, and a daughter, Águeda Cristina.
He was a member of the Peruvian delegation to the first session of the United Nations General Assembly, which convened in London in 1946, and of the delegations to the 25th through 30th sessions of the Assembly. In 1971, he was appointed permanent representative of Peru to the UN and led his country's delegation in the Assembly until 1975.
In 1973 and 1974, he represented Peru in the UN Security Council, serving as its president at the time of the Cypriot coup d'état in July 1974. On 18 September 1975, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus – a post he held until December 1977, when he rejoined Peru's foreign service. Also in 1975, Pérez de Cuéllar divorced his first wife and married Marcela Temple Seminario (1933–2013), with whom he had no children.
On 27 February 1979, he was appointed UN under-secretary-general for Special Political Affairs. From April 1981, he also acted as the Secretary-General's personal representative on the situation in Afghanistan; he visited Pakistan and Afghanistan in April and August of that year to continue negotiations initiated by the Secretary-General some months earlier.
United Nations Secretary-General
In December 1981, Pérez de Cuéllar was selected to succeed Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General of the United Nations; he was unanimously re-elected for a second term in October 1986.
During his two terms as secretary-general, he led mediations between the United Kingdom and Argentina in the aftermath of the Falklands War and promoted the efforts of the Contadora group to bring peace and stability to Central America. He also interceded in the negotiations for the independence of Namibia, the conflict in Western Sahara, the war between Croatian forces seeking independence and the Yugoslav People's Army (as well as the local Serb forces), and the Cyprus issue. In 1986 he presided over an international arbitration committee that ruled on the Rainbow Warrior incident between New Zealand and France. In 1983, he initiated the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in order to unite countries to pursue sustainable development. During the build-up to the Gulf War, he convinced US president George H. W. Bush to send secretary of state James Baker to negotiate with Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva.
Shortly before the end of his second term, he rejected an unofficial request by members of the Security Council to reconsider his earlier decision not to run for a third term, shortened to two years, as a search for his successor had not, as of then, yielded a consensus candidate. A suitable candidate, Boutros Boutros-Ghali of Egypt, was agreed upon in November 1991, and Pérez de Cuéllar's second term as secretary-general concluded, as scheduled, on 31 December 1991.
Later life and death
Pérez de Cuéllar ran unsuccessfully against Alberto Fujimori for president of Peru in 1995; following Fujimori's resignation over corruption charges, he served as prime minister and foreign minister from November 2000 until July 2001. After Alejandro Toledo's election as president in 2001, he went to Paris as Peru's ambassador to France, retiring in 2004.
In 1997, Pérez de Cuéllar published his memoir Pilgrimage for Peace in which he recounted his years at the UN. He served as Permanent Delegate of Peru to UNESCO until 2004.
Pérez de Cuéllar celebrated his 100th birthday in January 2020 and received congratulations from the United Nations on his 100 years of life. He was the first UN secretary-general to become a centenarian.
Pérez de Cuéllar died at his home in Lima on 4 March 2020, aged 100.
Honours and awards
- 1987: Jawaharlal Nehru Award
- 1987: Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation
- 1989: "Golden Doves for Peace" International Award, issued by Italian research institute Archivio Disarmo
- 1989: Olof Palme Prize for International Understanding and Common Security
- 1991: Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, French chivalric decoration
- 1991: Honorary Knight Grand Cross of St Michael and St George, bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II
- 1991: Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement
- 1991: Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded by George H. W. Bush
- 1992: Freedom Medal
He received several honorary degrees from universities such as the following:
- National University of San Marcos
- Vrije Universiteit Brussel
- Jagiellonian University
- University of Cambridge
- Université Laval
- University of Valladolid
- University of Salamanca
- Université libre de Bruxelles
- University of Coimbra
- Humboldt University of Berlin
- Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
- Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas University
- University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
- Charles University
- Sofia University
- Carleton University
- Visva-Bharati University
- Osnabrück University
- National University of Mongolia
- Moscow State University
- University of Malta
- Leiden University
- La Salle University
- Tufts University
- Johns Hopkins University