Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar


Former UN Secretary-General



Mr. Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, a lawyer and a career diplomat, served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations for two terms from 1982 to 1991 and as a Hunger Project Board Member, active and honorary, from 1996 until his passing on March 4, 2020.. Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar was born in Lima, Peru, in January 1920 and passed away in March 2020.

Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar served in various positions within the Peruvian Government: Secretary at the Peruvian embassies in France, the United Kingdom, Bolivia and Brazil; Counsellor and Minister Counsellor at the embassy in Brazil; Director of the Legal Department; Director of Administration; Director of Protocol; Director of Political Affairs; Secretary-General (Deputy Minister) for Foreign Affairs; Legal Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Ambassador of Peru to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, Poland and Venezuela.

At the United Nations, Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar served as Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations; President of the Security Council in 1974; Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus; United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs; and the Secretary-General’s Personal Representative on the situation relating to Afghanistan.

Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar also served as Professor of International Law at Peru’s Academia Diplomatica and Professor of International Relations at Peru’s Academia de Guerra Aerea. He was the author of Manual de Derecho Diplomatico (Manual of Diplomatic Law (1964).

Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar received doctorate degrees honoris causa from the following universities: the University of Nice; the Jagiellonian University at Cracow; Charles University at Prague; the University of Sofia; the University of San Marcos at Lima; the Free University at Brussels; Carleton University at Ottawa, Canada; the University of Paris (Sorbonne); the University of Visva-Bharati in West Bengal, India; the University of Michigan; the University of Osnabruck in the Federal Republic of Germany; the Coimbra University at Coimbra, Portugal; the Mongolian State University at Ulan Bator; the Humboldt University of Berlin; the Moscow State University; the University of Malta in Valleta; the Leyden University in the Netherlands; La Salle University in Philadelphia; Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts; the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland; and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

In the course of his career, Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar was decorated by some 25 countries.

In October 1987, he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for the promotion of Ibero-American co-operation. In January 1989, he was awarded the Olof Palme Prize for International Understanding and Common Security by the Olof Palme Memorial Fund. In February 1989, he was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.