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Mohamed Ibn Chambas

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Mohamed Ibn Chambas is a Ghanaian politician and a member of the National Democratic Congress. He is a lawyer, diplomat, and academic and since 2006, has been an international civil servant.

He was 7 December 1950 in Ghana.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas attended the Mfantsipim School, Cape Coast, and the Tamale Secondary School Tamale. In 1973, he obtained a degree in Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon an M.A. in 1977, and a Ph.D. in 1980 from Cornell University Ithaca, New York. He also holds a degree in law from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and practiced in Ghana as well as in Ohio.


In 1987, he was appointed the Deputy Foreign Secretary of Ghana. He was a member of the Head of State's summit delegations to a number of countries, including the US, China, the UK, France, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. He led Ghana's delegation to the UN General Assembly, ministerial meetings of the OAU and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth.

While in the United States of America, he taught at the Oberlin College, Ohio while practicing law with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cleveland, Ohio, Law Office of Forbes, Forbes, and Teamor. He returned to Ghana and worked as a school administrator.

From 1993 to 1996, he served as a Member of Parliament for Bimbilla as well as the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament from 1993 to 1994 and was later appointed Deputy Foreign Minister.

As First Deputy Speaker, he was Chairman of the Appointments and Privileges Committees of Parliament. He chaired the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament with oversight responsibility from 1993 to 1994 for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas served as a mediator between the parties of the First Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, and later the Ivorian Civil War in the early 2000s. Centrally involved in the ECOWAS mediation efforts in Liberia, he directly participated in negotiations leading to the agreements ending the Liberian civil war.

In 1996, he lost his Parliamentary seat, President Jerry Rawlings removed him from the foreign ministry and put him in charge of Ghana's primary education system.

He was appointed the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of tertiary education from April 1997 to December 2000. He had direct responsibility for the country's five universities, 10 polytechnics, and agencies/institutions charged with the formulation of policies on higher education, accreditation, and maintenance of standards in tertiary institutions.

He reformed tertiary education including the introduction of the Ghana Education Trust Fund, diversification of funding, and cost-sharing. He also led negotiations and conflict resolution processes during student protests and industrial disputes involving university and polytechnic teachers and other staff members.

Chambas was at the time suggested in the Ghanaian press as a candidate for the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

In 2000, he regained his seat and was a member of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group. Its responsibility was to facilitate a transition to constitutional democratic governance in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and The Gambia.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas was nominated by President John Kufuor to head ECOWAS. He was also the Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Minority National Democratic Congress in 2002. He was also a member of the Select Committee on Education and the Committee on Subsidiary legislation.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas was elected on 1 February 2002 as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). From 2002 to 2006, he served as the chief executive of a 15-person Executive Secretariat of the international organization.

He was appointed the Joint Special Representative for Darfur and Head of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation on 20 December 2012 in Darfur (UNAMID) by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. He succeeds Ibrahim Gambari of Nigeria.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas was also appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on 12 September 2014.