Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is the first African to have been appointed co-chair of the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government during the 32nd annual plenary meeting in Newport, United Kingdom.
“I am humbled to have been elected as Co-Chair of the InterAction Council, a position that has been held by some of my great friends who were also my mentors over the years – Helmut Schmidt of Germany and the late Malcolm Fraser of Australia – and also to serve alongside my longtime friend Jean Chrétien, the former Prime Minister of Canada,” Obasanjo said on Friday after his appointment.
“We will continue the Council’s important work, but also look at some issues that are of particular concern to me, like youth engagement and employment. Africa has many problems but also great opportunities, and the IAC will look at both.”
Obasanjo has governed Nigeria as both the head of a military administration (1975-1979) and then as a democratically-elected civilian president (1999-2007). He was a founding member of the InterAction Council, taking leave for the years when he resumed office as president in 1999.
Obasanjo has assumed the position from Franz Vranitzky, former chancellor of Austria (1986-1997), who served as co-chair from 1 July 2010 until now.
Established in 1983, the InterAction Council of Former Heads of State and Government is an international organization addressing political, economic and social problems of the humankind. The membership is comprised of over thirty former heads of state who submit their proposals of actions directly to national and international decision-makers.
In its 32-year history, the InterAction Council has been at the forefront of many prominent issues, most notably the 1997 drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities, a document that counterbalances the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights; the 2010 Hiroshima Declaration, a powerful plea for the abolishment of nuclear weapons; and the 2012 report, The Global Water Crisis: Addressing an Urgent Security Issue.