Distinguished law graduate, international peacekeeper is 2014 commencement speaker

chambasDistinguished Case Western Reserve University alumnus Mohamed Ibn Chambas, joint chief mediator overseeing the Darfur peace negotiations for the African Union and United Nations, will return to his alma mater as the 2014 commencement speaker on Sunday, May 18.

Chambas, a renowned attorney, scholar and diplomat from Ghana, will offer lessons gleaned from decades of negotiating some of the world’s most contentious and difficult issues. He will address an estimated 5,400 people—including 2,000 graduates—at the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center.

Chambas, 63, who earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve in 1984, was the international mediator who helped resolve the Liberian Civil War of the 1990s, and the Ivory Coast Civil War in the early 2000s.

During the commencement ceremony, Chambas also will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

“We are proud to welcome Mohamed Ibn Chambas back to our campus for graduation exercises,” President Barbara R. Snyder said. “His work exemplifies our mission of increasing knowledge and deepening understanding, and I am confident we all will learn a great deal from his remarks.”

Chambas, who entered government in 1987 as Ghana’s deputy foreign secretary, came into international prominence as mediator for the First Liberian Civil War, and later the Ivorian Civil War.

His long and distinguished career reflect a lifetime of service:

  • In 2007, he was appointed the first president of the Economic Community of West African States by the governments of its member states, serving a four-year term.
  • Two years later, Chambas was named secretary-general of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), a security and economic cooperation organization of 79 countries. In that role, he aided in the ACP’s economic recovery and helped forge the organization’s agreement to join the European Union in 2020.
  • In 2013, Chambas was appointed joint special representative of the African Union to the United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur.

Chambas also is an accomplished academic. As Ghana’s deputy minister of education from 1997 to 2000, he oversaw policies and accreditation for five universities and 10 polytechnic and agency and institutions.

In addition to his law degree, Chambas, who is married with five children, holds political science degrees from the University of Ghana (BA, 1973) and Cornell University (MA, 1977, and PhD, 1980).

Today is the final day for graduates to attend Grad Fair, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the university bookstore.