Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei displays Nobel Prize diploma and medal during award ceremony in Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2005. The US $1.3 million Nobel prize was divided equally between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Elbaradei the Director General. Elbaradei gave half of money to to a group of Cairo orphanages with which his sister in law works.

ElBaradei was born in 1942, in Cairo. ElBaradei comes from a family dominated by lawyers. Amongst the first distinguished were his maternal grandfather, Ali Haider Hegazi, who sat on Egypt's Supreme Court and his father, Mostafa ElBaradei who rose to become the president of the Egyptian Bar Association. ElBaradei enjoyed a youth of privilege in the clubs of Cairo and vacation homes in Alexandria where the wealthiest or Cairo elite had their retreats.

Mohamed ElBaradei as a young man, with his mother, Aida Hegazi, while he was studying Law at the University of Cairo, Egypt.

ElBaradei graduated from the University of Cairo in 1962 with a degree in law and joined the Egyptian foreign service for he which he was posted to the U.N. mission in New York. There he took advantage of a part time masters program at NYU Law school. He later took leave from his job in the early 1970s to pursue PhD program in international law at NYU School of law.

When he completed his doctrate program ElBaradei was posted was posted by the Egyptian foreign service to its mission in Geneva. In 1984 ElBaradei was hired by the IAEA to open the Vienna based organization office in New York. At the IAEA he flourished, moving up the ranks of leadership. By the time ElBaradei became director general the IAEA had been run by Swedes for 36 of its 40 years(the first director was a USA Congressman Sterling Cole).

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei with nuclear inspectors and safety experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria: October 13, 2005.

ElBaradei believes credibility is the lifeblood of the organization, and when that is lost the IAEA is finished. He has preserved that credibility in several ways. The first is by running an organization whose ethical standards have never been challenged. While the rest of the UN system has weathered in a series of debilitating crises. The IAEA has been scandal free and regarded as the jewel in the crown of the network of international organizations.

ElBaradei's job is to run an international organization with a technical mandate, one that requires that he present factual accounts of what different countries are doing with their nuclear facilities. Taking on the structure of global politics is something for national leaders and the secretary general of the UN.

"In the real world, this imbalance in living conditions inevitably leads to inequality of opportunity and, in many cases, loss of hope. And what is worse, all too often the plight of the poor is compounded by and results in human-rights abuses, a lack of good governance and a deep sense of injustice. This combination naturally creates a most fertile breeding ground for civil wars, organized crime and extremism in its different forms."

ElBaradei Speech at the Nobel Prize Ceremony

"It's not just poverty per se, it's the sense of humiliation and injustice. When somebody feels humiliated, they just go bananas, and that is what happens"

ElBaradei on the sociology of conflict.

Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks to the press outside the White House, March 17, 2004 following a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush.

With so much riding on his name its remarkable how little attention Elbaradei has received.

ElBaradei has been frustrated by the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad refusal to come clean about all of its nuclear activities and worried about the situation escalating to warfare.

"Everyone recognizes that Iran can only be resolved when all the concerned parties sit together, face to face, and have a negotiated settlement. There is no military solution...even if you go through the sanctions. An imposed solution is not a durable solution."

"My view is that we should look at the indications, not the intentions, and then decide...As things stand, we cannot prove that Iran has a military nuclear programme. But do you have indications that this is the case? This is the question I think everyone should now be asking."

ElBaradei likens nuclear weapon states to those "who continue to dangle a cigarette from their mouth and tell everybody else not to smoke." In particular, recent moves in the USA to develop a new generation of nuclear warheads has elicited his outrage. "How can the USA, on one hand, say every country should give up their nuclear weapons and on the other develop this bunker heads mini nukes?" ElBaradei has maintained the stand of the IAEA by refusing to bend before the powerful states and never to shy from telling them unwelcome truth.

For ElBaradei at the end of the day its all boils down to a matter of moral responsibility: "You can act as a bureaucrat in the negative sense and do your job and go home. or you can realize that there is something you can do to make people safer and better off. And you do what you have to do."

Mohamed ElBaradei with his wife Aida and daughter Laila a lawyer in London, at home in Vienna, 2005. His son Mostafa not in the picture works in London as a production engineer at CNN.


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