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Sotiris Mousouris (1936 - )

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Sotiris Mousouris (1936 - ) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution to the struggle against apartheid and for contributing to the development of the African continent.

Profile of Sotiris Mousouris

Dr Sotiris Mousouris was born in Komotini, Greece, on 1 November 1936 and was raised in Athens.

Mousouris studied Law and Political and Economic Sciences at the University of Athens. He later acquired a masters degree in Economics from Boston University in the United States and later a doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Instead of pursuing a career in business, Mousouris opted for the challenges of a career as an international diplomat.

Entering the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York in 1966 as an economic affairs officer, he rose through the ranks to fill numerous important positions until his retirement from the UN almost three decades later in 1995.

Mousouris was to have the rare honour of working under two secretaries-general of the UN (Javier Perez de Cuellar and Boutros Boutros Ghali) and to have worked closely with current secretary-general, Kofi Annan, when he was deputy head of peace-keeping.

In 1968, Mousouris did ground-breaking work for the UN on economic integration in 12 countries in West Africa. During the early 1970s, he conducted research on the economic and political impact of transnational corporations (TNCs). Through his work, he laid the groundwork for negotiations which eventually led to the formulation of the Code of Conduct for TNCs.

After a two-year sojourn in his home country, Mousouris returned to the UN in 1982. It was at this time that his work became more directly focused on the liberation struggle in South Africa. As director of the Centre against Apartheid between 1987 and 1991, Dr Mousouris gave impetus to the international anti-apartheid struggle, which ensured that the cause of freedom for South Africans was firmly established on the UN agenda. He played a pivotal role in the preparation of the consensus Declaration on Apartheid at the UN General Assembly Special Session in 1989, making sure that apartheid remained on the agenda as a crime against humanity.

Later, Dr Mousouris was to hold the posts of deputy head of the Department of Political Affairs (in 1992) and from 1992 to 1995 of personal representative of the secretary-general for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and co-ordinator of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Dr Sotiris Mousouris is remembered fondly for his seminal work on the continent. In the immediate post-independence period, a time when African countries were only finding their feet on the international stage, Mousouris assisted many countries to establish an international presence. In his role as director of the Centre against Apartheid, Mousouris reorganised the office to become a much more hands-on force opposing South African minority rule and mobilising support for the liberation movement in exile, thereby contributing to the elevation of the status of the struggle against apartheid on the international front. He is honoured as a true friend of all freedom-loving people and as a hero of our own struggle for liberation.

Dr Sotiris Mousouris retired from international diplomacy and returned to Greece in 1995 to dedicate his time to the world of the arts and the preservation of heritage and history. He has written extensively on issues of economic development, trade, human rights, international relations and political matters, and is vice president of the Marangopoulos Foundation of Human Rights.

He continues to be involved in promoting the interests of the African continent through his work as president of the Hellenic-African Chamber of Commerce, which fosters trade relations between his homeland and countries of the African continent.