2005 – Mohamed ElBaradei and the IAEA
Dr. ElBaradei was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1942. He earned a Doctorate in International Law at the New York University School of Law in 1974. He began his career in the Egyptian Diplomatic Service, and in 1980 he left joined the United Nations, while also acting as an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the NYU.
From December 1997 to November 2009 ElBaradai was Director of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), an inter-governmental organization under the UN that acts as the world’s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. The IAEA was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family, to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies.
In 2001, in response to 9/11, ElBaradei established a nuclear security program to combat the risk of nuclear terrorism by assisting States in strengthening the physical protection of their nuclear and radioactive material and installations.
In 2003 he disputed the US rationale for the invasion of Iraq, based on inspections he and his team of UN weapons inspectors had conducted in the country. In March of 2003 he told the UN Security Council that documents purporting to show that Iraq had tried to acquire uranium from Niger were not authentic, which was later substantiated.
ElBaradei’s consistent approach of multilateralism and diplomacy first contributed to an agreement by Iran in November of 2004 to temporarily halt its nuclear program, though the issue has flared since, and the work of the IAEA continues.
After stepping down from the IAEA, Dr. ElBaradei returned to Egypt, to work for democratic reform. He was a Presidential candidate during the Arab Spring of 2011 and was the country’s last Vice President, a post that he resigned in protest following a violent crackdown by security forces on pro-Morsi supporters, in which at least 525 people were killed.