Why do you want this job?

As part of its educational mission, the Center for UN Reform Education (CURE) plans to interview a number of leading SG candidates over the coming year. This month, CURE research fellow Ayca Ariyoruk spoke with Jayantha Dhanapala from Sri Lanka. She posed a number of intriguing questions, not the least of which was simply, “Why do you want this job?”

Dhanapala, who chaired the remarkably successful 1995 NPT Review Conference, was the Under SG for Disarmament affairs before returning to Sri Lanka in 2003 to serve as the secretary general for the Sri Lankan peace process. Noting the dedication to the United Nations that prompted his candidacy, Dhanapala shared his thoughts on rogue states and nuclear weapons, the necessary equilibrium between the UN’s principle organs and the relationships that often challenge the UN’s chief adminstrator. In describing the post, he suggested that

“…the ability to be a leader while at the same time recognizing that you derive your mandate from the member states is an essential quality the next secretary general must have.”

As one of only two declared candidates for the top post, he commented that,

“We are deliberately refraining from running an aggressive high profile campaign because this is not analogous to running for office in one’s own country. It is something more sacrosanct, almost, and it has to be approached with a certain level of dignity.”

Update (Jan 25): Readers may be interested in reading this article describing Amb. Dhanapala’s role in the Iraqi weapons inspections effort by then Senior VP of the American Enterprise Institute, and current U.S. Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton.

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