Leader Profile: Asha-Rose Migiro, Deputy Secretary General, UN

The post of Deputy Secretary-General is a fundamental part of the Office of the Secretary-General, the highest office of the United Nations (UN). The General Assembly established the position at the end of 1997, to assist in the management of Secretariat operations and ensure the coherence of activities. Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the UN in January 2007.

The UN is currently undergoing reforms, which are expected to be radical, under which the Deputy Secretary-General is responsible for overseeing the reform agenda, including general staff remuneration and motivation, UN image-building and reinstating the credibility of the UN. In her post, Asha-Rose will have to take on the challenges of combining management of a major international organization with diplomacy, at a time when the UN’s roles as an international arbiter is being criticized. Asha-Rose aims to create a mutual understanding between developed and developing countries in her position. She asserted, “Being an African, I have first-hand experience to enable me to understand the situation facing Africa and developing countries in general. I will be able to use this experience to contribute in effecting development challenges at the global level.”

Asha-Rose, a professional lawyer born in Songea, Tanzania, earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Law degrees from the University of Dar Es Salaam, where she established her first career as Head of two Law Departments, after having obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Konstanz in Germany. She is the first African woman to hold the position as Deputy Secretary-General and she is referred to as one of Africa’s most accomplished women. Prior to her current position, she has gained a high level of experience working in her home country as Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, as Member of Parliament (Women’s Special Seats) and as Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In the latter, she worked hard in pursuit of Tanzania’s collective effort to attain peace, security and development in the Great Lakes Region. Asha-Rose said of her previous role, “As a Minister, I have learned how to deal with new challenges, social or economic, and I will take the same experience to the UN.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon expressed his confidence in Asha-Rose’s capabilities as he introduced her to the UN panel, saying, “Through her distinguished service in diverse areas, she has displayed outstanding management skills with wide experience and expertise in socio-economic affairs and development issues.”

Following her predecessors, Ms. Louise Fréette, appointed on 2 March 1998, and Mr. Mark Malloch Brown on 3 March 2006, Asha-Rose is delighted to begin her new functions this month. Addressing the UN when assuming office, she said, “As I set about making the United Nations my new home, I greatly look forward to working with you and to learning from your experience and expertise. By working together, with a common vision, I am confident we will succeed in meeting the enormous expectations placed upon us.”

Further information about Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro is available from


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