Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Ivorian diplomat Amara Essy, elected next OAU Secretary-General Monday was born 20 December 1944 in Bouake, northern Cote d'Ivoire.
Holder of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a postgraduate diploma in public law, he started his career as head of the Economic Relations Department at the Ivorian Foreign Ministry in 1970.
Essy held that position for a year before being appointed adviser at the Ivorian Embassy in Brazil (1971-1973), then at the Ivorian Permanent Mission at the United Nations (1973-1975).
He later became his country's Permanent Representative at the European office of the UN in Geneva and at the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in Vienna, Austria.
Between 1977 and 1978, Essy chaired several Commissions in the UN system, including the Commission for the creation of the common fund on primary commodities at UNCTAD, the Commission on maritime transport in the same organisation, the Working Group in charge of changing UNIDO into a specialised UN institution, and the Group of 77 in Geneva.
In 1981 he was appointed Cote d'Ivoire's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, with concurrent accreditation to Argentina and Cuba.
In 1988-1989, Essy was appointed vice-chairman of the 40th session of the UN General Assembly, and later chairman of the 49th session.
He also chaired the UN Security Council in 1990, on behalf of the group of non-permanent member countries, before being recalled to Abidjan, where he was appointed Foreign Minister (1990-1998), then senior Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation (1998-1999).
Essy is among the designers of the "Policy of Dialogue" advocated by the late Ivorian President Felix Houphouet-Boigney with South African authorities during the apartheid era and with the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat.
He has also been involved in peace efforts on African conflicts, notably in Angola, Liberia, Chad, Somalia, Burkina, Mali and Sierra Leone.
Discreet, and almost shy, according to friends, Essy, is fluent in French, English and Portuguese.
He is a recipient of several honours, including the Grand Officer medal of the Ivorian National Order, Grand Cross of the Bolivar National Order in Venezuela, Grand Officer of the San Carlos National Order in Colombia, and Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion in Senegal.