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Amina Chawahir Mohamed Jibril (Somali: Aamina Maxamed Jibriil; Arabic: امينة محمد جبريل‎) (born 5 October 1961) is a Kenyan lawyer, diplomat and politician. She is presently serving as the Cabinet Secretary for Education in Kenya. [1] She previously served as chairwoman of the International Organization for Migration and the World Trade Organisation's General Council, as well as Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. She served as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya from May 2013 to February 2018, when President Uhuru Kenyatta, after re-election, moved her to the Education docket.[2] [3]

Early life and education

Mohamed was born on 5 October 1961 in Kakamega, British Kenya, to an ethnic Somali family. She is the eighth of nine siblings.[4] Her family belongs to the Dhulbahante Harti Darod clan,[5] and hails from the northern SSC region of Somalia.[6] Mohamed spent her childhood in a modest household in Amalemba, Kakamega, where she passed much of her time reading Sherlock Holmes stories and other detective fiction. She later developed a taste for international affairs.[4]

For her elementary studies, Mohamed attended the Township Primary School in Kakamega and later Butere Girls and Highlands Academy. Her mother believed strongly in the importance of education, and would frequently drop by her classes to monitor her performance. Upon graduation, Mohamed moved to Ukraine on a scholarship to study at the University of Kiev.[4] She completed the institution's courses, earning a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law. Mohamed later obtained a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Through a Fellowship at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), she also followed several training courses on international law.[7]

In 2002, Amina married Khalid Ahmed, a fellow Somali to whom she credits a lot of her success. The couple have two children and also care for four orphans.[4]

Mohamed is multilingual, speaking her native Somali as well as English, Russian and Swahili, with a working knowledge of French.[8]

Career

Legal advisor roles

Mohamed began her career in 1985 as a legal officer at the Kenyan Ministry of Local Government. Her duties included assessing World Bank projects and tabling municipal by-laws.[4] Between 1986 and 1990, Mohamed served as a Legal Advisor in Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she drafted and negotiated various bilateral and international treaties.[4][9] Among these were Bilateral Air Services Agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iran and the United Kingdom, as well as the African Convention on the Rights of the Child. Although a number of job opportunities overseas were available, Mohamed chose to remain with her parents as her father was ailing.[4]

From 1990 to 1993, Mohamed acted as a Legal Advisor to Kenya's mission at the UN head office in Geneva, Switzerland.[4][9] There, she worked alongside officials from the International Labour Organisation, World Health Organisation and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organisation.[4] She took a brief sabbatical to pursue higher studies in the UK, before returning to diplomatic service in Geneva. In 1997, Mohamed began serving as Legal Advisor to the Kenyan delegation at the UN Security Council.[9]

Roles in Kenya and with the UN

Between 2000 and 2006, Mohamed worked as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative for the Kenya diplomatic mission in Geneva. She was also the Chairperson, Coordinator and Spokesperson for the African Group in the WTO's Human Rights Commission. In 2002, Mohamed acted as President of the Conference on Disarmament and was appointed the first female chairperson of the International Organization for Migration.[4][9] At the time, Kenya was the only African country included in the organization. When approached for the chairmanship, Mohamed agreed to accept the candidacy only if the organization opened up to more African countries.[10]

She chaired the Trade Policy Review Body in 2003, and served as the chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body in 2004.[9] In 2005, Mohamed became the first woman to chair the WTO's General Council.[4][11] She was also a Member of the Executive Boards and Committees of the WIPO, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNHCR and UNAIDS from 2001 to 2005. Between 2006 and 2007, Mohamed acted as Director for both Europe and Commonwealth Countries as well as Diaspora matters for Kenya. She also chaired the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs' Committee on Strengthening and Restructuring.[9]

Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and the UN

She was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya from 2008 to 2011. In that role, in 2010 she supervised the redraft of the Constitution of Kenya. During the 2010–2011 calendar year, Mohamed served as the president of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna.[9] In July 2011,[10] Mohamed was named Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).[11]

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs

On 23 April 2013, Mohamed was appointed Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, one of 18 Cabinet Secretary nominees to the new Uhuru Kenyatta administration.[12] She was later sworn into office on May 20, 2013 at Sagana State lodge.[2]

According to the Business Daily Africa publication, "Kenya’s rigorous lobbying and aggressive pan-Africanism agenda gained momentum with the collapse of International and Criminal Court (ICC) cases against Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto partly because attributed to Ms Mohamed’s skillful diplomatic manoeuvres."[13] The same publication reported that Mohamed by late 2016 had “come under heavy criticism for remaining tight-lipped over the suffering of Kenyan detainees in Ethiopia.” Also, in December 2016 she stated that Kenya supported “Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic’s quest for self-rule and its membership of the African Union,” which proved controversial with Morocco and other Arab states.[13] She is currently the chairwoman of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference.[10]

Recent meetings as foreign minister

In 2017, Mohamed was nominated by Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, to be chair of the African Union Commission (AUC).[14] Despite lobbying for the role from the Kenyan government, Mohamed lost the position to the foreign affairs minister of Chad.[13] Uganda afterwards denied reports in February that it had failed to support Mohamed in her bid for AUC chair, stating that “Uganda wishes to state categorically that our support to the candidature of Amina before and during elections was unequivocal… Uganda wishes to reassure the government and the people of Kenya, and Amina in particular, that we remain a reliable ally and partner given our warm and close relations and our commitment to the EAC integration.” The Daily Nation stated that Burundi and Djibouti were also suspected of withdrawing support, with Tanzania denying it had done so.[15]

In late April 2017, she had a series of meetings with US officials such as Senator Bob Corker, Tom Shannon, and Constance Hamilton, where she urged the US to continue to interact with Kenya for the benefit of both nations.[16] On May 9, 2017, she was honored by the Japanese government at the Imperial Palace for “promoting economic relations between Nairobi and Tokyo.”[17] She was the only African personally invested at the event with the award, the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun. At the time, CNBC wrote that Mohamed was “known as an excellent strategist with proven negotiation and managerial skills.”[10] On May 20, 2017, it was reported that Mohamed had met with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov in Beijing, afterwards stating that she felt the meetings signaled possible renewed engagements between Kenya and Russia.[18]

Education Minister

On 26 January 2018, President Kenyatta appointed Amina Mohammed to be the Education Cabinet Secretary for his second term.[19] She has pledged to continued with the reforms initiated by her predeccessor Dr. Fred Matiang'i.[20] Her Principal Secretary Ambassador Monica Juma was promoted to head the Foreign Affairs docket.

Honors

Honors received by Mohamed include:[7]

Personal life

In 2002, Amina married Khalid Ahmed, a fellow Somali. The couple have two children and also care for four orphans.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001272221/education-cs-mohamed-admits-hiccups-in-new-syllabus-books
  2. ^ a b "Amina Mohammed sworn-in as Foreign Affairs Secretary". The Star. 20 May 2013. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013. 
  3. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/education/CS-Amina-Mohamed-to-carry-on-with-education-reforms/2643604-4305008-o5tbxv/index.html
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Aluanga, Lillian (14 August 2011). "From tiny schoolgirl to Unep big boss". Standard Digital. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Amina Mohamed". Puntland Observer. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  6. ^ "Somali-Kenyan appointed to UN post (SSC origin)". Taleex Media Online. 16 May 2011. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "AMBASSADOR AMINA C. MOHAMED, CBS, CAV" (PDF). World Trade Organization. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Meet Amina Mohamed, Kenya's Best Cabinet Minister". How Africa. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g "AMBASSADOR AMINA MOHAMED". Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Kenya. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya. Retrieved 6 January 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c d "Kenya's AMB Amina Mohamed conferred one of Japan's highest honours", CNBC Africa, May 2017, retrieved May 20, 2017 
  11. ^ a b "Amina Mohamed of Kenya appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme". UNEP. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Mayabi, Lordrick (23 April 2013). "Cabinet: Uhuru picks four fresh faces". Capital News. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c "Kenya's Amina beaten to top AU post by Chadian rival", Business Daily Africa, January 30, 2017, retrieved May 19, 2017 
  14. ^ "Kenya fronts CS Amina Mohamed for AU chair post". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2017-02-01. 
  15. ^ "Uganda denies abandoning Amina Mohamed", Daily Nation, February 1, 2017, retrieved May 20, 2017 
  16. ^ Mutambo, Aggrey (April 30, 2017), "Kenya: Do Not Sever Ties With Kenya - CS Pleads With US", Daily Nation, retrieved May 20, 2017 
  17. ^ a b Mutambo, Agrrey (April 30, 2017), "Foreign Affairs boss Mohamed to receive award", Daily Nation, retrieved May 20, 2017 
  18. ^ Mutambo, Aggrey (May 20, 2017), "Kenya: Why Uhuru Reached Out to Russian Counterpart Vladimir Putin", Daily Nation, retrieved May 20, 2017 
  19. ^ https://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/2018/01/amina-named-education-cs-monica-juma-takes-foreign-affairs/
  20. ^ https://www.nation.co.ke/news/education/CS-Amina-Mohamed-to-carry-on-with-education-reforms/2643604-4305008-o5tbxv/index.html

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Sam Ongeri
Minister for Foreign Affairs
2013–present
Incumbent