Boutros Boutros-Ghali (or, as Seinfeld once said, “Boutros
Boutros GOLLY”) was the sixth Secretary-General of the United Nations. Born in
Cairo, Egypt. in 1922, he was educated in Egypt and France, earning degrees in law, public law, and economics, with his doctorate in international law from Paris University in 1949. His
next twenty-eight years were spent in academia, teaching at the University of
Cairo when he wasn’t lecturing or doing research at universities and think tanks
in the U.S., Europe, or Africa. In 1977, he was appointed the Egyptian minister
of state for foreign affairs and accompanied President Anwar Sadat to Jerusalem
and Camp David as the peace accords between Egypt and Israel were negotiated.
During a brief stint as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, he approved a
secret $26 million arms sale to the government of Rwanda; these weapons were stockpiled by the Hutu regime in preparation for
the subsequent genocide of
the Tutsi four years later.
Boutros-Ghali was invited to head the
U.N. in 1991. His tenure saw the Rwandan genocide, the Angolan civil war, the
Yugoslav wars, the Somali crisis—all of which led to his second term being
squashed by a majority of the U.N.’s Security Council. He is the only
Secretary-General to have served only one term. The rest of his public career
was spent serving with or leading a variety of international organizations. He
died in a Cairo hospital on February 16, 2016, after breaking his pelvis.