Mohamed Sahnoun, a national of Algeria, was nominated by Secretary-General Kofi Annan as United Nations/Organization of African Unity (OAU) Special Representative for the Great Lakes region of Africa in January 1997.
Sahnoun is also a member of the Special Advisory Group of the War-torn Societies Project, a joint endeavour of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. Through his recent activities, he has been in contact with important actors in the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa.
Prior to his current assignment, Mr. Sahnoun was Special Adviser to the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the Culture of Peace Programme and formerly Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to Somalia, from April to November 1992. In 1993, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the OAU in the Congo; and in 1994, he became a Pearson fellow with the International Development Research Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
During his career, Mr. Sahnoun has been Counsellor to the President of Algeria on diplomatic affairs. He was a member of the World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) in the 1980s, as well as Senior Adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). From 1964 to 1973, Mr. Sahnoun was Deputy Secretary-General of the OAU, and in 1973, he was appointed Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States in charge of Arab-Africa dialogue.
He also served as Algeria's Ambassador to Morocco and Secretary to the Maghreb Union (1989-1990); Ambassador to the United States (1984-1989); Chief of Algeria's Mission to the United Nations (1982-1984); Ambassador to France (1979-1982); and Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (1975-1979).