News Release

Sadako Ogata, Former President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Joins Brookings

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sadako Ogata, former president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and United Nations high commissioner for refugees, has joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, Brookings President Strobe Talbott announced today.

Ogata, a renowned academic and diplomat with decades of service in the international community, will affiliate with the Foreign Policy and Global Economy and Development programs and participate in a wide range of events and research projects to advance some of the programs’ key initiatives.

“We are honored that Sadako agreed to join Brookings. With her many years as an international public servant and world leader, she will have considerable impact on the Institution’s international agenda,” said Talbott. “She embodies Brookings’s ideals and further demonstrates our reach as a global think tank.”

During her eight-and-a-half years at JICA, Ogata emphasized a new approach by allocating more staff to the field and introducing an overseas, on-the-job training system for new staff. She also focused on human security, assistance for peacebuilding and for Africa, and organizational reforms.

Prior to assuming the presidency of JICA, Ogata served as the United Nations high commissioner for refugees from 1991 to 2000; was one of the co-chairs of the Commission on Human Security starting in 2001; and, was appointed as the special representative of the prime minister of Japan for Afghanistan Assistance in November 2001. Before her appointment as high commissioner, she was a United Nations Commission on Human Rights independent expert in Myanmar in 1990. From 1982 to 1985, she was also the representative of Japan on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. In 1978 and 1979, Ogata was envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, having served as minister there from 1976 to 1978.

Ogata served as dean of the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo in 1989. From 1987 to 1988, she directed the Institute of International Relations at the university, where she had also been a professor since 1980. Ogata received her B.A. from the University of the Sacred Heart in Tokyo and an M.A. in international relations from Georgetown University. She received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley

Brookings’s distinguished fellows are individuals of particularly noteworthy distinction whose work across several fields of public policy puts them at the pinnacle of worldwide research and policy impact.  Distinguished fellows are actively engaged in the life of the Institution, often with more than one of Brookings’s five research programs. In assuming the title, Ogata joins Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. secretary of health and human services; Itamar Rabinovich, an Israeli diplomat, scholar, and university president; Ed Rendell, former governor of Pennsylvania; Thomas Pickering, a career U.S. ambassador and former permanent representative to the United Nations; and Javier Solana, former secretary general of NATO and high representative for foreign and security policy of the European Union.

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