Tanzanian In A Top UN Post

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She is a Muslim, has a law doctorate from Germany, and is described as hardworking, modest and a down-to earth politician. Married to a Christian, a university lecturer with whom she has two children, she rose to prominence 10 years ago after acquiring a ruling party parliamentary seat reserved for women.

 

Asha-Rose Migiro, 50, becomes the first black woman and first African to hold the position of deputy UN secretary-general, a post created in 1998.

When she made history last year, becoming Tanzania's first woman foreign minister, some people started referring to her as the "Condoleezza Rice of Tanzania". But Mrs. Migiro, a seasoned human rights champion, preferred the title "Dr. Asha-Rose of Tanzania".

She is a Muslim, has a law doctorate from Germany, and is described as hardworking, modest and a down-to earth politician. Married to a Christian, a university lecturer with whom she has two children, she rose to prominence 10 years ago after acquiring a ruling party parliamentary seat reserved for women.

Despite her former career in academia - she headed the law faculty at the University of Dar es Salaam - Mrs. Migiro is a person who likes to be in touch with the grassroots. Unlike some of her learned colleagues in the political arena she addresses ordinary Tanzanians in Kiswahili without using English words. When she is in rural areas, she does not demand urban hospitality - eating what her hosts eat and chatting with them as if she was not a prominent political leader.

This way, she believes, people will open up and talk freely. Two year's ago, women's organizations urged Mrs. Migiro to seek the nomination as the ruling party's presidential candidate. However, she turned the request down saying that she was waiting for the right time.

Some have questioned her appointment saying that she is not a career diplomat. Others argue that the fact that she has only held the foreign affairs portfolio for a year does not give her enough experience to work at the UN secretariat.

But her supporters say she has proved she can take the heat. In fact, Mrs. Migiro had a baptism of fire last year as her appointment as foreign minister came as Tanzania took over the presidency of the UN Security Council and she had to preside over its frequent meetings in New York.

And while Dr. Asha-Rose may be quiet and unassuming, she is certainly a lady who stands out in the crowd.
This is exemplified by her wardrobe - a fashionable mixture of African, Western and even Asian styles, but without clashing colors.



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