Sadako Ogata (Japan) 1991-2000
Before her appointment as High Commissioner, Sadako Ogata was Dean of the Faculty of Foreign Studies at Sophia University, Tokyo. While in academia, she also held positions in the United Nations, chairing the UNICEF Executive Board in 1978-79, and serving on the UN Commission on Human Rights and as the Commission's independent expert on the human rights situation in Burma (now Myanmar). As High Commissioner she oversaw large-scale emergency operations in northern Iraq, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and the Great Lakes region of Africa. UNHCR's budget and staff more than doubled during her time in office, and the organization became increasingly involved in assisting internally displaced people and other vulnerable civilians in conflict situations. Emphasizing the link between refugees and international security, she strengthened UNHCR's relations with the UN Security Council.