Who is Dr Salim

SALIM Ahmed Salim born 23 January 1942) is a Tanzanian politician and diplomat who has worked in the international diplomatic arena since the early 1960s.

Salim was born in what was then considered the Sultanate of Zanzibar to Sheikh Ahmad Salim Riyami, an ethnic Arab of Omani descent from Oman while his mother was a local-born mixed-race Tanzanian, born to an ethnic Arab father and a mixed-race Afro-Arab mother. Salim Ahmed Salim is married to Amne and they have three children Maryam, Ali and Ahmed.


He was educated at Lumumba College in Zanzibar and later pursued his undergraduate studies at the St. Stephen’s College of the University of Delhi and obtained his master’s degree in International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York. He became a student activist in the 1950s and was founder and first Vice-President of the All- Zanzibar Student Union.

• 1998: Doctor of Laws, University of Cape Town, South Africa.

• 1996: Doctor of Philosophy in International Relations, University of Bologna, Italy.

• 1995: Doctor of Arts in International Affairs, University of Khartoum, Sudan.

• 1991: Doctor of Civil Law, University of Mauritius.

• 1983: Doctor of Humanities, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.

• 1980: Doctor of Laws, the University of Philippines at Los Baños.

• January 1975: Masters Degree in International Affairs in January, Columbia University in New York.

• 1965 – 1968: Degree studies at the University of Delhi, India.

Positions held in Tanzania

Chief Editor of a Zanzibar daily paper, Secretary General of the All-Zanzibar Journalists Organisation 1963–1964

• Minister for Foreign Affairs 1980 – 1984

• Prime Minister of Tanzania 1984 – 1985

• Deputy Prime Minister of Tanzania 1986 – 1989

• Minister for Defence and National Service 1986 –1989

• President of the Julius K. Nyerere Foundation 2001 – current

• Member of the Central Committee of the ruling political party in Tanzania (Chama Cha Mapinduzi).

• Member of the Tanzania Commission for Constitution Review 2012 – 2014

Diplomatic positions held

• Deputy Chief Representative of the Zanzibar Office based in Havana, Cuba 1961–1962

• Tanzania Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt 1964 – 1965 •

Tanzanian High Commissioner (i.e. Ambassador) to India 1965 – 1968 •

Tanzania Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China 1969 – 1970 •

Permanent Representative of Tanzania to the United Nations 1970 – 1980 •

Tanzania Ambassador to Cuba 1970 – 1980 (served while at the UN) •

Tanzanian High Commissioner to Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago 1970–1980 (served while at the UN) • Secretary-General of the OAU 1989 – 2001

• African Union Special Envoy on the Darfur Conflict 2004 – 2008

Other diplomatic positions

At the continental level, following the invitation of the President of the African Development Bank, since March, 2002 Dr Salim had been acting as African Water Ambassador whose responsibilities included advocacy, sensitization, and mobilization of support on African water issues. He also served as:

• Chairperson, Advisory Board, Institute of Security Studies (ISS) based in Pretoria, South Africa

• Chairperson of the International Board of Trustees, Africa Humanitarian Action (AHI) based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

• Member and Chairperson of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe

• Member of the Panel of the Wise, a consultative body of the African Union

At international level, Salim served on the following boards, panels and commissions:

• Co-chair, Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Small Arms and Light Weapons (Secretariat, based in Washington DC)

• Member of the Board at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation which supports good governance and great leadership in Africa. Salim is also Chair of the Foundation’s Ibrahim Prize Committee, having taken over from the inaugural chair, Kofi Annan in 2011.

• Member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organization which works to support democratic leadership, prevent and resolve conflict through mediation and promote good governance in the form of democratic institutions, open markets, human rights and the rule of law.

It does so by making available, discreetly and in confidence, the experience of former leaders to today’s national leaders.

It is a not-for-profit organization composed of former heads of government, senior governmental and international organization officials who work closely with Heads of Government on governance-related issues of concern to them.

• Member of the Board of the South Centre (Secretariat based in Geneva)

•Member, Policy Advisory Commission, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

• Member of the Foundation Council, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue based in Geneva

• Eminent Member of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation


• 2001: Commandant de l’Ordre National, Mali.

• 2001: Ordre du Mono, Togo.

• 2001: Ordre El-Athir, Algeria.

• 2001: Order of the Two Niles, Sudan. • 2000: Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Lion, Sénégal. • Medal of Africa, Libya

• 1994: Grand Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite, Central African Republic.

• 1994: Grande Croix de l’Ordre Congolais du Dévouement, Republic of Congo. • 1993: Order of Mille Collines, Rwanda.

• 1985: The Order of the United Republic of Tanzania – Nishani Ya Jamhuri Ya Muungano Wa Tanzania. • 1980: The Star of Africa, Liberia.

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