Johns Hopkins Gazette: February 20, 1996

UN Commissioner Sadako Ogata To Be A Commencement Speaker

Dennis O'Shea
Homewood News and Information

     The United Nations high commissioner for refugees, Sadako
Ogata, has accepted interim president Daniel Nathans' invitation
to be principal speaker at the university's commencement
exercises this spring.

     Ogata also will be one of four recipients of honorary
doctorates at the ceremony, to be held the morning of Wednesday,
May 22. Commencement has been moved this year from Thursday, the
usual day, to avoid a conflict with a Jewish holiday.  

     Ogata has headed since 1991 one of the United Nations' most
respected organizations, responsible for the relief and
repatriation of refugees from war and civil strife. 

     Her UNHCR staff, among other assignments worldwide, is the
lead international humanitarian agency in Bosnia, working to
return nearly 2 million refugees and displaced persons to their
homes. The job is enormously complicated, Ogata has said, in part
because the homes of many refugees have been destroyed or are now
occupied by families from one of the other factions in the war,
who themselves have nowhere to go.

     Ogata was quoted in the Feb. 11 Sunday Times of London as
saying that $2.5 billion is needed for housing repairs alone, and
that Bosnian economy is operating at 5 percent of pre-war levels.

     UNHCR also is responsible for refugees from ethnic violence
in Rwanda and Burundi. Ogata in January served as U.N.
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's personal envoy to the
government of Burundi on a mission to defuse tensions there and
ensure the safety of more than 150,000 refugees.

     Ogata's career has been a mixture of the diplomatic and the
academic. She has represented the U.N. Commission on Human Rights
in Myanmar; she also has served as Japan's representative to the
commission and in several positions in Japan's mission to the
United Nations.

     From 1980 to 1990, she was a professor at Sophia University
in Tokyo, rising in her final years there to dean of the faculty
of foreign studies. She has written extensively on diplomatic
history and international relations.

     The other recipients of honorary  degrees at commencement
will be Norman Hackerman, a former president of Rice University
who earned his bachelor's and doctoral degrees at Hopkins; Sister
Kathleen Feeley, former president of the College of Notre Dame of
Maryland; and William Julius Wilson, a sociologist and authority
on poverty and race relations in America. Wilson, who has been on
the University of Chicago faculty, recently announced he will
move to Harvard later this year.

     The senior class in the Homewood schools announced late last
year that former President George Bush will be the speaker at the
undergraduate diploma ceremony the afternoon of May 22. Bush
received an honorary doctorate from the university in 1990 during
a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Johns Hopkins medicine.

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