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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pierre Sané is UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences. He was Secretary General of Amnesty International from October 1992 to April 2001.



Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1949. For fifteen years prior to joining Amnesty International, he worked in the field of international development, serving successively as Regional Controller, International Director of Policy and Budget, and Regional Director (West and Central Africa) of the International Development Research Centre in Canada. He studied for a doctorate in Political Science at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, and holds an M.Sc. in Public Administration and Public Policy from the London School of Economics, as well as being a qualified chartered accountant with an MBA from the École Supérieure de Commerce et d'Administration des Entreprises of Bordeaux, France. He has published extensively on development and human rights issues. He was a founding member of the Pan-African Foundation PANAF, a non-governmental organization spanning worldwide to promote African unification; a trustee and founding member of Frontline (Dublin); and a Board Member of the Henry Dunant Institute (Geneva).

Work for Amnesty International

Appointed Secretary General of Amnesty International in October 1992, Pierre Sané was responsible for the day-to-day management of the international affairs of this human rights movement, headed the International Secretariat in London, and represented the movement to governments, international organizations and the general public. Pierre Sané had joined Amnesty International in 1988.

In 1993 Pierre Sané led Amnesty International's delegation at the World Conference on Human Rights, and played the same role in 1995 at the UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. He addressed the United Nations Security Council in September 1997, briefing the members on the theme of human rights and armed conflict. This was followed by a meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. In both meetings, Pierre Sané stressed that attention to human rights issues can not only provide early warning of potential conflict but also enhances the chances of establishing a lasting peace. He also addressed the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States (Washington) calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in the Americas (1998). In 1998, Pierre Sané led the worldwide campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focussing the attention of the world on the threats against human rights defenders in many countries. He presided over the Human Rights Defenders Summit in Paris in December 1998 and called on the international community to rededicate itself to the values and principles of the UDHR.

Under his leadership, Amnesty International was extensively reorganized with introduction of strategic planning, evaluation, internal audit, central fund-raising and crisis response. He recruited a new management team to adjust AI to new challenges, and initiated decentralization, opening offices in post conflict countries.

Work for UNESCO

Pierre Sané is responsible for the development, execution and evaluation of the following programmes:

  • Social Science Research and Policy (International Migrations and Multicultural Policies, International cooperation in Social Sciences, Sports)
  • Human Rights and Philosophy (Human Rights and Development, Gender and Women’s Rights, Racism and discrimination)
  • Ethics of Science and Technology (Bioethics, Science Ethics and Ethics of the Environment)

Since joining UNESCO, Mr. Sané has launched new initiatives and programmes among which:

  • The International philosophy day now celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide, the purpose being to establish dialogues between philosophers and non philosophers on contemporary issues
  • The World Human Rights Forum which first edition took place in Nantes (France) in May 2004 to foster research policy linkages on Human Rights challenges
  • A new strategy of research and advocacy on Democracy based at the Byblos Centre in Lebanon
  • A programme of dialogues between Civil Societies in the Middle East
  • A research programme on obstacles to socio economic and cultural rights in Latin America
  • A research/advocacy programme to encourage participation of civil society in regional integration processes in West Africa
  • A new programme of research-policy linkages in the study and management of social transformations
  • A new initiative to build an international coalition of cities united against racism
  • A programme of conceptual and empirical research on poverty as a human rights violation

External links

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Ian Martin
Secretary-General of Amnesty International
Succeeded by
Irene Khan


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