UN Secretary-General: The Slovak political heavyweights 

Article published on March 21, 2016
Article published on March 21, 2016

As nominations come in for the next UN Secretary-General, their are two names from Slovakia with their names in the hat. East Side Stories compares two heavyweight contenders for the UN crown: Miroslav Lajčák and Ján Kubiš 

In considering the question of who will be the new UN Secretary-General, there are two names from Slovakia in play. Miroslav Lajčák and Ján Kubiš are both professional diplomats who graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, while the former is also a graduate of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

Lajčák served as a High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in December 2010 he was appointed as Managing Director for Russia, the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans in the EU's External Action Service. He also served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Deputy Prime Minister.

Kubiš and his professional achievements are very well recognized. Besides other positions, the Slovak diplomat was formerly Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General. In July 2005, the European Union appointed Kubiš to be the EU's special envoy to Central Asia. He had previously served as the United Nations special envoy to Tajikistan during the transitional period following the country’s civil war until it held its first postwar elections.

Prior to taking on the post as OSCE Secretary General, Kubiš was Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre in the OSCE secretariat, a position he has held since 1994. In November 2011 he was appointed as the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and head of the country’s UN Assistance Mission.

The good reputation of Slovak diplomacy and high professional competence of Mr.Kubiš was recognised by the UN Secretary-General's decision to  swiftly appoint him as as the new United Nations Special Representative for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) in 2015.

Comparing these two candidates, Ján Kubiš has the advantage, as he is a specialist in conflict prevention and has been trusted by the UN Secretary-General to serve in a hotspot of current threats to world peace.

Both possible candidates, however, are able to lead the discussion over UN reorganization and many other topical questions, and are pleased and humbled by the "rumours" regarding their possible nomination as UN Secretary-General.

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This piece was contributed by Marcela Kubušová.

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This article is part of our East Side Stories project. Through fighting the most common clichés levelled at Southern and Eastern Europe, it aims to keep the European idea alive by raising awareness, creating dialogue, exchanging ideas and reporting beyond the mainstream media.