Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed

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Introduction

Amb. Dr. Amina Mohamed was born 5 October 1961 and is a Kenyan lawyer, diplomat and politician. She is presently serving as the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture in Kenya. She previously served as chairwoman of the International Organization for Migration and the World Trade Organization’s General Council, as well as Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. She served as the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya from May 2013 to February 2018, when President Uhuru Kenyatta, after re-election, moved her to the Education docket. In March 2019, she was moved to the Ministry of Sports, Culture & Heritage.

Education

Mohamed attended the Township Primary School in Kakamega and later Butere Girls and Highlands Academy.  Upon graduation, Mohamed moved to Ukraine on a scholarship to study at the University of Kiev.She completed the institution’s courses, earning a Master of Laws (LLM) in International Law. Mohamed later obtained a Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) in International Relations from the University of Oxford. Through a Fellowship at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), she also followed several training courses on international law.

Mohamed is multilingual, speaking her native Somali as well as English, Russian and Swahili, with a working knowledge of French.

Career

  • Mohamed began her career in 1985 as a legal officer at the Kenyan Ministry of Local Government. Her duties included assessing World Bank projects and tabling municipal by-laws.
  • Between 1986 and 1990, Mohamed served as a Legal Adviser in Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she drafted and negotiated various bilateral and international treaties. Among these were Bilateral Air Services Agreements with the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Iran and the United Kingdom, as well as the African Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • From 1990 to 1993, Mohamed acted as a Legal Adviser to Kenya’s mission at the UN head office in Geneva, Switzerland. There, she worked alongside officials from the International Labor Organization, World Health Organization and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization.
  • She took a brief sabbatical to pursue higher studies in the UK, before returning to diplomatic service in Geneva.
  • In 1997, Mohamed began serving as Legal Adviser to the Kenyan delegation at the UN Security Council.

Roles in Kenya and with the UN

  • Between 2000 and 2006, Mohamed worked as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative for the Kenya diplomatic mission in Geneva. She was also the Chairperson, Coordinator and Spokesperson for the African Group in the WTO’s Human Rights Commission.
  • In 2002, Mohamed acted as President of the Conference on Disarmament and was appointed the first female chairperson of the International Organization for Migration.
  • At the time, Kenya was the only African country included in the organization. When approached for the chairmanship, Mohamed agreed to accept the candidacy only if the organization opened up to more African countries.
  • She chaired the Trade Policy Review Body in 2003, and served as the chairman of the Dispute Settlement Body in 2004.
  • In 2005, Mohamed became the first woman to chair the WTO’s General Council.
  • She was also a Member of the Executive Boards and Committees of the WIPO, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNHCR and UNAIDS from 2001 to 2005.
  • Between 2006 and 2007, Mohamed acted as Director for both Europe and Commonwealth Countries as well as Diaspora matters for Kenya.
  • She also chaired the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Affairs’ Committee on Strengthening and Restructuring.

Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and the UN

  • She was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs of Kenya from 2008 to 2011.
  • In that role, in 2010 she supervised the redraft of the Constitution of Kenya. During the 2010–2011 calendar year,
  • Mohamed served as the president of the United Nations Conference on Transnational Crime in Vienna. In July 2011, Mohamed was named Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs
On 23 April 2013, Mohamed was appointed Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, one of 18 Cabinet Secretary nominees to the new Uhuru Kenyatta administration.

Cabinet Secretary for Education
On 26 January 2018, President Kenyatta appointed Amina Mohammed to be the Education Cabinet Secretary for his second term.

Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture
In March 2019, President Kenyatta appointed Amina Mohamed to be the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Heritage and Culture,

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