Olara A. Otunnu is a lawyer, the president of the Uganda People's Congress and a candidate for the 2011 General elections in Uganda. He was previously an advocate for children's rights and was once the Ambassador of Uganda to the United Nations, the UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and President of the International Peace Academy.
Born in Mucwini, among the Chua people of the Central Luo, Otunnu received his early education from Mvara, in the north of Uganda.
He received his early education at Mvara, Mucwini and Anaka primary schools. He received his secondary education at Gulu High School and King's College Budo. He then attended Makerere University (where he was president of the Students' Guild), Oxford University (where he was Overseas Scholar) and Harvard Law School (where he was a Fulbright Scholar). A lawyer by training, he was Associate at the law firm of Chadbourne and Parke in New York, prior to becoming Assistant Professor of Law at Albany Law School.
Olara Otunnu returned to his home country Uganda to run for president under the divided Uganda People's Congress. Former UPC president Miria Obote (wife to former Uganda President Milton Obote) stepped down from her seat after Otunnu was elected in a delegates conference where he beat her son, Jimmy Akena, in Lira Municipality to take up the seat. Olara Otunnu is already in talks with other political leaders over a possible coalition under the Inter Party Coalition. Olara Otunnu hails from Kitgum district in Northern Uganda.
Otunnu is the president of LBL Foundation for Children, a New York-based independent international organization [501 (c) (3) tax-exempt status] devoted to promoting education and hope for children, particularly in poor, disadvantaged, and post-conflict communities.
From 1998 to 2005, Otunnu served as the UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. In that capacity he sought to develop and mobilize international action on behalf of children exposed to war, promoting measures for their protection in times of war and for their healing and social reintegration in the aftermath of conflict.
He was involved in developing UN Security Council Resolution 1612 (July 2005) on the protection of children. From 1990 to 1998 Otunnu was President of the International Peace Academy (now IPI), an international institution dedicated to promoting the prevention and settlement of armed conflict between and within states. Otunnu served as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda from 1985 to 1986, and participated in the Uganda peace talks which culminated in the Nairobi Peace Agreement of December 1985. Subsequently, he returned to academia. From 1987 to 1989, he was affiliated with the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI) as Visiting Fellow, and with the American University in Paris as Visiting Professor.
From 1980 to 1985, Otunnu served as Uganda's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He served as President of the Security Council (1981), as Vice-President of the General Assembly (1982–1983); as Chairman of the General Assembly Credentials Committee (1983–1984), Chairman of the Drafting Committee of the Ministerial Meeting of Non-Aligned Movement (1983); and as Chairman of the Contact Group on Global Negotiations (1982–1983).
Otunnu has served as a member of several eminent international commissions, including: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict (1994 to 1997); Commission on Global Governance (1992–1995); International Panel on Management and Decision-Making in the United Nations (1986–1987); Group on Rethinking International Governance (1986–1990); United Nations Group of Experts on New Concepts of International Security (1984–1985); Commonwealth Group of Experts Study Group on the Security of Small States (1984–1985); International Task Force on Security Council Peace Enforcement and Regional Security Steering Committee of International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. He is a member of the Club of Rome. Otunnu has been very active in many civic organizations. He currently serves on the boards of several prominent organizations, including: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Aspen Institute; International Selection Commission of the Philadelphia Liberty Medal; Aspen France; International Peace Academy; Jury for the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Prize; Jury for the John P. McNulty Prize; and Patron for the World's Children's Prize.
Previously, Otunnu served on the boards of Carnegie Corporation of New York; Hampshire College; Makerere University Council; International Crisis Group (ICG); International Advisory Council of International Committee of the Red Cross; Council of African Advisers of the World Bank; International Patrons of the Refugee Studies Programme at Oxford University; Aspen Italia; and the Advisory Committee of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
In the 1970s, as president of Makerere Students' Guild and later as Secretary-General of Uganda Freedom Union, Otunnu participated in the resistance against the regime of Idi Amin. At the Moshi Unity Conference on Uganda (1979), Otunnu was elected to serve as a member of the Uganda National Consultative Council, the interim administration in the post-Amin period (1979–1980).
Awards and nominations 
Mr. Otunnu has received several major International awards, including the Distinguished Service Award, awarded by the United Nations Association of USA (2001); German Africa Prize (2002); Sydney Peace Prize (2005), and Global Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights (India, 2006). In 2007, he received the Harvard Law School Association Award, presented by its president Jay H. Hebert and Elena Kagan (Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court ).
- "Profile: Olara Otunnu". BBC: Profiles. BBC News. Archived from the original on Wednesday, 8 May 2002, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK. Retrieved 19 July 2012.
- "Olara Otunnu receives Harvard Law School Association Award". News & Events. June 14, 2007. Harvard Law School. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Kagan, Elena. "Questionnaire For Nominee For The Supreme Court". Bipartisan questionnaire by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- Hébert, Jay H. "Report of the President, 2006-2008". Speech. Harvard Law School Association. Retrieved 8 November 2011.
- "Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court - Elena Kagan". Nominations & Confirmations. United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Retrieved 8 November 2011.