John William Ashe

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John William Ashe
John William Ashe.jpg
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
17 September 2013 – 16 September 2014
Preceded by Vuk Jeremić
Succeeded by Sam Kutesa
Personal details
Born (1954-08-20) 20 August 1954 (age 61)
(St.John's, Antigua)
Nationality Antiguan
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania (PhD)
Saint Mary's University
Technical University of Nova Scotia

John William Ashe (born 20 August 1954) was the President of the United Nations General Assembly at its 68th session, which ran September 2013 to September 2014.[1] He was also the ambassador to the United Nations for Antigua and Barbuda. His position was last confirmed on 3 May 2004. He is also his country’s Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and has ministerial responsibility for WTO and sustainable development matters.[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Ashe was born in St. John's, Antigua. He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, Canada, and the Technical University of Nova Scotia at Halifax. He holds a Ph.D in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

[2][better source needed] [3][dead link] His parents did not complete high school. His paternal grandfather was illiterate and his mother, in turn, was a descendant of slave plantation owners in Barbados. Consequently, Ashe was the first in his family to attend university.[4]


Antiguan representative at the U.N.[edit]

From 1989 to 1995, he worked for his country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations as Scientific Attaché, Counsellor and Minister Counsellor. Between 1995 and 2004, he was Antigua and Barbuda's Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations. He served as Chairman of the thirteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which met at United Nations Headquarters on 11–22 April 2005. He also led negotiations on budgetary and administrative matters within the conventions on biological diversity and desertification, the Basel Convention, and the Montreal Protocol, and served on the Executive Boards of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).[citation needed]

In April 2009, he was elected chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP), and was responsible for overseeing negotiations leading up to and including the final phase at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.[5][dead link]

UN General Assembly President[edit]

Towards the end of 2011, Ashe was the consensus candidate of all 33 GRULAC members states to be the president of the 68th session of the UNGA,[6][dead link][7] thus not necessitating an election, unlike the previous year.[citation needed]

Bribery accusation[edit]

On 6 October 2015, Ashe was arrested and charged,[8] along with five others, in a criminal complaint by federal prosecutors in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, reflecting an expansion of a probe into the dealings of Macau real estate developer Ng Lap Seng. The complaint accuses Ashe of using "his official position to obtain for Ng potentially lucrative investments in Antigua" as part of an alleged broader scheme to funnel more than $1 million in bribes from Chinese sources to facilitate business dealings, particularly in real estate.[9]


Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Vuk Jeremić
President of the General Assembly
Succeeded by
Sam Kutesa