Vuk Jeremić

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vuk Jeremić
Vuk-Jeremic-cirsd-2014.jpg
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
18 September 2012 – 17 September 2013
Preceded by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
Succeeded by John William Ashe
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 May 2007 – 27 July 2012
Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica
Mirko Cvetković
Preceded by Vuk Drašković
Succeeded by Ivan Mrkić
Personal details
Born (1975-07-03) 3 July 1975 (age 41)
Belgrade, Yugoslavia
(now Serbia)
Political party Democratic Party (Before 2013)
Independent (2013–present)
Alma mater Queens' College, Cambridge
Imperial College London
Harvard University
Religion Serbian Orthodoxy[1]

Vuk Jeremić (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук Јеремић, Serbian pronunciation: [ʋûːk jěremitɕ]; born 3 July 1975) is a Serbian diplomat who served as Serbia's Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2007 and 2012 and President of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly between September 2012 and September 2013.

Jeremić is a native of Belgrade, and was raised in a mixed Christian and Muslim household. His father was the CEO of a prominent state-owned oil company and his mother hailed from a well-known Partisan family, two of whose members were posthumously declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for saving Jews during The Holocaust. In the early 1990s, while he was still a teenager, Jeremić and his parents were forced to leave Yugoslavia after falling out with the country's communist government. Jeremić graduated from Cambridge and Harvard in 1998 and 2003, respectively, and was active in several pro-democracy student movements during the 1990s. In the early 2000s, he joined what The New York Times deemed Serbia's "most westward-leaning government" as an advisor to President Boris Tadić. In May 2007, while Tadić was still in office, Jeremić was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. Jeremić's time as Foreign Minister was marked by his fervent opposition to Kosovo's unilateral secession from Serbia. During his tenure, Serbian authorities arrested a number of war crimes suspects and extradited them to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. His tenure also saw a significant improvement in relations between Serbia and the West. In 2009, the European Union lifted all visa restrictions on citizens of Serbia, and in 2012, declared the country a candidate for membership.

In 2012, Jeremić was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly, and remains the youngest person ever to have held the office. His tenure saw Palestine granted non-member observer status in the General Assembly, the General Assembly's adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which aimed to regulate international conventional weapons commerce, and the proclamation of 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

Jeremić describes himself as a "fervent, pro-European politician".[2] He is the current president of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) and editor-in-chief of Horizons, an English-language global public policy magazine. Jeremić is one of 11 candidates to succeed Ban Ki-moon as United Nations Secretary-General in 2016.

Early life[edit]

Family[edit]

Vuk Jeremić was born in Belgrade on 3 July 1975.[3] His given name, which means "wolf",[4] is a Serbian apotropaic name given to ward off evil spirits and protect a child from evil.[5] Jeremić's parents are Mihajlo and Sena Jeremić (née Buljubašić). His father is a Serb from Belgrade and his mother is a Muslim Bosniak whose ancestors hailed from the northwestern Bosnian town of Cazin.[6] During the 1980s, Jeremić's father was the CEO of Jugopetrol, a large state-owned oil company.[7]

Jeremić's paternal grandfather, Bogoljub, was an officer in the Royal Yugoslav Army.[2] In April 1941, at the height of World War II, he was captured by the Germans during the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia and imprisoned, first at Matthausen and then at Dachau.[8] He returned to Yugoslavia by foot,[2] only to be arrested as a political dissident by the country's new communist authorities and jailed at the Goli otok prison camp, where he spent the next five years.[9]

Through his mother, Jeremić stems from the prominent Pozderac family, widely considered the most influential Bosnian Muslim political dynasty in post-war Yugoslavia.[6] Jeremić's maternal great-grandfather, Nurija Pozderac, was a prominent Bosnian Muslim politician in Depression-era Yugoslavia. A staunch anti-fascist, he joined Josip Broz Tito's Partisans in the early 1940s and was killed in action in 1943.[2] Nurija and his wife Devleta were posthumously declared Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem for saving Jews during The Holocaust, and Jeremić accepted a medal and certificate identifying them as such at a ceremony in Belgrade in November 2012. According to survivors, the couple sheltered Jews who snuck out of a train destined for the Jasenovac concentration camp, which was operated by Croatia's fascist ruling party, the Ustaše.[10] Pozderac's nephews Hamdija and Hakija featured prominently in Yugoslav political circles during the 1980s.[6]

Education[edit]

Jeremić completed his elementary schooling in Belgrade, moving on to the First Belgrade Gymnasium where he began his high school studies. There, he met Boris Tadić, a pro-Western psychology professor and future President of Serbia whom the young Jeremić came to regard as a role model and mentor. Before long, Jeremić's family was blacklisted by the increasingly authoritarian government of Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milošević, and had to flee the country. They settled in the United Kingdom, and Jeremić finished his high school education in London.[2]

Jeremić continued his post-secondary studies at the University of Cambridge (Queens' College), graduating with a bachelor's degree in theoretical physics in 1998.[3] His years there coincided with the Yugoslav Wars, which negatively affected Serbia's reputation abroad. Jeremić's time at Cambridge provided him with insight into how his country was perceived overseas during the war years. "It was hard to explain that you come from Serbia and you’re not a children-eating radical," Jeremić recalled.[2] Jeremić began his Ph.D studies in quantitative finance at the University of London (Imperial College), and worked for Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort and AstraZeneca in the British capital.[1] Beginning in 2001, he studied under Jeffrey Sachs at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government as a Fellow of the Kokkalis Foundation's Program on Southeastern and East-Central Europe, graduating in 2003 with a master's degree in public administration and international development.[11]

Career[edit]

Formative years[edit]

Tadić and Jeremić meeting with US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at The Pentagon, 20 July 2004

In July 1997, Jeremić co-founded and became the financial manager of the Organization of Serbian Students Abroad (OSSA),[12] the first international Serbian student association, which at the time had several thousand members. He was an active supporter of Otpor! ("Resistance!"), the Serbian civic youth movement that employed non-violent civil disobedience tactics against Milošević's government in the hope of spurning democratic reforms. He became even more determined to see Milošević toppled during and after NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in the spring and summer of 1999. "This guy ... Milošević," Jeremić recalled thinking, "he has to be removed, because he’s going to get us all buried. If he stays, he’s going to get us all buried."[2]

Following Milošević's resignation in October 2000, largely due to the efforts of groups such as Otpor!, Jeremić worked as an advisor to Tadić, then Yugoslavia's Minister of Telecommunications.[7] In September 2002, Jeremić helped organize the first international investment conference for the Serbian government in New York, which was held in cooperation with JPMorgan Chase and former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who served as the head of the International Council for Supporting Reforms in Serbia.[13] In early 2003, Yugoslavia was abolished and replaced by the state union of Serbia and Montenegro. That June, Jeremić joined the Ministry of Defense and was appointed Special Envoy for Euro-Atlantic Affairs. In February 2004, he was appointed Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Democratic Party, and in February 2006 to the Main Board of the Democratic Party. From July 2004 to May 2007, during which Serbia and Montenegro ceased to exist and the two countries became separate states, Jeremić served as a senior foreign policy advisor to Tadić, who by that time had become President of Serbia,[7] leading what The New York Times described as "the most westward-leaning government Serbia has ever had".[2]

Foreign Ministry[edit]

Jeremić with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, November 2011

Jeremić was sworn in as Foreign Minister of Serbia on 15 May 2007.[7] Under Tadić, pundit Šaša Dragojlo notes, the Foreign Ministry's sole task was ensuring that Kosovo remained part of Serbia, and that if it did declare its independence, that it attained only partial recognition.[14] At first, many in Serbia and abroad were skeptical that the 32-year-old Jeremić would make for an effective Foreign Minister. "When you’re young and when ... they see you for the first time," Jeremić remarked, "a lot of them are just kind of surprised. [...] That’s actually a good thing because it opens up their minds. [...] They want to hear what you have to say to them because you’re different."[2]

Following Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008, Jeremić began campaigning against the self-proclaimed state's integration into the international community. In his five years in office, Jeremić boarded 1,000 flights and visited over 100 countries, remarking that he "pretty much knew 90% of the world's foreign ministers".[15] In 2009 alone, he spent over 700 hours—roughly 29 days—in flight.[2] The Economist described Serbian diplomacy under Jeremić as being "on steroids".[16] "His indefatigable travelling," one reporter from the newspaper remarked, "has made most foreign ministers, especially from smaller countries like Serbia, look like sleepy laggards."[15] Jeremić reiterated that his country would not use military force to retake Kosovo, and stressed that Serbia would resort to dialogue and diplomacy to "defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity".[2] He argued that Kosovo has every right to wide-ranging autonomy, but that the Government of Serbia would never accept full-fledged independence. In an address before Israel's Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, he explained:

We have no interest in ruling over the Kosovo Albanian community. We do not want to tax them, nor to police them, nor to have their judicial or ... educational systems reintegrated into ours. Our currency does not have to have a presence in Kosovo. Our military would not have to be there, either. And we would not interfere with their relationship with international financial organizations; with them having separate membership in international sporting federations; or with them having some sort of representation abroad.[8]

In 2009, Jeremić asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a non-binding advisory opinion on the declaration.[17] The court ruled that the declaration of independence was legal in July 2010.[18] Jeremić responded by pushing for a draft resolution at the United Nations which discouraged unilateral secession as a way of resolving territorial disputes. In late July 2010, he met with Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon to discuss the draft resolution.[19] In September 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution, calling for the dispute to be resolved bilaterally. Jeremić welcomed the General Assembly's decision, as did the European Union's High Commissioner, Catherine Ashton. Jeremić said that he hoped the resolution "would help create an atmosphere conducive to the creation of a comprehensive compact of peace between Serbs and Albanians achieved through good faith dialogue."[20]

A map of Jeremić's foreign visits

During Jeremić's time in office, relations between Serbia and most of its neighbours improved dramatically.[15] Relations with the European Union and the United States also improved, despite the dispute over Kosovo.[2][21] In December 2009, the EU lifted visa restrictions on Serbia. Jeremić became the first Serbian citizen to enter the EU without a visa when he crossed the Hungarian border on 19 December and had his passport stamped by Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Balázs.[22] Jeremić's tenure saw Serbia fulfill its obligations towards the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was established by the international community to try individuals suspected of committing war crimes during the Yugoslav Wars. In July 2008, Serbian authorities arrested former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić, who was indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide by the ICTY and had been in hiding for eleven years. Karadžić was promptly extradited to the ICTY to face trial.[23] Jeremić said the arrest demonstrated that Serbia was fully committed to becoming a member of the European Union.[24] The arrests of Karadžić's military chief, Ratko Mladić, and Croatan Serb rebel leader Goran Hadžić, both of whom had been in hiding, followed three years later.[25]

On 1 March 2012, Serbia was granted candidate status by the European Union, having applied for membership in 2009.[26] The Democratic Party was voted out of office in the Serbian presidential election of May 2012, and Jeremić lost his ministerial role.[27] His last day in office was 27 July 2012, and his final state visit in his capacity as Foreign Minister was to Moscow, where he spoke with Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov.[28]

United Nations General Assembly presidency[edit]

EU High Representative Dame Catherine Ashton and Vuk Jeremić, February 2013

For the United Nations General Assembly's 67th session (commencing in September 2012), the office of President of the General Assembly was slated to be occupied by an individual from Eastern Europe, one of the five regional groups of UN member states.[29] Jeremić ran against Lithuania's Dalius Čekuolis, and was elected president by a simple majority of votes (99–85) among members of the General Assembly.[15] The election marked the first time since 1991 that the General Assembly had to vote in order to select its next president.[29] Jeremić became the youngest president in the General Assembly's history.[30] In his acceptance speech, he stressed the need for international unity in tackling the problems that accompany conflict and instability:[31]

During Jeremić's tenure, on 29 November 2012, Palestine was granted non-member observer status in the General Assembly by a vote of 138–9.[32] On 2 April 2013, Jeremić facilitated the General Assembly's adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which was aimed at regulating international conventional weapons commerce. The ATT was passed by a vote of 154–3, with North Korea, Syria and Iran as the only country's voting against it.[33]

To mark Malala Yousafzai's 16th birthday, Jeremić convened a United Nations Youth Assembly on 12 July 2013.[34] At the Youth Assembly, Yousafzai delivered her first public remarks after being attacked by the Taliban.[35] Jeremić's tenure also saw the General Assembly unanimously adopt Resolution 67/296, proclaiming 6 April as the annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.[36][37] Proclaiming the International Day of Sport was a joint initiative by Jeremić and Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).[38][39] Rogge and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Novak Djokovic attended the session as special guests and addressed the General Assembly, Djokovic speaking on behalf of world athletes and Rogge on behalf of the International Olympic Committee.[40][41] Jeremić's last day as President was 17 September 2013, at which point he was succeeded by John William Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda.[42]

Post-UN General Assembly Presidency[edit]

After completing the mandate of the United Nations, Jeremic founded the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development, Belgrade in November 2013. In May 2014, he joined the Leadership Council of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN),[43] the network launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012.[44] [45]

Democratic Party[edit]

At the 2012 parliamentary election, he has been elected MP of the Democratic Party. During the regime change with Tadić's withdrawal and rise of the new leader Dragan Đilas, as member of the pro-Tadić camp, Jeremić withdrew from all positions in the Democratic Party. Jeremić was excluded from the Democratic Party on 14 February 2013.[46]

After the decision to exclude him, Jeremić filed suit at the Constitutional Court, claiming that the party's decision is unconstitutional.[47] After the rejection of the appeal by the Constitutional Court, Jeremić complied with the decision and left the party but kept his parliamentary seat.[48]

UN Secretary-General candidature[edit]

Press reports have mentioned Jeremić as a candidate for the future UN Secretary-General. It is assumed that the next UN chief will come from the Group of Eastern European States.[49]

By October 2012, a number of UN diplomats were mentioning Jeremić as a potential candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon as Secretary-General. According to Reuters, Jeremić "declined to comment on his future plans apart from returning to Serbia, […] but he did not rule out the idea of running for the top UN post."[50] On 19 November 2013, former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos described Jeremić as the best candidate for the post, saying "his election would be great news for the 21st century." He added that Jeremić would "succeed in changing the current structure of the UN and enable it to play a new role in the world."[51]

On 12 April 2016, the Government of Serbia officially backed Jeremić's candidacy for UN Secretary-General.[52]

Personal life[edit]

Vuk Jeremić is married to Nataša Lekić, a journalist and news anchor for Radio Television of Serbia.[2] Between 2011 and 2015, Jeremić served as president of the Tennis Federation of Serbia.[53][54]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b T. Nikolić (19 May 2007). "Vuk Jeremić (Ljubitelj ptica)" (in Serbian). Glas javnosti. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Nicholas Kulish (15 January 2010). "Recasting Serbia’s Image, Starting With a Fresh Face". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Više od polovine kandidata za genseka UN iz eks-Ju" (in Serbian). B92. 13 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Hawkesworth, Celia (2015). Colloquial Serbian. London: Routledge. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-31730-640-5. 
  5. ^ Karadžić, Vuk Stefanović (1852). Српски рјечник (in Serbian). Vienna: Typis congregationis mechitaristicae. p. 78. 
  6. ^ a b c "Najvažniji politički lideri regije porijeklom su iz BiH: Milanović, Bandić, Jeremić, Tadić..." (in Croatian). Index.hr. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Vuk Jeremić: Minister of Foreign Affairs" (PDF). European Parliament. 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "Remarks Delivered to the Lauder School of Government, IDC by H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić". Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Bogoljub Jeremić info, noviplamen.files.wordpress.com, December 2013; accessed 28 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Jeremić receives Israel honor on behalf of ancestors". B92. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2016. 
  11. ^ "The Soul of Democracy: Vuk Jeremić MPA/ID 2003 fights for Serbia’s future" (PDF). Kennedy School Bulletin. Spring 2008. p. 5. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  12. ^ Organization of Serbian Students Abroad website; accessed 28 April 2015.(Serbian)
  13. ^ International Council for Supporting Reforms in Serbia website, invest-in-serbia.com; accessed 28 April 2015.
  14. ^ Šaša Dragojlo (14 April 2016). "Vuk Jeremic, Serbia’s Diplomatic Wolf from Cambridge". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 23 May 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  15. ^ a b c d "Vuk Jeremic is standing for the presidency of the UN General Assembly". The Economist. 7 June 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Better troublesome than dull". The Economist. 22 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "Jeremic: ICJ Ruling Not Before mid-2010". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Kosovo independence declaration deemed legal". Reuters. 23 July 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Serbia seeks support for UN draft resolution on Kosovo". BBC News. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Thair Shaikh (10 September 2010). "U.N. resolution paves the way for Serbia-Kosovo talks". CNN. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  21. ^ Bojana Barlovac (16 December 2009). "Clinton: Serbia, US Relations Improve". Balkan Insight. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  22. ^ Katarina Subasic (21 December 2009). "Serbs enjoy a taste of Europe without visas". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  23. ^ Peter Finn (30 July 2008). "Karadzic Extradited to The Hague to Face War Crimes Charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  24. ^ "Karadzic will fight extradition". BBC. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  25. ^ "The Fugitives". International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "EU leaders grant Serbia candidate status". BBC. 1 March 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2016. 
  27. ^ "Tomislav Nikolic beats Boris Tadic in Serbia run-off". BBC. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  28. ^ "Jeremić zadnji dan mandata u Moskvi kod Lavrova" (in Croatian). Dnevnik.hr. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  29. ^ a b Louis Charbonneau (29 March 2012). "Intrigue, treachery charges fly in fight for U.N. post". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  30. ^ "Kosovo unlikely to become a UN member – UNGA president to RT". RT. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  31. ^ "H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremić: Acceptance Speech Upon His Election as President" (PDF). United Nations General Assembly. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  32. ^ Ewen MacAskill; Chris McGreal (29 November 2012). "UN general assembly makes resounding vote in favour of Palestinian statehood". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  33. ^ "Overwhelming Majority of States in General Assembly Say ‘Yes’ to Arms Trade Treaty to Stave off Irresponsible Transfers that Perpetuate Conflict, Human Suffering". United Nations. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  34. ^ Margaret Besheer (11 July 2013). "Malala Yousufzai to Address UN Youth Assembly". Voice of America. Retrieved 26 May 2016. 
  35. ^ "Malala at U.N.: Taliban failed to silence us". CNN. 12 July 2013. 
  36. ^ UN General Assembly Resolution 67/296, un.org; accessed 28 April 2015.
  37. ^ International Day of Sport for Development and Peace, olympic.org; accessed 28 April 2015.
  38. ^ Highlights of the Week, olympic.org; accessed 28 April 2015.
  39. ^ Novak Djokovic and Vuk Jeremić, sport.blic.rs; accessed 28 April 2015.(Serbian)
  40. ^ Peace Through Sport, olympic.org; accessed 28 April 2015.
  41. ^ Novak Djokovic addresses UN, novakdjokovic.com; accessed 28 April 2015.
  42. ^ John William Ashe (17 September 2013). "Opening Address by H.E. Ambassador John Ashe, President of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  43. ^ "Sustainable Development Solutions Network". Unsdsn.org. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  44. ^ "Press Releases August 2012 - UN Launches Sustainable Development Network to Help Find Solutions to Global Problems - United Nations Environment Programme". UNEP. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  45. ^ Millennium Goals (PDF), un.org; accessed 28 April 2015.
  46. ^ "I Vuk Jeremić isključen iz DS-a" (in Serbian). B92. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2014. 
  47. ^ "Odluka DS o mandatima krši Ustav" (in Serbian). B92. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  48. ^ "USS nenadležan za mandat Jeremića" (in Serbian). B92. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2014. 
  49. ^ East-West battle already brewing over Ban's UN successor, worldpoliticsreview.com; accessed 28 April 2015.
  50. ^ Jeremić as potential candidate to succeed Ban Ki-moon, reuters.com; accessed 29 April 2015.
  51. ^ Miguel Ángel Moratinos endorses Jeremić, blic.rs; accessed 28 April 2015.(Serbian)
  52. ^ "Jeremic thanks government for backing his top UN job bid". B92. B92. April 12, 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  53. ^ http://www.teniskisavez.com/o-nama/svi-predsednici/
  54. ^ http://www.telegraf.rs/sport/1532432-mirko-petrovic-je-novi-predsednik-teniskog-saveza-srbije

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vuk Drašković
Minister of Foreign Affairs
2007–2012
Succeeded by
Ivan Mrkić
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Slobodan Živojinović
President of the Tennis Federation of Serbia
2011–2015
Succeeded by
Mirko Petrović
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
President of the United Nations General Assembly
2012–2013
Succeeded by
John William Ashe