Vuk Jeremić

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Vuk Jeremić
Vuk-Jeremic-cirsd-2014.jpg
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
18 September 2012 – 17 September 2013[1]
Preceded by Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
Succeeded by John William Ashe
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia
In office
15 May 2007 – 27 July 2012
President Boris Tadić
Slavica Đukić Dejanović (Acting)
Tomislav Nikolić
Prime Minister Vojislav Koštunica
Mirko Cvetković
Preceded by Vuk Drašković
Succeeded by Ivan Mrkić
Personal details
Born (1975-07-03) 3 July 1975 (age 40)
Belgrade, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Belgrade, Serbia)
Nationality Serbian
Political party Independent
Other political
affiliations
Democratic Party (until 2013)
Spouse(s) Nataša Jeremić
Relations Bogoljub Jeremić (Royal Yugoslav Army)
Residence Belgrade, Serbia
Alma mater Cambridge University
Harvard University
Religion Serbian Orthodoxy[2]

Vuk Jeremić (Serbian Cyrillic: Вук Јеремић, Serbian pronunciation: [ʋûːk jěremitɕ]; born 3 July 1975[3]) is the President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD) and Editor-in-Chief of Horizons, a global public policy English-language magazine. He is also president of the Tennis Federation of Serbia.[citation needed]

Jeremić was previously President of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, having formerly served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia. His name has been mentioned among candidates to be the next UN Secretary-General.[4]

Education[edit]

Jeremić was born in Belgrade on 3 July 1975 to Miško and Sena (née Buljubašić) Jeremić. He completed his elementary schooling in Belgrade, moving on to the First Belgrade Gymnazium where he began his high school studies. One of his teachers was Boris Tadić, who would become Serbia's first democratically-elected president.[5] He completed his secondary education in London.[5]

Jeremić graduated from Queens' College, Cambridge in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in physics. Jeremić began his PhD studies in quantitative finance at Imperial College, University of London, and worked in London for Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. 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/International Development.[6]

Political career[edit]

In July 1997, Jeremić co-founded and became the financial manager of the Organization of Serbian Students Abroad (OSSA),[7] the first international organization of Serbian students, 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 the regime of Slobodan Milošević.[5]

In the wake of Belgrade's 5 October 2000 democratic revolution, Jeremić was appointed as an Advisor to the Minister of Telecommunications of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the summer of 2002, Jeremić served in the cabinet of the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjić. He helped organize the first international investment conference for the Serbian government in New York, which took place in September of that year in cooperation with JP Morgan and Brian Mulroney, a former Prime Minister of Canada and head of the International Council for Supporting Reforms in Serbia.[8]

In June 2003, Jeremić became Foreign Policy Advisor to the Minister of Defense of the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. From July 2004 to May 2007, Jeremić served as a Senior Advisor to the then-President of Serbia, Boris Tadić.[9]

Foreign Minister[edit]

Vuk Jeremić with George Papandreou in Athens in October 2009.
Vuk Jeremić with British Foreign Secretary, William Hague in November 2011

During the period after Kosovo's declaration of independence in 2008, Jeremić lobbied across the world against the recognition. He traveled to countries with which Serbia enjoys good relations from the times of Yugoslavia and some of these visits were the first after a lengthy economic and political crisis in Serbia, during which the normal diplomacy development was prevented. His visits included those to Central and South America (Argentina,[10] Brazil,[11] Chile,[12] Cuba,[13] Jamaica,[14] Venezuela[15] and Mexico[16]), Africa (Egypt,[17] Libya,[18] Gabon,[19] DR Congo,[20] South Africa,[21] Ghana[22] Morocco,[23] Algeria,[24] Lesotho,[25] Namibia[26] and Nigeria[27]) and Asia (China, India,[28] Indonesia,[29] Malaysia,[30] Singapore,[31] Vietnam,[32] Kuwait,[33] Azerbaijan,[34] Thailand,[35] Philippines,[36] Pakistan,[37] Syria,[38] Oman[39] and Lebanon[40]). He also traveled to summits of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, Iran,[41] African Union in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt and Malabo, Equatorial Guinea,[42][43] the 38th Regular Session of the Organization of American States in Medellín, Colombia,the 40th Regular Session of the Organization of American States in Lima, Peru, the Regional Economic Forum in Mexico, the 2010 Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the Arab League meeting in Egypt.[44] In Tehran, he met with many foreign ministers from around the world. In Mexico, he met with Felipe Calderón, Daniel Ortega, Antonio Saca, Álvaro Colom Caballeros, Manuel Zelaya and Fernando Araújo Perdomo. In 2009, he met with Vatican prelate Pietro Parolin in order to confirm and approve the non-recognition of Kosovo by the Holy See.[45]

Foreign visits of Vuk Jeremić

The British journal The Economist has said that Serbian diplomacy, led by Jeremić, is "on steroids"[46] due to frenetic activity. Serbian media have frequently reported that Western leaders are increasingly nervous about the successes of Serbian diplomacy and issued a stern warning to Jeremić to "cool down" his activities in the wake of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence.[47] Jeremić was the first foreign official to visit the new Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou following his election.[48]

International Court of Justice advisory opinion on Kosovo[edit]

Jeremić, taking the position that Kosovo's declaration of independence was illegal, asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for an advisory opinion on Kosovo's declaration of independence; he said the ruling would "be a precedent".[49]

The court ruled that Kosovo's declaration of independence had been legal;[50] Jeremić's tactic had "backfired badly".[51]

United Nations General Assembly presidency[edit]

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

Jeremić was elected president of the Sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly (starting in September 2012) in the 2012 election. Notably, under his watch, United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19 granted Palestine non-member observer state status. In addition, Jeremić facilitated the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in the UN General Assembly.[52]

During the presidency of the Sixty-seventh session of the United Nations General Assembly, Jeremić met with over 50 heads of state or government and more than 100 ministers of foreign affairs, including U.S. President Barack Obama,[53] China's President Xi Jinping,[54][55] French President Francois Hollande,[56] Pope Francis,[57] the Emir of Qatar,[58] the Emir of Kuwait, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia,[59] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,[60] President Jacob Zuma of South Africa,[61] the President of the Spanish Government Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan,[62] and Italy's prime minister Mario Monti[63] as well as his successor Enrico Letta.[64] He also met with the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, and the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy.[65]

In honor of the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a survivor of an attack by the Taliban in Pakistan for her outspoken stance on the right to receive an education, Jeremić convened a United Nations Youth Assembly.[66] At the UN, Malala delivered her first public remarks since recovering from the attack.[67][68] The Youth Assembly took place on 11 July 2013, and was organized together with UN's Special Envoy for Global Education and former UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.

During Jeremić's presidency, the UN General Assembly adopted by consensus Resolution 67/296 proclaiming 6 April as the annual International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.[69][70] Proclaiming the International Day of Sport was a joint initiative by Jeremić and Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).[71][72] UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Novak Djoković and Rogge attended the session as special guests and addressed the General Assembly: Djoković speaking on behalf of world athletes and Rogge on behalf of Olympic Movement.[73][74]

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),[75] the network launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012.[76] [77]

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.[78]

After the decision to exclude him, Jeremić filed suit at the Constitutional Court, claiming that the party's decision is unconstitutional.[79] After the rejection of the appeal by the Constitutional Court, Jeremić complied with the decision and left the party but kept his parliamentary seat.[80]

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.[81]

Reuters ran a story on 19 October 2012, stating “a number of U.N. diplomats have mentioned Jeremić as a potential candidate to succeed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when his term ends in December 2016”. The report said that 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.”[82] On 19 November 2013, former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos stated “the best candidate for Secretary-General is Vuk Jeremić, and that 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.”[83]

Personal[edit]

Vuk Jeremić is married to Nataša Lekić, a journalist and news anchor for Radio-Television Serbia. His paternal grandfather, Bogoljub Jeremić, was an officer in the Royal Yugoslav Army, spending much of World War II at the Matthausen and Dachau concentration camps.[5][84] For nearly five years, Bogoljub Jeremić was jailed at the Goli otok prison and labor camp, which was used to incarcerate political prisoners by the Yugoslav communist government in the wake of World War II.[85]

Through his maternal grandmother Sadeta Buljubašić (née Pozderac), the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Vuk Jeremić stems from the Pozderac family, considered the most influential Bosnian Muslim political family during communist Yugoslavia.[86] In November 2012, Jeremić's great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Nurija and Devleta Pozderac, were posthumously awarded the honorific of Righteous among the Nations by the Jewish victims memorial Yad Vashem for helping to save the lives of Jews during World War II in Cazin inside the Ustaše-run Independent State of Croatia. The Jews whom the couple had sheltered had escaped during transport to the Jasenovac concentration camp. (Nurija Pozderac was killed in 1943 while fighting alongside anti-Nazi partisans.)[87]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Vuk Drašković
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia
2007–2012
Succeeded by
Ivan Mrkić
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
President of General Assembly
2012–2013
Succeeded by
John William Ashe