Updated on 13 September 2015
Chapter 3: THE PEOPLE
Section 1: The President
Representatives who have served the most terms as Council President
At the wrap-up meeting held on 31 August 2015 (S/PV.7516), a representative of the United States thanked Ambassador U. Joy Ogwu of Nigeria for her leadership during Nigeria’s Council presidency that month. In that context, he said,
“Madam President, by my team’s count, this is your fourth time at the helm of the
Security Council. One would have to go back to former Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright’s tenure as the United States Permanent Representative to find a Permanent Representative who has overseen the Council’s operations as many times as you
Ambassador Ogwu is in fact unique, in that she is the only permanent representative of an elected member to have represented her country during two different terms on the Security Council, 2010-2011 and 2014-2015, during which she has held the Council presidency more times than any other ambassador of an elected member.
However, the representative of the United States was not correct in stating that Madeleine Albright was the next most recent representative to have overseen four Council presidencies. It is true that Mrs. Albright chaired the Security Council four times when she served as the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997. And she presided over a fifth meeting in 2000 in her capacity as US Secretary of State.
Yet, sitting at the Council table at the 31 August 2015 meeting, at which the American representative presented his calculation, was an ambassador who far surpassed Mrs. Albright’s record, and more recently than she: Vitaly I. Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation. Churkin had by then served as Council President seven times, and the following month, he would take up his eighth Council presidency. Another ambassador who served more recently than Mrs. Albright and who held more Council presidencies than she was Sergey Lavrov, who presided over the Council seven times as the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation from 1995 to 2003, and then chaired the Council an eighth time in 2009 in his capacity as Foreign Minister.
Historically, the permanent representative who held the most Council presidencies was Tsiang Tingfu of the Republic of China, who presided over the Council for an astonishing sixteen presidencies, from 1949 to 1962. Another ambassador who held many Council presidencies was Yakov Malik of the Soviet Union, who served two separate terms as his country’s Permanent Representative, from 1948-1952 and 1968-1975. During those terms, Malik served as Council President eleven times. Henry Cabot Lodge, Permanent Representative of the United States from 1953 to 1960, held eight Council presidencies, as did Oleg Troyanovsky, Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union from 1977 to 1985. Liu Chieh, Permanent Representative of the Republic of China, also presided over eight Council presidencies from 1963 to 1971, the year the People’s Republic of China took up the membership of China at the United Nations.