Mohamed ElBaradei

Honorary degree recipient Mohamed ElBaradei
Doctor of Laws

Trained as a lawyer, Mohamed ElBaradei began his career in Egypt’s diplomatic service, joining the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in 1964. ElBaradei served as special assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister for four years before joining the United Nations and becoming a senior fellow in charge of the International Law Program at its Institute for Training and Research. He joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretariat in 1984, serving as its legal advisor until 1993 and then as assistant director general for external relations. In 1997, ElBaradei was named the agency’s fourth director general and continues to serve in his third consecutive term in this capacity.

In 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to limit the use of nuclear energy to peaceful purposes and to ensure that it is used in the safest possible way. The Nobel Committee praised his commitment to promoting international cooperation as well as to tightening procedures that led to more effective inspections. In accepting the award, ElBaradei noted that “peace is not a single achievement, but it is an environment, a process and a permanent commitment.” He donated his prize funds to support orphanages in his home city of Cairo.

Under his leadership, the IAEA engaged in several high-profile nuclear investigations in Iraq, Iran and North Korea and into the nuclear black market run by one of Pakistan’s top scientists. The Agency has also worked to help developing nations employ nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes, including advances in medical care, the mapping of underground water supplies for sustainable resource management and techniques to study climate change.

ElBaradei is a 1962 graduate of Cairo University and earned a Ph.D. in International Law from the New York University School of Law in 1974. His work has garnered him international acclaim, including the Four Freedoms Award from the Roosevelt Institute, the James Park Morton Interfaith Award and the Greatest Nile Collar, the highest Egyptian civilian decoration. ElBaradei lives in Vienna with his wife, an early childhood teacher. They have two grown children.

Hear Mohamed ElBaradei speak on "The World Today: A Recipe to Save Ourselves," on the multimedia page, Conversations with Honorary Degree Recipients.