Anthony Lake begins his tenure as UNICEF’s sixth Executive Director on 1 May 2010, bringing more than 45 years of public and international service to the position. “I am excited to be joining UNICEF. I look forward to working with our exceptional staff and our many partners to advance children’s rights around the world,” Mr. Lake remarked on his first day in office.
Mr. Lake has worked with leaders and policy makers across the world. As National Security Advisor (1993 – 1997) under President Bill Clinton, and as State Department Director of Policy Planning in the Carter administration (1977 – 1981), he managed the full range of foreign policy, national security, and humanitarian and development issues. In 2007-2008, he served as a senior foreign policy advisor to the presidential campaign of Barack Obama.
His commitment to peace and security are hallmarks of his career. After leaving government in 1997, he served as the United States President’s Special Envoy, to Haiti as well as Ethiopia and Eritrea. His efforts, for which he received the 2000 White House Samuel Nelson Drew Award, contributed to the achievement of the Algiers Agreement that ended the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. He also played a leading role in shaping policies that led to peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Northern Ireland.
“Peace and security are the foundation of a world fit for children. Wars not only kill children – they breed disease and destroy economic hope. And in the end, real peace is not found in a piece of diplomatic paper. It is found in the secure and healthy lives of girls and boys. If we improve their lives today, we help them inherit a better tomorrow,” said Mr. Lake.
Anthony Lake has broad experience of international development and children’s rights through ongoing work with non-governmental organizations spanning four decades. During that time he has led International Voluntary Services, acted as an international advisor to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and been a board member of Save the Children and the Overseas Development Council.
He is a strong supporter of the Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). “At their heart, the Millennium Development goals are about giving the world’s most vulnerable children a better chance to reach their full potential — whether it’s improving maternal and child health, increasing gender parity in education, or eradicating hunger. We’ve got a lot of urgent work ahead, leading up to, and beyond, the 2015 MDG targets we’ve set for ourselves. And I believe we can do it — with political commitment, sound strategies, adequate investment and the engagement of a global community,” said Mr. Lake.
Mr. Lake’s ties with UNICEF are long-standing. He served for nine years on the Board of the US Fund for UNICEF, including as Chair of the Board from 2004 to 2007. Under his chairmanship, the US Fund saw a significant increase in funding and undertook a transition in personnel and mission.
A graduate of Harvard College and Princeton University with a PhD from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Anthony Lake served as Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University in Washington DC immediately prior to his appointment at UNICEF. His strong commitment to education is reflected in his prior membership on the boards of several US academic institutions, including Mount Holyoke College.
He is married and has three children and five grandchildren.