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Walther Lichem
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education

WALTHER LICHEM, with studies in law, oriental archeology (Univ. of Graz, Austria), and political science (Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna) started his professional career in 1966 at the United Nations Secretariat in New York in the field of International Water Resources with development cooperation missions to Ethiopia (1971), Argentina (1971-74) and to the Senegal River Development Organisation (1980).

After joining the Austrian Foreign Service in 1974 he served as Consul General in Ljubljana, SR Slovenija (1976-1980), and as Ambassador to Chile (1980-1984). On his return to Vienna he assumed responsibilities as Deputy Head of the Department for Security Policy and as representative to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, as Deputy Director General of the Austrian Development Cooperation Programme and as Director for international organizations and peace-keeping. In this context he undertook evaluation missions to UNFICYP in Cyprus and to UNTAC in Cambodia. He was also responsible for Austria’s membership in the Security Council. At the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 he served as Rapporteur on Human Rights, Democracy and Development.

From 1993 to 2000 he served as Austria’s Ambassador to Canada. Upon his return to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Vienna he reassumed his responsibilities with regard to international organizations and peacekeeping with a special focus on UN reform and was entrusted by the United Nations with the reform of the UN Committee for the peaceful uses of outer space. He served as president of the association of European space agencies (EURISY, Paris) from 2003-2006. From 2007 – 2008 he was a member of the International Panel on Asteroid Threat Mitigation of the Association of Space Explorers.

Upon his retirement from the Austrian diplomatic service he was invited as a visiting professor to the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta for the academic year 2005/2006.

During his assignments in Vienna he also contributed as lecturer to the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna (1989-1993) and to the International Peace Academy Seminars on UN peace-keeping. Mr. Lichem has been President and currently is Vice-Chairman of the Board of Interpress Service, Rome, a news agency specialized in global and development news and is member of the Board of PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning, New York. He also served as Special Adviser to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research as well as to the World Security Forum. Since 2001 he has been Chairman of the Advisory Board of the European Training Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Graz, Europe’s first Human Rights City.

Numerous articles and books deal i.a. with human rights and societal development, with human security, with UN peace operations, with international water resources law, with the challenges of environment and development, with North/South relations, with the foreign policy and national political system of Austria, with the CSCE process and with cultural and identity plurality.


For more information, please contact PDHRE:
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education, 526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org