Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Delegation members' biographies

Dr. Norbert Blüm
Born 21.7. 1935 in Rüsselsheim, from 1982 up to 1998 he was the Minister for Labor and Social Affairs in Germany. Up to 2002 he was member of Parliament. He was representative of the Department for Social questions inside the Christian Democratic Party. He is now living in Bonn and is working for some humanitarian agencies like the Kindernothilfe as well as Greenhelmets (Gruenhelme).

Dr. Rupert Neudeck
Born 14.5.1939 in Danzig, refugeee after the second world war. Journalist from 1970 - 1998 in Deutschlandfunk (German Broadcasting) In 1979 founding of the German Committee A Ship for Vietnam together with Heinrich Böll, and chartering of the rescue vessel Cap Anamur, up to 2002 chairman of Cap Anamur/German Emergency Doctors. In 2003 foundation of the Non-Governmental Organization Greenhelmets e.V.

Mr. Michael Higgins
Michael D Higgins is President of the Labour Party and Honorary Professor at Large at the National University of Ireland, Galway, where he has served on the Faculties of Arts, Commerce, Celtic Studies and Law. A former Member of Galway County Council and an Alderman of Galway Borough Council, he has twice been Mayor of Galway.

He was a member of Seanad Éireann 1973-1977; Dáil representative for Galway West 1981-1982, University Member of Seanad Éireann 1982-1987, and has been a Member of Dáil Éireann from 1987- present. He was the first Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, between 1993 and 1997, and President of the Council of Broadcasting Ministers of the European Union during the Irish Presidency of the European Union in 1996.

At different periods, he has been Labour Party Spokesperson on European and International Affairs, Overseas Development, Education and the Gaeltacht. He is currently a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and is Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs for the Labour Party.

Michael D. Higgins has campaigned for human rights in many parts of the world, including Turkey, Western Sahara, Nicaragua, Chile, Gaza, the West Bank, Peru, El Salvador, Iraq and East Timor. In recognition of his work for peace with justice in many parts of the world he became the first recipient of the Seán MacBride Peace Prize of the International Peace Bureau in Helsinki in 1992.

Michael D is married to Sabina Coyne, a founder member of The Focus Theatre and Stanislavsky Studio in Dublin. They have one daughter and three sons.

Prof. Andreas van Agt
Mr. van Agt graduated from law school cum laude in 1955 and worked as a lawyer in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Later he became a civil servant at the Ministry of Agriculture and at the Ministry of Justice and professor in criminal law at the Catholic University of Nijmegen. In 1971 Mr. van Agt was appointed as Minister of Justice and since 1973 as Vice Prime Minister. From 1977 untill 1982 Mr. van Agt was Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs during three different administrations. After that period he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the subsequent administration. In 1983 he became the royal governor in Noord-Brabant. Ultimately Mr. van Agt was ambassador for the European Community in Tokyo and ambassador for the European Community in Washington until 1995.

Mr. Lucien Champenois
Mr. Champenois was born in 1933 and entered into the Foreign Ministry in 1960. He is a specialist of the Arab world and of development and religious questions. He was posted in Morocco (1960-1962 and 1967-1970) and in Saudi Arabia (1962-1964) and had various responsibilities in the General Direction of Cultural ,Scientific and Technical Cooperation (1971-1976 and 1980-1982) and in the Ministry of Cooperation ( 1982-1986). From 1989 to 1992 he was responsible for CSCE Service (Direction of Europe), and served as adviser of the Foreign Ministry for religious affairs between 1992 and 1998 (Several missions in Israel and Occupied Territories). In collaboration with late Ambassador Soulié he published two books on Saudi Arabia (1965 and 1978). Mr. Champenois is Minister Plenipotentiary (1992), and retired from the diplomatic service in 1998.

Dr. Hajo G. Meyer (accompanied by his wife, mrs. Christiane Tilanus )
Hajo G. Meyer (1924 Bielefeld, Germany) fled 1939, alone, to Holland. German schools did no longer allow Jewish pupils. End of that year model refugee camp Wieringen, where he learned to be a metalworker. In 1941 the Germans made most leave the camp. Opportunity for attending Jewish school. After final examination in April ’43 underground. Caught by the Gestapo March ’44, surviving ten months in Auschwitz. Study theoretical physics and,1950, job researcher and later manager Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven. PhD 1956. 1974 –‘84 Managing Director of that lab. Until about 2002 fifty violins and violas made and sold to most professional players. Now publicist and writer of essays.

Mr. Jan van der Kolk
Jan van der Kolk (1945) has started his career as a teacher in Cameroon. He worked for the Government of The Netherlands since 1974 till his retirement in April this year, in the last 8 years as deputy director for Environmental Health. He has worked extensively with international organisations such as WHO, OECD and UNEP. He has been a board member of ICCO since 2000 and before that time was Chair of Service Abroad, which merged with ICCO in 2001.

Mr. Berend Smoes
Mr. Smoes is a European, born (before WW II) and raised in The Netherlands, with a vivid memory of the German occupation. He studied mechanical engineering, and continued to study business management and macro-economics during the course of his professional life. For the better part of his business life he managed international trading companies, which took him all over Europe and the U.S.A., as well as to Japan and a couple of Middle Eastern countries. Since the beginning of the 1990’s, he mixed his expertise in business and his interest in social and economic development of emerging countries. He started business projects to stimulate cross-border co-operation between companies in Western and companies in emerging countries. The last five years he concentrated on promoting a just and peaceful solution of the Palestine / Israel problem through the set up of a foundation International Forum for Justice and Peace .