UN SG Candidate Conversations: Danilo Turk

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Former President

Mr. Türk graduated and received a J.D. degree from the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law, a Master’s degree in Law from the University of Belgrade and a Ph.D. from University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law. Mr. Türk has been a professor of international law, heading the University of Ljubljana Institute of International Law and International Relations and serving as its Vice-Dean. In 2007, Mr. Türk was elected the Republic of Slovenia’s third President and served a five-year term. With respect to UN affairs, Mr. Türk served as Slovenia’s first Ambassador to the UN and helped to establish the Slovenian Permanent Mission to the UN. Mr. Türk led Slovenia’s campaign for non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council and served as its representative in that body, chaired the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee on Libya and at times presided over the UN Security Council. Mr. Türk also served as the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs under UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Mr. Türk speaks Slovene, English, French and Serbo-Croatian.

Vision Statement

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Born February 19, 1952 (age 64) in Maribor, Slovenia, Mr. Türk has held the following public positions:

Slovenian Ambassador to the UN 1992-1999
President of the UN Security Council Aug 1998 and Nov 1999
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs 2000-2005
Vice-Dean of the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law 2006-2007
President of the Republic of Slovenia 2007-2012


As a diplomat and legal scholar specializing in public international law, Mr. Türk has focused much of his work on discrimination against and protection of national minorities and has published three books and over 100 articles in various law journals. Mr. Türk played a key role in the development of Slovenian human rights policy as Vice-President of the Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Slovenia. He also drafted the chapter on human rights for the Republic of Slovenia’s constitution.


Climate Change

Mr. Türk addressed the importance of developing public-private partnerships in response to climate change in a 2008 video posted by a Austrian non-profit organization, the International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges. He also discussed the need for intergovernmental cooperation supported by business leadership and scientific research in order to develop sustainable infrastructure construction methods at the World Engineering Forum in 2012. Most recently, in March 2016, he authored an article on the importance of trans-boundary water cooperation.


In a 2015 interview for the Slovenian Times, Mr. Türk discussed the growing pressure on the European Union to develop effective assistance programs for refugees from war-torn regions.

Gender Equality/Women’s Rights

In 1997, in his introduction of Slovenia’s Initial Report to the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, Mr. Türk offered support for the draft protocol allowing groups and individuals to petition the Committee.

Peacekeeping and Global Governance

In a 2011 statement addressed to the President of the General Assembly, Mr. Türk remarked on the ideal agenda for UN reform, which would include a rebalance of the Security Council, a refocus of the General Assembly, a recalibration of the Economic and Social Council and a reinforcement of the Human Rights Council. He also discussed the future of the United Nations in the areas of human rights, security and development in a 2014 statement.

Human Rights

In 2012, Mr. Turk discussed his career in human rights spanning over 30 years and addressed the topic of what it means to have full realization of human rights under Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the context of political and social change. In 2016, he delivered a statement discussing the discipline of practicing tolerance and speaking out against incitement of hate, disorder and xenophobia.