01 Nov 2019

Remembering Sadako Ogata

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and accomplished diplomat Sadako Ogata passed away on October 22 at the age of 92.

Ogata received the Club’s Distinguished Achievement Award in 1999 for her lifetime commitment to bolstering protections for the world’s most at-risk communities.

Following an accomplished career in academia, Ogata became the first woman to assume the role of UNHCR in 1990. Mere weeks after taking up the post, Ogata displayed characteristic empathy and decisiveness in confronting the Kurdish refugee crisis precipitated by the Gulf War.

Under Ogata’s leadership, the international community also mounted strong responses to the humanitarian crises of the Yugoslav wars and the Rwandan genocide. Her contributions to the legal definitions of refugees remain critical to the protection of displaced communities today.