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Tan Sri Razali Ismail

Translation by Syed Zulfilda S.M. Noor

The First Malay who held the high positions in the United Nations Organisation


Tan Sri Razali Ismail was born on 14 April 1939 in Alor Setar, Kedah. He received his education at the Sultan Abdul Hamid College and completed his studies in 1956. Then he continued his education at the Malay College, Kuala Kangsar (MCKK) for 2 years. After that, he continued his studies at the University of Malaya where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree (Honours).


  • Administrative and Diplomatic Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (14 Sept 1962)
  • Under Secretary, Malaysian High Commission in New Delhi, India (1963)
  • Deputy Malaysian High Commissioner in Madras, India (1964)
  • Assistant Chief Secretary Assistant (Political Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1968)
  • Councillor, Malaysian High Commissioner in London (1970)
  • Served under the First Secretary (Political Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1976)
  • Malaysian Ambassador to Poland, Czechoslovakia, Democratic Republic of German and Hungary (1978)
  • High Commissioner to India (1982)
  • Deputy Secretary General (Political Affairs), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1985)
  • Malaysian Ambassador to Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago (1988)
  • Special Advisor to the Prime Minister (1998)

Involvements in United Nations Organisation

  • Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organisation, New York
  • President, United Nations Security Council (1989-1990)
  • Chairman, United Nations Security Council in connection with Arm Sanctions in South Africa (1990)
  • Vice President, Economic and Social Council (1991)
  • Coordinator, Rio Summit and establishment of the Commission of Sustainable Development (1992)
  • Head of Malaysian Delegation to the United Nations Conference on Environmental Development (UNCED) at Rio de Janeiro (1992)
  • Coordinator, Preparatory Meeting of the 4th Institutional Issues of the UNCED at the Rio Summit Conference (1992)
  • Chairman, Sustainable Development Commission in New York (1993)
  • Coordinator, Financial Issues of the United Nations Social Development Conference in Copenhagen (1995)
  • Vice Chairman, Preparatory Committee for the United Nations 50th Anniversary (1995)
  • Special United Nations Representative to Myanmar

Involvements in Social and Professional Organisations

  • Member of the Board Directors, International Peace Academy (1989-1990)
  • Adjunct Professor, International Studies, Michigan State University, USA (1993-1995)
  • Board Member of the International Advisors of the Just World Trust
  • Fellow, Foreign Policies Association
  • Member of the Board of Advisors, Wetlands International Asia Pacific
  • Chairman, Yayasan Salam
  • A Trustee of Wetlands Sanctuary
  • Chairman, Trustees for Wetlands Sanctuary (1999)
  • Council Member, Southeast Asia Constituency to the Global Environment Facility (1994-1996)
  • Coordinator for Human Rights Issues, NAM
  • Member, Organization of Islamic Countries Contact Group, Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Member, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) of the World Bank
  • Member, National Economic Advisory Council (NEAC) II
  • Adjunct Professor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • Adjunct Professor, Universiti Putra Malaysia
  • Chairman, Transwater Corporation Berhad
  • Chairman, IRIS Technologies Sdn.Bhd
  • Chairman, International Bank Malaysia Berhad
  • Chairman, Malaysian Education Promotion Council Sdn.Bhd
  • Consultant, MIMOS Berhad

To honour Tan Sri Razali's meritorious services and contributions, he was bestowed with various Distinguished Order Medals; the J.S.M by the Federal Government in 1978, D.S.D.K by the State Government of Kedah which carries the title Dato' in 1985, the P.S.M by the Federal Government which carries the title Tan Sri in 1991.

In the field of education, he was conferred with Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1993, Honourary Fellow Environment and Development, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1996, the Patron Award from World Environmental Fund, Malaysia in 1997, the US National Wildlife Federation International Award in 1998 and an Honorary Doctorate Law Degree from Universiti Sains Malaysia in 1998. He was also conferred the First Prize of the 'Elizabeth Haub Prize' for Environmental Diplomacy from Pace University, New York in 1999 as well as Fellow of the National Institute of Public Administration (INTAN) in May 1999. On November 2000, Tan Sri Razali received the 'Orde National du Merite' (National Order of Merit) Award from the Government of France.

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