Mohamed ElBaradei – 2009 Delta Prize Recipient

The University of Georgia and Delta Air Lines present the 2009 Delta Prize to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, for his advocacy of a world-wide moratorium on nuclear weapons and his promotion of peaceful uses of nuclear power. The Prize also honors him for his lifetime commitment to global cooperation as a means to achieve international peace and security.

Dr. ElBaradei’s career in diplomacy expresses his deeply held belief in the ability of the world’s diverse societies to interact cooperatively. Dr. ElBaradei entered the Egyptian Diplomatic Service in 1964 and served in the Permanent Missions of Egypt to the United Nations in New York and Geneva, where he had responsibility for political, legal, and arms control issues. During the next several decades, he worked with the UN General Assembly, the UN Security Council, the Conference on Disarmament, the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea, the International Labour Organization, the World Health Organization, the Commission on Human Rights, the Organization of African Unity, and the League of Arab States.

In 1997, Dr. ElBaradei was appointed Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was reappointed for a third term in 2005. In this position, he has promoted the peaceful use of nuclear technology—in the areas of human health, food and agriculture, industry, energy, and environmental management—while seeking to control nuclear weapons proliferation.

Dr. Elbaradei considers the IAEA’s function of weapons inspection to be “an early warning system” for the world. He has managed weapons inspections of Iraq, North Korea, Iran, and other countries and has reported the results to the UN Security Council.  In 2003, when his team of inspectors found no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he argued against the US invasion of Iraq.

History has taught us that war rarely resolves our differences. Force does not heal old wounds; it opens new ones.

Dr. ElBaradei’s belief in the futility of war and the necessity of intercultural understanding has motivated his work for four decades. In accepting the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the IAEA and himself, he said “History has taught us that war rarely resolves our differences. Force does not heal old wounds; it opens new ones.”

For his efforts to advance diplomacy and international understanding and for his leadership in the peaceful use of nuclear technology, we are delighted to give the 2009 Delta Prize for Global Understanding to Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei.