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Name: Chérif, Blaise
Current Position: Ambassador
Ambassador from Guinea: Who Is Blaise Chérif?
The West African nation of Guinea gained a new ambassador to the United States on July 6, 2011. Blaise Chérif, a specialist in refugee issues, presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on September 9.
Born September 25, 1945, in N’Zoo, Guinea, (then a colony of France), Chérif earned a law degree from the University of Grenoble, France, and an advanced degree in International Public Law at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
He then began a thirty-year career with the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), which is based in Geneva. From 1976 to 1978, he worked at UNHCR Headquarters as Deputy Director of the UNHCR Regional Section for Central and West Africa. From 1979 to 1980, Chérif served at the UNHCR Regional office for Central Africa in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (then Zaire). He then served as UNHCR Representative in Bujumbura, Burundi, from 1980 to 1981, and then held the same position in N’Djamena, Chad, from 1981 to 1982. Chérif was recalled to Geneva in 1982 to serve as Senior Protection Officer for the Regional Section for Central and West Africa, a job he kept for four years. He returned to Africa in 1986 to serve as Deputy Regional Representative for West Africa, based in Dakar, Senegal, until 1991, when he was posted to Asia for the first and only time, to serve as Head of the Legal Division and UNHCR Representative in Islamabad, Pakistan, from 1991 to 1994. Chérif served as a Senior Legal Adviser for the Division of International Protection, from 1994 to 1996, and as UNHCR Representative in Côte d’Ivoire from 1996 to 2002. Since then, he has served as a consultant to UNHCR, first as a Special Advisor to the Division of External Relations in Geneva from 2002 to 2005, and as a Consultant on International Humanitarian Law, from 2005 to the present. 
Blaise Chérif is married, and speaks both his native French and fluent English. 
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