You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 07:25:24 Nov 01, 2016, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide
  UNESCO.ORG The Organization Education Natural Sciences Social & Human Sciences Culture Communication & Information

Pierre Sané
Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences

Work Phone +33 (0)1 45 68 39 23
Fax +33 (0)1 45 68 57 20
Street 1, rue Miollis
City Paris
Postal Code 75732
Country France

Pierre Sané's Biography

Pierre Sané was appointed UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences in May 2001.

Prior to this, from October 1992 to April 2001, he held the office of Secretary General of Amnesty International (AI). He headed AI’s delegations to the UN World Conferences in Vienna (1993) and Beijing (1995), the 1996 International Conference on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and the Rome 1998 International Conference on the International Criminal Court. In September 1997 he addressed the United Nations Security Council on human rights and armed conflict, and at meetings with the UN Secretary-Generals stressed the need for greater attention to human rights issues. In 1998, Pierre Sané addressed the Council of the Organization of American States, calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in the Americas.

As Secretary General, Pierre Sané travelled widely in order to raise Human rights concerns with country authorities and show solidarity with NGOs and with the victims of Human Rights violations. Among countries visited were: Israel, the Occupied Territories/Palestinian Authority, South Africa, Peru, Colombia, USA, Mexico, Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco, the Republic of Korea, Spain, Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. He took AI’s concerns to the business community on issues of responsibility for human rights promotion and protection (Davos, Oslo, Accra, and USA) and regularly attended meetings of the Human Rights Commission, Geneva.

In 1998 he headed AI’s campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, focusing world attention on threats against defenders of human rights. In December of that year he presided over the Human Rights Defenders Summit in Paris. He led campaigns to prosecute those responsible for gross human rights violations including Pinochet and Hissène Habré. He also led the development of strategies on women’s rights, the protection of Human Rights Defenders, socio-economic and cultural rights, the abolition of torture and of the death penalty.

Under his leadership, AI was extensively reorganized with introduction of strategic planning, evaluation, internal audit, central fund-raising and crisis response. He recruited a new management team to adjust AI to new challenges, and initiated decentralization, opening offices in post conflict countries.

For 15 years prior to joining Amnesty International, Pierre Sané worked in the field of international development, serving successively as Regional Controller, International Director of Policy and Budget, and Regional Director (West and Central Africa) of the International Development Research Centre (Canada). As Director of Policy and Budget, he developed a support programme for independent research centres in South Africa under apartheid, formulating post apartheid policies. As Regional Director in Africa, he focused on regional integration issues, small-scale industries, education, communication and decentralization, closing the gap between academic and decision-making communities.

Pierre Sané studied for a doctorate in Political science at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada; he holds an M.Sc. in public administration and public policy from the London School of Economics; he is a qualified chartered accountant and holds an MBA from the École supérieure de commerce et d'administration des entreprises de Bordeaux (France). He has published extensively on development and human rights issues.

He is a founding member of the PANAF (Dakar) international committee; a trustee and founding member of Frontline (Dublin); and a Board Member of the Henry Dunant Institute (Geneva).

Since joining UNESCO, Pierre Sané has reformed the Sector for Social and Human Sciences along the lines introduced by the Director-General: greater focus, greater impact, strengthening interaction among researchers, policy makers and social movements. In September 2001 he headed the UNESCO delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban (South Africa) and in February 2002 to the Second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (Brazil).

He is responsible for the development, execution and evaluation of the following programmes:
  • Social Science Research and Policy (Urban Development, International Migrations and Multiculturalism, International cooperation in Social Sciences)
  • Human Rights (Human Rights and Development, Gender and Women’s Rights, Racism and discrimination)
  • Philosophy and Human Sciences, Human Security, Peace and Reconciliation
  • Ethics of Science and Technology (Bioethics, Science Ethics and Ethics of the Environment)
  • Poverty and Human Rights
Since joining UNESCO, Mr Sané has launched new initiatives and programmes among which:
  • The International philosophy day now celebrated in more than 60 countries worldwide, the purpose being to establish dialogues between philosophers and non philosophers on contemporary issues
  • The World Human Rights Forum which first edition took place in Nantes (France) in May 2004 to foster research policy linkages on Human Rights challenges
  • A new strategy of research and advocacy on Democracy based at the Byblos Centre in Lebanon
  • A programme of dialogues between Civil Societies in the Middle East
  • A research programme on obstacles to socio economic and cultural rights in Latin America
  • A research/advocacy programme to encourage participation of civil society in regional integration processes in West Africa
  • A new programme of research-policy linkages in the study and management of social transformations
  • A new initiative to build an international coalition of cities united against racism
  • A programme of conceptual and empirical research on poverty as a human rights violation
  • Etc..


  Email this page     Printable version

  Email this page
 Printable version