Ruud Lubbers (Netherlands) 2001-2005
Mr. Ruud Lubbers, a former Dutch prime minister, took office as UNHCR marked its 50th anniversary. As High Commissioner, he focused much of his attention on developing innovative new approaches toward finding solutions for the world's refugees. He oversaw major UNHCR programs and emergency operations in several countries and regions, including West Africa, Angola and Afghanistan, where more than 3 million refugees and displaced people have returned home in one of the agency's largest ever repatriations. Mr. Lubbers also introduced the "Convention Plus" initiative aimed at building on the foundation of the 1951 Refugee Convention through development of special tools that can address some of today's new challenges through multilateral approaches.