WARSAW, 1 July 2008 - Ambassador Janez Lenarcic of Slovenia today assumed his new function as director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
"I am fully aware of the tremendous responsibilities that this position entails, and of the many challenges that lie ahead. I will focus on preserving the integrity of ODIHR as the primary OSCE institution dealing with human rights and democracy," said Lenarcic.
He added that he will build on his predecessors' legacy, in close co-operation with participating States and other OSCE institutions and structures. Lenarcic succeeds Ambassador Christian Strohal of Austria, who headed the ODIHR for over five years.
Lenarcic, born in Ljubljana in 1967, has an extensive background in OSCE affairs. He was the Slovenian Ambassador to the OSCE from 2003 to 2006. In 2005, when Slovenia held the OSCE's rotating Chairmanship, he chaired the Permanent Council, the Organization's regular political decision-making body.
In the run-up and during the 2008 Slovenian EU Presidency, Lenarcic was State Secretary for European Affairs. Previously, he also served as Diplomatic Adviser in the office of the Slovenian Prime Minister and in the Permanent Mission of Slovenia to the United Nations in New York.