Humanitarian Profile: Sadako Ogata

Sadako Ogata (1927 – ) is a Japanese scholar and administrator.  She served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1991 until 2001, and has been serving as the president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency since 2003.

Before her career as UNHCR, she was the Independent Expert of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the Human Rights Situation in Myanmar in 1990. From 1982 to 1985, she was also Representative of Japan on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

In 1994, she was awarded the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International, and in 1995, she became the first female recipient of the Liberty Medal for efforts as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  During her acceptance speech, she stated:

“If we ignore the plight of the refugees or the burden of the countries which have received them, I fear we will pay a heavy toll in renewed violence. Conditions must be created urgently to allow the refugees to go back and live in peace and tolerance in their own country.”


Biography of Mrs. Sadako Ogata

Sadako Ogata 1999 Interview: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley.

University of Hawaii at Manoa; Center of Excellence in DMHA; ICRC

Contact Information

Disaster Management & Humanitarian Assistance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
2424 Maile Way, Saunders Hall 118
Honolulu, HI 96822