Preface to the first edition — Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky

of the United Nations,
Director-General of the United Nations
Office at Geneva,
Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament

After studying at the Institute of International Relations in Moscow, Vladimir Petrovsky joined the diplomatic service in 1957 and was sent to New York, where he worked mainly as a translator for the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the United Nations.

Mr. Petrovsky continued with his university work during this time and afterwards, publishing works on international relations such as "The Diplomacy of 10 Downing Street," "U.S. Foreign Policy Thinking, Disarmament, Concept, Problems, Mechanisms" and "Security in the Nuclear and Outer Space Era."

From 1961 to 1964, Mr. Petrovsky served with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow. He was assigned to the United Nations Secretariat in New York in 1964 and remained there until 1971. During this time he worked closely with the third Secretary-General, U Thant. Upon returning to Moscow, he rose through the ranks to become Head of the Department for International Organisations, then Deputy Foreign Minister and, finally, in 1991, First Deputy Foreign Minister under President Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev.

While holding these posts, Mr. Petrovsky participated in many international conferences, as well as in sessions of the UN General Assembly, as head of the Soviet delegation.

In 1992, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali named Mr. Petrovsky Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN in New York. One of Mr. Petrovsky's tasks in this new post was to visit Libya as a special envoy of the Secretary-General to seek that country's co-operation for the implementation of Security Council resolutions. Another special assignment during his tenure was to represent the UN Secretary-General at the Helsinki Summit for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

In 1993, Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali appointed Mr. Petrovsky Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. Mr. Petrovsky continues to serve in that position under the current Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. In the intervening years, Mr. Petrovsky has led numerous fact-finding missions to Libya. He is also Secretary-General of the on-going Conference on Disarmament. In Geneva, he is working closely with non-governmental organisations with a view to enhancing their participation in all areas of the UN system.

Mr. Petrovsky was born on 29 April 1933 in Volgograd, Russia.