THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Mr Geoffrey Onyeama was sworn in as the Honourable Minister for Foreign Affairs on November 11, 2015. Prior to this appointment, the Honourable Minister had a successful career with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) from 1985 to 2014. He served as the Deputy Director General of the organisation from 2009 to 2014. He was responsible for the regional bureau for Africa, Arab Countries, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean; the Least-Developed Countries Division (LDCs); the Development Agenda Coordination Divisi(DACD); The WIPO Academy and the Special Projects Division.
In his previous assignments with WIPO, he was the Assistant Director General, Coordination Sector for External Relations, Industry, Communications and Public Outreach from 2006 to 2009. He was responsible for coordinating relations with United Nations (UN) Organizations, other intergovernmental organizations, industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs). He was also responsible for communication, public outreach, media relations and gender focal point.
In this capacity, he initiated, in 2008, with the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), the process within WIPO that culminated in the adoption of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons, who are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. From 2006 to 2012, he was also in charge, during various periods, for the WIPO External Offices in Brussels, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Tokyo and Washington,DC. Between 1999 and 2006, he served as the Acting Director, Cooperation for Development Bureau for Africa. In 1998, he became the Deputy Director, Cooperation for Development Bureau for Africa. From 1996 to 1998, he was a Senior Counsellor for Development Cooperation and External Relations, Bureau for Africa. He assumed the position of the Senior Programme Officer for Development Cooperation and External Relations Bureau for Africa in 1990. In 1985, he joined the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) as an Assistant Programme Officer for Development Cooperation and External Relations, Bureau for Africa and Western Asia.
Before joining WIPO, the Honourable Minister worked as a Law Practitioner at Mogboh and Associates,Enugu, Nigeria, from 1984 to 1985. He began his career as a Research Officer in Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Lagos, from 1983 to 1984.
The Honourable Minister was admitted as a Barrister-at-Law of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in 1983 and was also called to the English Bar of the Grey's Inn in 1981.
The Honourable Minister obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) and Master of Arts (M.A) degrees in Law from Cambridge University, UK in 1980 and 1984 respectively. He holds Bachelor of Arts (B.A) degree in Political Science from Columbia University, New York in 1977 and and Master of Laws (LL.M) degree from University of London in 1982.
The Honourable Minister speaks Igbo, English, French and German.
He is married and has three children.