Mohamed ElBaradei

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Mohamed ElBaradei (Arabic: محمد البرادعي, alternative spelling: Muhammad Al-Baradei; June 17, 1942-) is a lawyer, former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Nobel peace prize laureate. He was born in Cairo, Egypt. He initially announced that he would run for president in Egypt's upcoming presidential election, but ended his presidential bid in January 2012.

Mohamed ElBaradei's father Mustafa was a lawyer and the head of the lawyer’s association in Egypt. Mustafa was a democratic rights supporter which brought him into conflict with the Egyptian Government.

Mohamed ElBaradei is married to Aida Elkachef, a teacher. They have two children: Laila and Mustafa.[1]
Mohamed ElBaradei (Source: Nobel Prize)


Education and Career

Mohamed ElBaradei graduated from Cairo University in 1962 with a Bachelor’s degree in Law. In 1974, ElBaradei graduated from New York University with a Doctorate in International Law.

His first political job was in 1964 with the Egyptian Diplomatic Service, working in the Permanent Egyptian Mission to the United Nations. In this position, he worked on arms control issues. In 1974, he became special assistant to the Egyptian Foreign minister, a position that he held until 1978. After the Diplomatic Service, ElBaradei went to work for the United Nations’ Institute of Training and Research. There he was in charge of the International Law Program. During this time, he was also Adjunct Professor of International Law at New York University.[2]

In 1984, he began working for the International Atomic Energy Agency as a Legal Advisor, and in 1997, he became its director. At this time, he worked towards diplomacy with countries that had burgeoning nuclear programs, including Iran and North Korea. He was also one of the voices who questioned the evidence of nuclear material in Iraq leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion. While ElBaradei strongly opposes the use of nuclear energy to create weapons, he supports its use for energy and other peaceful purposes.[3]

In 2010, Baradei became one of the founding members of Harakat al-Taghyir (the "National Association for Change"), a political movement in Egypt that advocates general political reform in Egypt. Currently ElBaradei is a human rights and democracy advocate for Egypt. With the other 30 prominent figures that took part in the movement, ElBaradei sponsored a petition "including seven demands for liberal political reform in spring 2010, which garnered roughly a million signatures from Egyptians gathered by a small army of volunteers and by the Muslim Brotherhood."[4]

Role in Post-January 25 Egypt

Mohamed ElBaradei returned from Vienna, Austria to Egypt on January 27, 2011 to join protesters in the streets of Cairo. After Mubarak's removal, he announced that he would run for president.

During the referendum in March, he urged his followers to vote against the proposed constitutional amendments. He wanted a new constitution altogether, claiming that the amendments "were an insult to the Revolution that toppled the dictator."[5] On the day of the referendum, ElBaradei stood in line to cast his vote where he told reporters earlier that he would, when tens of voters around him started pelting him with stones. He and his brother immediately left amid yells of a jeering crowd: "We do not want him! We do not want him! Go away!" ElBaradei later tweeted that the people who assaulted him were thugs of the old regime still at large.[6]

He constantly called for "a slower political transition in which the government would be headed by a presidential council with both civilian and military representatives until a new constitution can be drafted, which he believes should take place before parliamentary or presidential elections are held." And because youth movements formed "the core of his political base," most of ElBaradei's opinions and stances on pertinent issues tended to resonate with younger revolutionaries.[7] He called for an immediate end to emergency law, an end to trying civilians in a military court and preventing the remnants of the old regime from participating in the politics of the new Egypt. He also tackled issues that are most important to average working Egyptians like fair (not minumum) wages, insurance and fair working hours.[8]

Vision and Opinions

On the Economy

In a press conference in early October 2011, ElBaradei stated that Egypt's economy is faltering, and that if it does not receive foreign and domestic investments soon, Egypt will go bankrupt within the first six months after the Revolution.[9] He placed special emphasis on Egypt's workforce and, in a labor meeting, he insisted that "Egypt will not develop without industry." At the end of the meeting, ElBaradei and the workers he met with agreed that "Egypt needs a campaign that sets higher wages, gives workers the right to form independent unions, creates a dialogue with entrepreneurs and guarantees the rights of all sectors of society."[10]

On the Military

ElBaradei constantly expressed disapproval of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)'s actions but kept repeating that Egyptians need to respect them. He constantly tried to remind people that the military was "the protector of the Revolution."[11]He also asserted that "if trust in the Egyptian army is lost then Egypt will lose."[12]

After the massacre that took place infront of the Egyptian state television building (Maspero) on October 9, 2011, ElBaradei argued that the military council, which was ruling at the time, had "zero experience with running the country," and that this incident in which 26 people were killed and hundreds were wounded is a clear indication of their ineptitude. He also criticized SCAF for choosing a government which they gave little or no power or authority.[13] He expressed his disapproval of and disappointment towards the Egyptian TV for being so alarmist and untrustworthy especially during these difficult times.[14]

As Presidential Hopeful

ElBaradei wholeheartedly supports the Muslim Brotherhood and encourages their participation in politics. He said that he is for the implementation of Shariʿa law and the second article of the constitution which states that Shariʿa is the source of legislation. He warned Egyptians to be wary of those trying to ignite sectarian strife.[15]

In a poll carried out by the American University in Cairo's student-run newsletter Caravan in October 2011, more than 50 percent of those polled said that they would vote for ElBaradei for president. One of the students' reason was that "ElBaradei provides Egypt with a vision of the future that is very progressive but at the same time moderate. Other candidates I see have the same mentality as the old regime."[16] ElBaradei generally appealed to many Egyptians of the middle and high classes.

After particularly violent clashes erupted in Tahrir and the nearby Muhammad Mahmud Street starting November 18, 2011, the then-ruling military council tried to make several concessions to placate the masses. Shortly before Field Marshal Tantawi gave his speech on November 22, 2011, the military council called for an emergency meeting with all political parties and activists to find a solution for the current unrest. ElBaradei did not attend the meeting. He said that he would prefer "to be a link between the people and the military council" in coming up with an agreed-upon solution. He demanded that the military "apologize to the Egyptian people over the attacks in Tahrir Square and stop military trials immediately." He also called for the formation of a civilian government to lead the country safely through the transition period. It is reported that he agreed to initially help form this transitional government only if the military agreed to transfer all power to this "national salvation government".[17]

In late November 2011, ElBaradei and activist Wa'il Ghunaym took first place in Foreign Policy's 100 top global thinkers "for defying the police state--and inspiring millions to join them."[18]

Ending Presidential Bid

On January 14, 2012, in protest of the military council's governing "as though no revolution had taken place", ElBaradei announced that he will no longer be running for president.[19] He asserted that his decision to bow out of the presidential race does not mean he will leave the political scene. He said that it will effectively allow him to concentrate his efforts on helping Egypt, no strings attached, "not shackled by constraints".[20]

"Instead of uniting the nation through an organized political process ... [the council] has taken all decisions alone in a way that reflects confusion, and exacerbated divisions in the society while we are in dire need of solidarity," ElBaradei said. "My conscience does not permit me to run for the presidency [sic] or any other official position unless it is within a democratic framework”.[21]

Early in April 2012, ElBaradei announced that he planned to co-found the "Revolution Party", which would "strive to become a broad-based coalition 'that will include all secular forces' in Egypt."[22] Towards the end of April, he founded Hizb al-Dostour (The Constitution Party), which he said aims "to unite Egyptians behind democracy, and to take power in four years [sic] time."[23]


He has received numerous awards, including The Nobel Peace Prize (2005), Greatest Nile Collar, The Human Security Award, The Gold Dove of Peace Prize, amongst many others including a myriad of honorary degrees.


  1. “Profile: Mohammed El Baradei” BBC. January 30 2011 (accessed September 12, 2011)
  2. “Profile: Mohammed El Baradei” BBC.
  3. “Mohammed El Baradei Biography” January 31, 2011 (accessed May 2, 2011)
  4. "Profile of Mohamed ElBaradei" Carnagie Endowment (accessed September 12, 2011)
  5. "Nakhibun Yarshuqun Mohammad al-Baradei bi al-Higara wa Yamna'unah min al-'Iqtira' " France 24. March 19, 2011. (accessed September 12, 2011)
  6. "Nakhibun Yarshuqun Mohammad al-Baradei bi al-Higara wa Yamna'unah min al-'Iqtira' " France 24.
  7. "Nakhibun Yarshuqun Mohammad al-Baradei bi al-Higara wa Yamna'unah min al-'Iqtira' " France 24.
  8. Ayyub, Muhammad. "Al-Baradei: Misr Satuflis Khilal 6 Ashhur In Lam Yahduth Istiqrar." Moheet. October 3, 2011.البرادعي-مصر-ستفلس-خلال-٦-أشهر-إن-لم-يح/ (accessed October 29, 2011)
  9. Ayyub, Muhammad. "Al-Baradei: Misr Satuflis Khilal 6 Ashhur In Lam Yahduth Istiqrar."
  10. Al Desouki, Omnia. "ElBaradei calls for end to military trials, emergency law in labor meeting." The Daily News Egypt. October 4, 2011 (accessed October 30, 2011)
  11. Matari, Yasir. "Al-Baradei: Al-Askari Balagha Sin al-Taqaʿud." Al-Wafd. October 20, 2011.أخبار-وتقارير/13-الشارع%20السياسي/111792-البرادعى-العسكرى-بلغ-سن-التقاعد (accessed October 31, 2011)
  12. Al Desouki, Omnia. "ElBaradei calls for end to military trials, emergency law in labor meeting."
  13. Muhammad, Abdullah. "Al-Baradei: Ahdath Maspero Tuthbit Agz al-Askari." Al-Wafd. October 15, 2011.أخبار-وتقارير/13-الشارع%20السياسي/108885-البرادعى-أحداث-ماسبيرو-تثبت-عجز-العسكرى (accessed October 30, 2011)
  14. "Al-Baradei Yarfud Ay Dawr Siyasi lil-Gaysh baʿd al-Fatra al-Intiqaliyya." Al-Haya. October 17, 2011. (accessed October 30, 2011)
  15. Matari, Yasir. "Al-Baradei: Al-Askari Balagha Sin al-Taqaʿud."
  16. Aboul Enein, Ahmed. "More than 50 percent of AUCians favor Mohamed ElBaradei for president." Caravan. October 23, 2011. (accessed October 31, 2011)
  17. "Al-Baradei: Ufaddil An Akun Halakat Wasl bayn al-Thuwwar wal-Askari lil-Wusul li-Tawafuq Nabiʿ min al-Midan." Al-Masry al-Youm. November 22, 2011 (accessed November 23, 2011)
  18. "The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers." Foreign Policy. December 2011.,1 (accessed November 30, 2011)
  19. "Mohamed ElBaradei will end Egypt presidency bid." BBC. January 14, 2012. (accessed January 14, 2012)
  20. "Nanshur Nus Bayan al-Baradei alladhi Yuʿlin fih Insihabah min al-Tarashuh lil-Ri'asa." Al-Dostor. January 14, 2012. (accessed January 14, 2012)
  21. "Updated: To protest military rule, ElBaradei will not run for presidency." Egypt Independent. January 14, 2012. (accessed January 14, 2012)
  22. "ElBaradei slams Tantawi's calls for new constitution before elections". Ahram Online. April 16, 2012. Accessed April 17, 2012
  23. "Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei launches Egyptian party". BBC. April 28, 2012. (accessed October 30, 2012)

Other References

"Al-Baradei: al-Tadhiya al-Athima alati Qaddamaha al-Shuhada' Sahibit al-Fadl fi-Igra' al-Intikhabat." Al-Shorouk. November 30, 2011. (accessed November 30, 2011).

"Al-Baradei: Hukumat Sharaf Daʿifa.. Wa Uwafiq ala Ay Mansib." Shabab Ahram. October 7, 2011. (accessed October 30, 2011)

Al-Minawy, Sama'. "Al-Baradei Yuʿlin Qariban an Birnamig Inʿash al-Iqtisad ala al-Mada al-Qasir." EgyNews. October 20, 2011. (accessed October 30, 2011).

Amir, Aya. "Lan Akhdaʿ al-Shaʿb wa Akun Ra'isan bila Salahiyat wa Lan Usawim ala Damiri li-Irda' al-Nas." Al-Shorouk. February 27, 2012. (accessed February 28, 2012).

"ElBaradei describes Egypt situation as 'heart breaking". Ahram Online. March 31, 2012. (accessed April 17, 2012).

ElBaradei, Mohamed. "My year of hard-pounding in Egypt’s political muck." Financial Times. February 7, 2012. (accessed February 28, 2012).

El Gundy, Zeinab. "People's Assembly refuses to investigate insults to ElBaradei." Ahram Online. February 27, 2012. (accessed February 28, 2012).

"Profile: Mohamed ElBaradei" Al-Jazeera. January 31, 2011. (accessed September 12, 2011).

"Mohamed ElBaradei - Biography". 12 Sep 2011

Mohammad elBaradei's Facebook page:

"Mohamed ElBaradei" Wikipedia. (accessed September 12, 2011).

Taʿlab, Ibtisam. "Al-Baradei: Adam Musharakat al-Misriyyin bil-Kharig Yufqid al-Intikhabat Sharʿiyyataha." Al-Masry al-Youm. October 26, 2011. (accessed October 31, 2011).

Youssef, Mennatallah Fouad. "ElBaradei to co-found new Egypt 'revolutionary' party". Daily News Egypt. April 10, 2012. Accessed April 17, 2012.

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