WIPO General Assembly Opens

Geneva, September 22, 2008
PR/2008/563

The General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), meeting from September 22-30, 2008, opened today with the appointment by acclamation of Mr. Francis Gurry as Director General and the Director General-elect outlining his priorities for the Organization (please see PR/2008/564).  Mr. Gurry joined the Chairman of the WIPO General Assembly, Ambassador Martin I. Uhomoibhi, who is also Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, as well as delegates in paying tribute to outgoing Director General, Dr. Kamil Idris, for his 25-year long career at WIPO.

Dr. Kamil Idris, who has served as Director General since November 1997, thanked member states for their support and “unfailing commitment to WIPO” as well as all other constituencies, namely, users of the IP system – industry groups and civil society members and NGOs – for their fruitful contributions”.   Dr. Idris said, “Upon taking up my term of office, I had a vision to open up the Organization and to make it increasingly relevant to users and beneficiaries of the IP system as well as the public at large.  Central to this vision was the need to forge close cooperation with Member States.  The concrete results of that vision are clear for all to see, and I think we can all be proud of how far WIPO has come in the past decade.”
 
Dr. Idris expressed his “sincere and heartfelt congratulations” to Mr. Francis Gurry as his successor.  He said, “I salute his commitment and dedication to this Organization which span more than two decades.” He said, “it is my conviction that in his capable and experienced hands, the Organization will continue to achieve notable results in the years to come.  The many positions of responsibility that he has held have no doubt prepared him to assume the leadership of WIPO.”
 
Ambassador Uhomoibhi urged delegates to demonstrate candor, diligence and responsibility to maximize results for the Organization and to work together to reinforce the relevance of WIPO in the international intellectual property architecture.  He further called on member states to ensure a seamless transition in leadership.
 
The Chairman paid tribute to Dr. Idris who led WIPO with “zeal and conviction” for 11 years and who served the Organization for 25 years.  Ambassador Uhomoibhi referred, in particular, to Dr. Idris’s commitment to demystifying intellectual property and its use as a tool to promote culture, economic and social development.  He also referred to a number of initiatives spearheaded by Dr. Idris to make the intellectual property system accessible to people at the grassroots.  On behalf of member states, the Chairman of the General Assembly presented Dr. Idris with a medal and Certificate of Honor for (25 years of service) in recognition of his dedicated service to the Organization.
 
“In short, Kamil Idris has made WIPO, if not yet a household name, then certainly, we might say, a famous brand.  Kamil Idris has faced challenges with single-minded determination, unbending in his convictions. We will remember him not only for his professional accomplishments, but also for his personal qualities…Above all, those of us who have come to know him will miss him as a colleague with great warmth and generosity of spiritand as a dear friend,” the Chairman said.
 
Mr. Gurry said “I join the President of the General Assembly in his acknowledgement of the achievements of Dr. Idris and I pay tribute to the initiatives that Dr. Idris introduced during his leadership, which have broadened the scope of intellectual property and increased the diversity of participation in the Organization.”
 
Many delegations took the floor to congratulate and welcome the new Director General and express their appreciation to Dr. Idris for his years of service at WIPO.
 
All documents relating to the meetings of the WIPO Assemblies are available at:  https://www.wipo.int/meetings/en/details.jsp?meeting_id=15942.
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