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New Voice at United Nations to Speak for Adventist Values

Newly elected Ganoune Diop brings a wealth of experience and skills

Dr. Ganoune Diop, a multilinguist who is comfortable conversing in ten languages, will represent the Adventist Church at the United Nations.The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s new voice at the United Nations will speak eloquently for Adventist values and interests, says Dr. John Graz, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty (PARL) for the world church. Senegalese-born Ganoune Diop, who takes up his responsibilities this month, is a theologian, academic, administrator, and multi-linguist who has lived and worked on three continents. As the newly appointed associate director of PARL, he will represent the church at the United Nations in Geneva and in New York, and contribute to PARL’s work with the International Religious Liberty Association.

“Dr. Diop’s cross-cultural experience, education, and desire to serve his church, make him extraordinarily well-suited to his new responsibilities,” says Dr. Graz. During his varied church career, Dr. Diop has served as a church pastor, a conference Sabbath School director, a professor of Biblical Languages, Exegesis, and Theology at Saleve Adventist University in France, and later at Southern Adventist University and Oakwood University in the United States. In his most recent assignment, he served as director of the five Global Mission Study Centers of the Office of Adventist Mission.

According to Dr. Diop, an important focus of his new role will be to “make the case before representatives of nations that they benefit from having Adventists live in their countries, freely practicing their religion and lifestyle.”

“Our various services to humanity—healthcare systems, education institutions, organizations for the support of human rights, development and relief agencies—all these things are focused on improving the quality of life within communities,” he explains.

Dr. Diop says he will draw principles to guide his work from the life and example of Jesus Christ. “Jesus showed through His life and teachings that he was certainly a diplomat,” he says. “He did not, for example, force Himself on humanity, but through appeals, dialogues, conversations, negotiations, based on respect for human dignity, he shared His values. He appealed to the deepest values he inscribed in people he created in His own image.

“Unquestionably, the church needs to engage people of good will, appealing to the best in them, their deepest values,” adds Dr. Diop. “We need to make a case that Adventists are established as salt and light; to be a blessing to all.

Dr. Delbert Baker, a general vice president of the world church, says Dr. Diop will bring will a unique line-up of abilities to his role as international church diplomat. “He brings a deep commitment to his faith and a wealth of experience to this pivotal role of spokesperson for the church within the international arena,” says Dr. Baker, who serves as advisor to the PARL department.

Dr. Graz also pays tribute to the work done by Dr. Diop’s predecessor, attorney Barry Bussey, who left earlier this year to take up a new position in Canada. “We’re grateful for the network of contacts Mr. Bussey developed, and the tremendous deposit of goodwill he built up during his tenure as United Nations Relations director,” he says.