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  • Amb. Dr. Anil Sooklal


    Deputy Director-General: Asia and Middle East, South Africa’s

    Current Position

    Ambassador Anil Sooklal is the Deputy Director-General responsible for Asia and the Middle East, Department of International Relations and Cooperation. In addition to his duties as Deputy Director-General; he is also South Africa’s BRICS Sherpa, G20 Sherpa and IBSA (India-Brazil-South Africa) Sherpa and the IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation).


    Academic Qualifications

    He has achieved the following

    • BA (Oriental History and Religious Studies), University of Durban-Westville (now called University of KwaZulu Natal-UKZN)
    • BA Honours (Cum Laude) (Oriental History and Religious Studies), UKZN
    • MA (Religious Studies), UKZN
    • D Phil (Religious Studies), UKZN
    • PhD (Oriental History), UKZN     

    In addition to his academic qualifications, he also holds a Diploma in Fine Art, a Certificate in Human Rights from the United Nations Centre for Human Rights in Geneva, and a Certificate in International Trade and Investment Promotion obtained from the International Trade Institute of Singapore under the Singapore Co-operation Programme

    Positions last held/Career/Memberships/Other Activities

    Dr Sookal held several positions in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. He previously served as Deputy Director-General: Asia & the Middle East. He also served as Chief Director for North Africa, Acting Chief Director for United Nations Political and Global Security Affairs and Head of the Department’s Parliamentary Office in Cape Town, and was co-ordinator of the substance team of the UN World Conference Against Racism, 2001.

    He was appointed Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg in April 2006 and completed his term of office in January 2012.

    His previous foreign postings include having been Counsellor (Political) at the South African Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva and at the South African High Commission in New Delhi respectively.

    During his tenure as Ambassador in Brussels he served as Chair of SADC Committee of Ambassadors (2008 – 2009), Chair of the Tripartite )SADC, EAC, COMESA) Committee of Ambassadors (2008 – 2009), Member of the Bureau of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors (2007), and Deputy Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee, ACP (2011).

    Before joining government in 1995, he followed an academic career, having held teaching positions at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of South Africa (UNISA), as a Lecture. During his academic career, he participated in over 20 international academic conferences and 40 national academic conferences. Dr Sooklal published more than 20 journal articles in monographs (both) local and international) and he served as the Editor of Nidan, University of Durban-Westville). He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Religion in Southern Africa. He received several grants for post-graduate research and post-doctoral research abroad from the Human Sciences Research Council and the De Beers Foundation.

    He served as a member of the Religious Advisory Board of the SABC from January to August 1995, when he resigned to take up his post at the SA Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

    Ambassador Sooklal is a recipient of the following awards:

    • Adjunct Fellowship at RIS New Delhi
    • Fellowship in Human Rights (1993), United Nations Centre for Human Rights, Geneva
    • Internship in Human Rights, United Nations Centre for Human Rights, Geneva (Jul-Sep 1994)
    • Adjunct Professor of Fujian Agriculture and forestry University, China (July 2016)
    • Honorary Professor of Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana (December 2016)