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Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chair of the African Union Commission and Head of State of the African Union, was born on February 2nd, 1946 in Kayes, in the western part of Mali. His father was a distinguished school teacher and a Mayor of the city of Kayes.

His involvement in politics grew out of his opposition to the military coup staged in 1968 in Mali. In 1978, the group of military officers which emerged from the internal struggle for power within the ruling military junta showed some willingness to allow for freedom and to open the government to the opponents to the military rule.

In this connection, Alpha Oumar Konaré accepted to join the government as Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Culture hopping that would change the nature of the regime. But he was frustrated in his efforts. Out of this frustration, he left the government in 1982.

In 1983, he launched the quarterly cultural magazine "Jamana". Later, he founded "Les Echos", a weekly newspaper.

The overthrow of the one-party-military-backed regime in March 1991, after weeks of popular demonstrations marked the succesful conclusion of 23 years of clandestine political struggle against the military dictatorship by many groups of democrats.

In April 1992, Alpha Oumar Konare, the candidate of the Association for Democracy in Mali won the first multiparty presidential elections of the country. On June 8, 1992, he was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Mali. Reelected in 1997, Alpha Oumar Konaré concluded his second term in June 2002.

Prior to his first election, Alpha Oumar Konaré was President of the International Council of Museums, the first African to be elected at this position; and President of the West African Archeologist Association. he was also member of the Board of Directors of the Center for World Islamic Education and of the Foundation "Afrique en Création". He also served as Consultant to UNESCO, UNDP, the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation, and waas a Member of the International Council on Historical Sites and Monuments.

Alpha Oumar Konaré has a Doctorate degree in Archeology which he earned in 1975.