Hailing from Upare in the Tanzanian northern region of Kilimanjaro, Asha-Rose Mtengeti was born in Songea in the southern region of Ruvuma on 9 July 1956. She obtained primary and secondary education in various schools in Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions in Tanzania, beginning at MnaziMmoja Primary School in 1963, proceeding with Korogwe Primary School, then to Weruweru Secondary School for junior secondary and finally to Korogwe Secondary School for senior secondary education, which she completed in 1975. Entering the University of Dar es Salaam in 1977, she obtained LLB first class honours in 1980 and proceeded thereafter to postgraduate studies for a Master of Laws at the University of Dar es Salaam (earned in 1984) and a Doctorate in Law at the University of Konstanz in Germany (1992).
Growing within faculty ranks to Senior Lecturer at the-then Faculty of Law, Dr. Migiro was appointed to headships of department in several departments – including Constitutional and Administrative Law (1992-1994) and Civil and Criminal Law (1994-1997). On 4th January 2006, a step further was made in her mobility beyond academia, when she was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (2006 to 2007), being the first woman in that position since the independence of the United Republic of Tanzania. While in that ministerial position, Migiro chaired the Council of Ministers’ meetings of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and that of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. She coordinated SADC assistance to elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in Zambia and in Madagascar. She also served as President of the United Nations Security Council during its open debate on peace, security and development in the Great Lakes Region.
On 1st February, 2007, a leap forward was made, when Minister Migiro became the third Deputy Secretary-General, following her appointment to that position by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon. In that position she also became the first African woman to be appointed to this position since the establishment of this particular position in 1997. Her tenure ended in June 2012.
Following her departure as Deputy UN Secretary-General, Asha- Rose was appointed by the Secretary-General as his Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa. She brought to this role unique and valuable experiences in promoting the AIDS response both globally and within Africa through the various field missions she made to some of the world’s worst-affected countries together with the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, That way, she became a powerful force as an advocate for a greater balance in HIV-related caregiving responsibilities between men and women on the African continent. In the meanwhile, in 2009, she threw her weight behind programmes aimed at fighting gender inequality and the traditional marginalisation of womenfolk by supporting a girls’ education initiative—a public girls’ secondary school—in her home district in Mwanga. She helped in mobilising internal and external support, with, for instance, a German foundation ‘TOOLS FOR LIFE’ together with PROBONO, constructing a well for reliable water supply to the school throughout the year. Asha-Rose Migiro Girls’ Secondary School, as it is known, is academically doing well in many school subjects, especially in Kiswahili, English andBiology, dispelling the oft-projected myth and prejudice that females are always outperformed by males in formal education and examinations. It is this negative projection that Asha-Rose has always fought against, among other gender-based biases in society.
Upon return from formal engagement with the UN, Dr. Migiro served the government in different capacities, including as Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs (January 2014 to November 2015) and was subsequently appointed Chancellor of the Open University of Tanzania. On 15th February 2016, Dr. Migiro was appointed High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, where she is representing the United Republic of Tanzania. She and her husband, Prof. CleophasMigiro, are blessed with two children. But she is also blessed with a cultural-educational background that enables her to speak five languages: Kipare, Kiswahili, English, German and French. The University of Dar es Salaam is, no doubt,proud of her service record and her achievements.