Living to Some Purpose

Living to Some Purpose is the autobiography of Dr Adnan Pachachi, one of the most distinguished politicians of the last century. Here he describes his career from its beginning in Iraq as Ambassador to the United Nations, to his time as a member of the Iraqi Parliament from 2006-2010.

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Often described as Iraq’s elder statesman, Dr Adnan Pachachi has enjoyed one of the longest and most distinguished political careers of modern times, both domestically and on the world stage. In a life spanning nine decades, he has served his country as Ambassador to the United Nations and as Foreign Minister, and has worked tirelessly to establish a secular and anti-sectarian political culture in Iraq. At the UN, where he was an eloquent advocate of the Palestinian cause, he was much admired for his mastery of procedure and his formidable debating skills. In 1969, a few months after the Ba’athist government took power in Baghdad, he resigned from the Iraqi foreign service while at the United Nations in New York. He would not see his country again for thirty-four years. At the invitation of Sheikh Zayed, he took up residence in Abu Dhabi where, until 1993, he played a central role in establishing the United Arab Emirates as a newly independent state. In 1991 he re-engaged with Iraqi politics when he became involved with the expatriate opposition. In 2003, at the age of eighty, he made the courageous decision to return to Iraq in the aftermath of the US invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein. He became a member of the Governing Council, its President in January 2004, a member of the Interim National Council in 2004/05, and a member of the Iraqi Parliament from 2006 to 2010. In this honest and affecting memoir, in which he combines the political with the personal, Dr Pachachi charts the course of his lifelong dedication to democratic, pluralist, tolerant and civilized values.


  • Adnan al-Pachachi

    Adnan al-Pachachi or Adnan Muzahim Ameen al-Pachachi is a veteran Iraqi politician and diplomat who served as Foreign Minister. Pachachi was Iraq's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1959 to 1965 and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iraq from 1965 to 1967, during the Six-Day War with Israel; he again served as Permanent Representative to the UN from 1967 to 1969. After 1971, he spent a long period in exile. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Pachachi was an important figure in Iraqi politics, often described as Iraq's elder statesman. He rejected the role of president in the Iraqi Interim Government. Phil Sluglett has a BA from Cambridge and a D.Phil from Oxford. He has taught as a Research Professor at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, Middle Eastern History at the University of Durham and at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, where he was Director of the University’s Middle East Centre. He has published widely on the modern history of Iraq, including Iraq since 1958: from Revolution to Dictatorship, and Britain in Iraq: Contriving King and Country. He has also edited and contributed to The Urban Social History of the Middle East 1750-1950, Syria and Bilad al-Sham under Ottoman Rule: Essays in Honour of Abdul-Karim Rafeq, and Writing the Modern History of Iraq: Historiographical and Political Challenges.

  • Peter Sluglett

Additional information

Dimensions 23.4 × 15.6 cm



May 2013