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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record

9 March 2010: Staff honoured at memorial service for Haiti

[New  York | Author: iSeek/Nancy Groves]  

 A solemn and moving ceremony was held on Tuesday in the Trusteeship Council chamber attended by the families, friends and colleagues of those who died in the 12 January 2010 earthquake.

The event opened with a video montage of footage from Haiti and photographs of all the victims .

A tearful Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon told the families and friends in attendance, "We honor 101 unique paths that joined in Haiti to write the larger story of the United Nations. These women and men were our own. They were our family. They came to Haiti from all corners of the world, from all walks of life. Yet they shared a common conviction … a belief in a better future for the people of Haiti, and a common resolve to help them build it. Now those 101 paths come together one final time, here in this chamber, through us … families and friends, colleagues and loved ones."

Full statement   

He went on to say, "We knew them, very personally. We knew their smiles, their songs and their dreams. Now we cannot forget the last email, the last conversation, the last meal together, the last au revoir. […] At the United Nations, we don't simply share office space; we share a passion for a better world."

Before concluding his remarks, he said, "In life, we are measured by the company we keep. To those here today, let us know that this is our measure. This is the company we keep. To those we have lost, let us say: we will never forget you. We will carry on your work."

Mr. BAN called for a minute of silence, flanked by white-gloved military personnel and security officers. The lectern was surrounded by white and purple flowers and 101 candles.

The ceremony was led by Under-Secretary-General for Management Angela Kane. Also making remarks were the President of the General Assembly H.E. Dr. Ali Abdussalam Treki and the Permanent Representative of Haiti H.E. Mr. Léo Mérorès.

H.E. Mr. Antonio Pedro Monteiro Lima, Permanent Representative of Cape Verde, read a poem he wrote about the earthquake and about the vibrant and tragic history of the country of Haiti.

Bouquets of flowers were laid by Ms. Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Field Support; Mr. Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO); Lt. Gen. Chikadibia Isaac Obiakor, Military Adviser, Office of Military Affairs, DPKO; and Ms. Ann-Marie Orler, Police Adviser, Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, DPKO.

Rieko Kawabata, a violinist, played interludes and the ceremony ended with a song performed a capella by Emeline Michel, a Haitian singer.

To accommodate the large number of staff members who wanted to attend, two additional rooms served as overflow space.

Prior to the ceremony, representatives of the 101 families were greeted by senior managers, staff members and delegates. On display were banners for each colleague lost with their photographs and their tribute text.

Tributes book

Each attendant was given a special book containing the tributes published on iSeek for each individual who perished.

Originally intended for an internal audience of UN staff, as a courtesy to family members and friends of the victims, and at the request of several Member States, they are now republished in their entirety online for those who don’t have access to iSeek .

They are also being shared on the DPKO Support Page for UN Staff in Haiti  and will be linked to from the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti  (MINUSTAH) web site.

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Vienna

Staff members of Vienna-based organizations gathered together for a solemn ceremony led by UN Office at Vienna (UNOV) Director-General Mr. Antonio Maria Costa

At the event, a statement was read by Mr. Stefano Berterame, President of the UNOV/ United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Staff Union. The Vienna International Centre Choir sang "Amazing Grace" and "Be Still My Soul" .

The event concluded with a live viewing of the webcast and the signing of a book of condolences.