15 March 2004

The new Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Elisabeth Lindenmayer, has worked at the U.N. since 1977 in various key positions -- gaining the respect and appreciation of her colleagues in addition to her boss. She started in the Office of Human Resources, moved to Budget and Finance, and to Peacekeeping before joining Kofi Annan again as Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General. Elizabeth is known as a "straight arrow" -- no deception or duplicity; a sincere practical down-to-earth pragmatist while holding on to a solid belief in U.N. ideals. Her brilliance was proven by her ability to operate for the last few years in an atmosphere of ambush and backstabbing while maintaining her wit and keeping her gracious demeanor. It was about time she was promoted to the rank of Assistant Secretary General in the Secretary General's office rather than being railroaded elsewhere. She earned her promotion the right way -- she worked for it.

It was also about time to promote Angela Kane to Assistant Secretary-General for General Assembly and Conference Management. Angela, who will return from Asmara, Eritrea in May to take over her new position had worked in the field as well as at Headquarters. She was working for former Secretary General Boutros Ghali when the then head of Department of Public Information proposed her as the first female Director in that department. In charge of Library and Publication, Angela played a key role in introducing the Internet to the U.N. system, particularly the CyberBus educational project that encouraged students around the world to learn about each other's countries and how the U.N. worked. She then moved to the Department of Political Affairs as Director of the Americas and Europe Division before taking over as the Secretary General's Deputy Special Rep for the U.N. Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia.

The promotion of these two deserving women received wide welcome, particularly among staff frustrated by parachutists descending on them through political appointments. For that, Secretary General Kofi Annan deserves genuine credit.