15 July 2005

"The dignity of man, as a justification of our faith in freedom can be part of our living creed only if we revert to a view of life where maturity of mind counts for more than outward success.

"Maturity of mind is reflected in an absence of fear in recognition of the fact that fate is what we make it.

"The so-called realists may regard what I have tried to say as just so many fine words. Only tenuously related to everyday life and political action. I would challenge this (approach). The thoughts I have shared with you are conclusions from a most practical experience. Politics and diplomacy are no play of will and skill where results are independent of the character of those engaging in the game. Results are determined, not by superficial ability but by the consistency of the actors in their efforts and by the validity of their ideals. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, there is no intellectual activity which more ruthlessly tests the solidity of a man than politics. Apparently, easy successes with the public are possible for a juggler, but lasting results are achieved only by the patient builder."

Dag Hammarskjold, from a speech at Johns Hopkins University
(Press Release SG/424 dated June 14, 1955)

On the 100th anniversary of Dag Hammarskjold's birthday (29 July 1905), we devote this unforum issue to his inspiring leadership, to the life he dedicated so that our world would be better, to the United Nations which he perceived as the proud, credible and effective reflection of human dignity and maturity of mind.

All else, therefore, will be overlooked as we concentrate our thoughts on that most distinguished Secretary General, who raised our heads high, kept our United Nations at the centre of international life, and with great courage and dignity, gave his life for peace.

We could remember him best by honouring the true spirit of international civil service, which he inspired and by adhering to the high standard of work he had set for us all.

Particularly in these sad times when our beloved Organization was allowed to drift into ponderosity, where very few cowardly rotten apples tainted the reputation and credibility of dedicated courageous civil servants devoting their life -- even risking it -- around the world, we cannot but feel a special admiration for Dag Hammarskjold, whose spotless conduct and unflinching courage still inspires us today.

Thank You. Leading by example, you exposed false pretenders.

Thank You. Standing up for Human Dignity, you shamed the "jugglers" who disgraced us.

One Hundred Thank Yous on your One Hundredth Birthday.