15 October 2005

Again, it's about time. Two hard working dedicated professionally experienced women have just been appointed to key assignments. Angela Kane is now Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs, serving with Under-Secretary General Ibrahim Gambari and Jan Beagle is head of the Office of Human Resources Management serving with Under-Secretary General Christopher Burnham. Both women earned their way up the international civil service with proven dedication, skill and hands-on management style. Ms. Kane, who had worked in the field as well as at Headquarters, was a Principal Officer at the Secretary General office before being selected by the then head of the Department of Public Information, Mr. Samir Sanbar, as Director of Publication and Library Division at the more senior D-2 level. She was instrumental in helping to launch the official U.N. web site, working closely with other colleagues in the Department of Administration and Management. Her determination to modernize the Library, particularly the acquisition of material, made a lasting impact. One of her welcome innovations was the Internet's "School Bus," which introduced young students around the world to each other and to U.N. relevant work. At the time, the wife of the new Secretary General Nane Annan who heard about the experiment from Sweden, witnessed a live display. Ms. Kane, a German married to an American, then transferred to the European Division of the Political Affairs Department. Her political skill was acknowledged when she was sent to Asmara as Deputy Representative of the Secretary General for Eretria and Ethiopia. Upon return to New York, she held the number two post in the General Assembly and Conferences Department, taking added responsibilities while the number one was away on health grounds.

Ms. Beagle also made it the old fashioned way: she worked for it. Working with one of the most innovative and accomplished internationalists, the dynamic Luiz Maria Gomez, she was already a rising star in UNDP when she joined Jean Claude Aime, Chief of Staff to Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Ms. Beagle, a New Zealander married to an Algerian colleague, handled most sensitive issues with calm discretion. She effectively managed nitty gritty questions as well as intricate administrative and financial issues. She dealt with heads of departments, senior colleagues, as well as other staff, with respect and confidence. Moving as Director in the Office of Human Resources Management, she displayed the same competence.

Both Ms. Kane and Ms Beagle are very different and very similar. While their proven competence is in very different fields and their temperament varies, they are very similar in being equally pleasant and efficient, respectful and confident, putting their dedication to work requirements above any other consideration. They are both lucky to have supportive confident husbands.

While welcoming their appointments, it is important to give special credit to those who selected them. Under Secretaries General Burnham and Gambari, both newly assigned, showed that they paid welcome attention to qualified insiders while giving priority to merit. For that they deserve acknowledgement and staff appreciation.