UNITED NATIONS. FRANCOIS GIULIANI, CREDIBLE U.N. SPOKESMAN

 

15 JULY 2009

FRANCOIS GIULIANI, CREDIBLE U.N. SPOKESMAN

During ten years as Chief Spokesman for Secretary General Javier Perez de Ceullar, Francois Giuliani created a uniquely engaging relationship with U.N. accredited press. He did work for Dr. Waldheim under Rudy Stajduhar in addition to one year under Boutros Boutros-Ghali. But it was his role with Don Javier that gave his professional work a special dimension. The Algerian born, French-British educated French citizen went along so well with his Francophone Peruvian boss that he not only reflected his clear loyalty but offered daily provisions to his inquisitive reporters. He spoke with confidence and credibility because he was an integral part of the decision-making process. He neither sought to gain popularity at the expense of his colleagues, nor avoided an inevitable confrontation. He took issues head on, responded clearly or bluntly that an issue was so delicate that nothing will be given at the time. he never responded that he did not know or that he will have to check and answer later or that you had to ask another office. He was the Secretary General's Spokesman. Period. A tightly knit team, with our beloved Nadia Younes as his Deputy and the ever loyal and tireless Freeda MacKay as his Special Assistant smoothly and pleasantly maintained a formidable ongoing dialogue. That outstanding triumvirate had one noted characteristic in addition to professional competence. They smiled, laughed, even giggled as they made their way through the thorniest of questions.

Francois, who graduated from Oxford University (and the Sorbonne) started his career at Reuters; after ten years he joined the U.N. in 1971, joining the Spokesman's office five years later. Traveling with the Secretary General, he built a formidable media network and collaborated closely with directors of Information Centres, particularly in hot spots around the world. He left the U.N. in 1996 to direct the press and public relations office for the Metropolitan Opera for ten years until his retirement in 2006.

It was with great sorrow that we heard of his passing away on 22 June while he was visiting the historic and beautiful Flemish Belgian town of Brugge. While fondly remembering Francois, we recalled Jacques Brel's song: "Le Ciel Flammand, pleur avec moi de Brugge a Gans."