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C.6.1 Secretary-General Hails Late Assistant S-G Robert Muller's Devotion to Organization's Work - Message at Memorial

Secretary-General, SG/SM/13439
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Hails Late Assistant Secretary-General Robert Muller's
Devotion to Organization's Work in Message at Memorial Service

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message, delivered by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, to the memorial service for Robert Muller, in New York, today, 11 March:

I offer sincere condolences to all the family members, friends, former colleagues and others who have gathered to mourn the loss and commemorate the life of Dr. Robert Muller. I thank the Global Security Institute for hosting this service.

I did not know Dr. Muller personally, but I am well aware of the very high regard in which he is held throughout the United Nations community. And I do know this: when death claims a staff member who brought such tremendous passion and commitment to our work, and who devoted so many decades to this Organization, it is a loss for the living United Nations family as a whole.

Robert Muller was a justifiably renowned figure. His creativity and influence were instrumental in the conception of scores of multilateral bodies, including the United Nations Development Programme, the World Food Programme, the United Nations Population Fund, and the World Youth Assembly - some of the key endeavours that define the United Nations and our global work. He knew that these could not be impersonal institutional structures but, rather, had to be alive with vision, compassion and a powerful sense of human unity.

Dr. Muller brought precisely that spirit to whatever task he undertook. For him, the entire human family was his family. He also helped orchestrate the first-ever United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, and was deeply involved in many other global gatherings. His career spanned the decades, the issues, and even almost all the professional ranks of the Secretariat - starting from the P1 level and rising steadily to Assistant-Secretary-General, directly serving three of my predecessors. He also had a tremendous imprint on global education, including through the University of Peace, and richly earned the UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] Prize for Peace Education in 1989.

We will miss our "optimist-in-residence", as some called him. But he remains a source of inspiration, and his example and his teachings will continue to guide us in our global mission of peace, development and human rights. On this day that would have been his eighty-eighth birthday, let us celebrate just the same - the life of a remarkable man who brought hope and good works to the world.