March 08, 2008
Chasing the Flame
Sérgio Vieira de Mello was a Brazilian United Nations diplomat who worked for the UN for over 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian and political programs of the UN.
He was killed in the Canal Hotel Bombing in Iraq along with 21 other members of his staff on 19 August 2003 while working as the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq.
In May 2003 Vieira de Mello was appointed as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Iraq, an appointment initially intended to last for four months. According to New York Times Magazine journalist James Traub in his book The Best Intentions, Vieira de Mello had originally turned down the appointment before being persuaded by Condoleezza Rice and George W Bush. He had been working in this position when he was killed in the Canal Hotel bombing.
He was mentioned in some circles as a suitable candidate for UN Secretary General. His death was widely mourned, largely on account of his reputation for effective work to promote peace.
I never heard of “Sérgio”, until the other day when I read about Samantha Power’s recent book Chasing the Flame.
Many Other Stories of Heroes and Sheroes Here
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