Honoring UN Personnel Who Died in the Haiti Earthquake

A PowerPoint report on those honored | Program (PDF)


New York, USA - The Universal Peace Federation hosted a ‘Legacy of Peace’ program at the United Nations March 18 to honor the lives of Hédi Annabi, the UN Chief of Mission recently killed with 100 other UN personnel in the Haiti earthquake, and seven other prominent individuals associated with UPF who recently passed away and whose lives were dedicated to peace.

UPF Secretary-General Tageldin Hamad calls for a moment of silence

The names of each person were called out one by one, and a representative stepped forward to lay a bouquet of lilies and roses—representing the love and respect of both women and men—in front of a large photograph and ceremonial candle. Highlights of each person’s life and contribution to peace were displayed on large video screens as reflective music played softly, and then the audience of around 160 were called to stand for a moment of silence by Tageldin Hamad, UPF Secretary General.

Ambassador H.E. Jorge Urbina, Permanent Representative of the Costa Rica to the United Nations, spoke movingly on the dedication of his fallen UN colleagues, and also remembered another of the honorees, former Costa Rican President H.E. Rodrigo Carazo Odio.

Noel Brown, President of the Friends of the United Nations, and Rev. Walter Fauntroy, a civil rights activist who worked closely with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave thanks and offered a prayer for those who “loved their mission more than themselves” and gave everything for the sake of peace.

Shortly after the January 12 earthquake UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to the UN personnel who lost their lives when their office building collapsed, mentioning three in particular:

  • Hédi Annabi, a Tunisian national, was a true citizen of the world. The United Nations was his life and he ranked amongst its most dedicated and committed sons. He was passionate about its mission and its people. He gave of himself fully — with energy, discipline and great bravery....
  • Luiz Carlos da Costa, from Brazil, was for many, many years a legend of UN peacekeeping operations. His extraordinary professionalism and dedication were matched only by his charisma and warmth, and his devotion to his many friends....
  • Doug Coates, a Canadian, was a long-serving member of the international law enforcement community. He was a true friend of Haiti and the United Nations. He was a great police officer who believed to his core in the importance of rule of law and justice.
Ambassador Jorge Urbina, Costa Rica Offerings of floral tributes

In a musical appreciation at the Legacy of Peace program on March 18, Ben Lorentzen and Chris Alan Derflinger of the Manhattan-based Lovin’ life Ministries performed moving renditions of the Elvis Presley classic If I Can Dream and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water to the stunning backdrop of the East River flowing behind the UN Headquarters, bathed in the golden evening sun.

Others commemorated during the service included General Alexander Haig, who served in the UN Forces during the Korean War; Nobel Peace Prize winner Kim Dae Jung of South Korea; and former Prime Minister of Iceland, Steingrímur Hermannsson, whose hosting of the 1986 Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signaled the thawing of relationships that would soon end the Cold War. Also recognized were former President Abdurrahman Wahid “Gus Dur” of Indonesia, Muslim scholar Sheikh Hassan Cisse of Senegal, and Laxmi Mall Singvi, the former Indian High Commissioner to London.

Dr. Douglas Joo, President of The Washington Times Foundation, offered a personal reflection on the meaning of the Festival of Ascension and Unity as one of the three great landmarks in every person’s life. “Birth and marriage are always joyful events,” he said, “but regrettably funerals have tended to focus on sorrow and separation rather than celebrating a ‘second birth’ into the eternal world of spirit. Today we start a new and joyful tradition as we honor these most valuable lives.”

Following dinner, Rev. In Jin Moon, Senior Pastor of Lovin’ Life Ministries, introduced her parents, Rev. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon. “I believe that nothing in life is just a coincidence,” she said. “and I hope all of us will take a moment to consider what legacy of peace we can leave for future generations.”

“I am a controversial figure,” the 90-year old Dr. Moon said as he began his keynote address, “and I am well aware that on occasion some people in the United Nations have not understood my work. Yet I have tried to live my whole life with one goal in mind,” he said, “to serve God and humanity.”

The Moon and the Haig families greet each other Urging all to take up the unfinished work of peace

“As I reflect on the lives of all these men and women of peace, I realize that the time is coming closer when I too will make the transition to the next world," Rev. Moon said. “I have therefore come here this evening to declare that, with God, peace on this earth can come quickly, even in the next three years. I implore all of you to join us in that work, so that we can change this world to become one family under God. The United Nations must not give up on its founding purpose to create a world of peace.”

For more information about Legacy of Peace programs, click here.

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