Roger Lipsey to speak on Hammarskjöld’s legacy at UN

by Shaun Manning on April 9, 2013

Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary General of the United Nations, will be honored with a symposium Wednesday at the UN to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of his taking office. Roger Lipsey, author of the highly-praised biography Hammarskjöld: A Life, will speak at the event and take part in a panel discussion.

Serving as Secretary General from 1953 until his death in plane crash while en route to negotiate a ceasefire in the Congo Crisis, Hammarskjöld made efforts to improve ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors, journeyed to China to negotiate the release of captured American pilots, and helped to diffuse the Suez Crisis. His use of UN forces in the Congo to keep the peace in the newly-independent nation against secessionist armies earned him the ire of the Soviet Union, which demanded his removal from office. Hammarskjöld’s plane crash over Northern Rhodesia (in what is now Zambia) was officially ruled an accident due to pilot error, but questions remain about the circumstances of his death and several assassination theories persist to this day.

Known and celebrated in life as a superbly effective statesman, Lipsey notes in his foreword that Hammarskjöld’s posthumously published journals “revealed a person whom scarcely anyone had known: a religious seeker taking his lead from Albert Schweitzer for ethics and from medieval Christian mystics for the conduct and direction of life.” “He was a sufferer, a doubter, a discoverer; a man who had encountered transcendent warmth and solace at the edge of experience; an incisive, troubled, prayerful mind and heart at work on the deepest issues facing human beings.”

Though Wednesday’s event is closed to the public, you can read all about the man in Roger Lipsey’s Hammarskjöld.

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