Author Roger Lipsey spoke at the United Nations Institute of International Education on the subject of his recent biography, former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld (pronounced Hammar – shuld). A masterful diplomat, Hammarskjöld led the UN with distinction, and was called “the greatest statesman of our century” by John F. Kennedy, after his death. Like all great men throughout history, Hammarskjöld left behind a legacy—the vacuum after something massive ceases to exist. The inventor of shuttle diplomacy, who first executed the theory of international peacekeeping forces, remains, in his classic journals (published as “Waymarkers”), and in Lipsey’s lauded biography Hammarskjöld: A Life.
Addressing the institute, Lipsey, a former art historian, reconstructed the man and his achievements. At a press conference, smiling. On the cover of TIME magazine. Reviewing the troops during the Suez Crisis. The UN’s Room of Quiet, set aside by Hammarskjöld for quiet meditation. Lipsey presented his audience with a portrait of a very spiritual man, whose commitment to the UN was total, and selfless. “That was his credo,” said Lipsey, “Not what he altogether expected of others, but what he hoped for in others. He was often, in a very understated way, teaching the UN community how he viewed all sorts of matters, and how they might, in turn, also view them.”
In many ways, Hammarskjöld’s dedication allowed the vision of the UN to become more than just a vision. As he said in a speech once, “You must give your all to this dream, for that alone anchors it in reality”
You can listen to the full presentation on CSPAN’s website.