The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Commemorating former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld

On the 60th anniversary of his passing, UNOPS Executive Director Grete Faremo joined a panel to honour the second United Nations Secretary-General.

Dag Hammarskjöld, who served as Secretary-General from 1953 to 1961, is remembered for his unwavering dedication to defending and upholding UN values and strengthening international civil service. The event honoured his legacy.

By fighting for the values of integrity, neutrality and independence, there is such an important role for civil servants to play – and to ensure that that is guided by strong leadership, is key.

Grete Faremo - UNOPS Executive Director

Co-organized by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the UN Permanent Missions of Sweden and Tunisia, the event explored means of supporting an international civil service that is equipped to tackle the unprecedented challenges of the 21st century.

The current UN Secretary-General was in attendance and honoured the values Hammarskjöld embodied, the ideals for which he fought, and the strategies he championed.

“[He shaped] our institution into an active force in making and keeping peace. Nurturing and sharpening the UN’s obligation to act — in times of crisis, on the ground, closest to the people we serve,“ said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“[Hammarskjöld] transformed the United Nations from an academic outpost to an operational organization with the power to protect the lives of the most vulnerable people around the world,” said the President of the 75th UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, who will finish his term later this month.

“His legacy lies in the charter of the United Nations. In the ideals instilled in the United Nations family. In the lives saved by our blue helmet UN Peacekeepers,” he added.

Among other distinguished panellists, Ms. Faremo discussed the challenges and opportunities facing international civil service today – and highlighted ways the international community can help address global challenges.

“We need balance. We need to ensure that we strengthen civil service but also ensure that we deliver world class solutions together with partners – including the private sector,” said Ms. Faremo.

Watch a recording of the commemoration event here.

Explore further