26 July 2011
Secretary-General
SG/SM/13721
PKO/281

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Dinner Honouring Outgoing Peacekeeping Chief, Hails

 

‘Hands-on Manager’ Alain Le Roy’s Vision, Bravery, Exceptional Dedication


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the dinner in honour of Alain Le Roy, Under-secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, hosted by Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, in New York, 25 July:


When Mr. Le Roy told me that he would be leaving, I thought first about the people of Haiti, the people of Sudan, the people of Côte d’Ivoire and the DRC ( Democratic Republic of the Congo).  It is no exaggeration to say that many are alive today because of his efforts.


Then I thought about all of us here in this room.  What will we do without his warmth, his lively mind, his work ethic and willingness to take so many burdens onto those broad shoulders of his?  Yes, he has been a big presence at the United Nations.  We all look up to him, literally.  But we also admire him.


Some say UN peacekeeping is mission impossible.  But Mr. Le Roy has proved them wrong.  We all know how difficult peacekeeping is:  to go where no one else will go; to take on the jobs no one else will do; to operate with limited resources and complex mandates.  All this requires consummate leadership.  It requires extraordinary effort and dedication.  And because the political landscape can be so demanding, it requires diplomatic skills of the highest order.


That Mr. Le Roy succeeded so well testifies to his extraordinary personal and professional qualities.  He has shown vision, bravery and exceptional dedication.  He embodies the very best of UN peacekeeping and UN values — he is a true UN man.  He knows that leadership cannot be exercised from afar, or on high.


Here in New York, he was always available to everyone, regardless of level or rank.  And he spent a great deal of time in the field, on the ground with our troops, police and other personnel.  He was a hands-on crisis manager, wherever and whenever the United Nations needed him.


There were some very tough times during the past three years.  Let us remember the tragedy in Haiti.  Our journey to see the Mission staff, and returning with the remains of Hédi Annabi and Luiz da Costa, is etched on my memory.  Mr. Le Roy’s leadership through those days, along with that of Mr. [ Edmond] Mulet, was a model of what the United Nations can and should be.


There were also great achievements on his watch — the democratic triumph in Côte d’Ivoire, the referendum in Sudan and, two weeks ago, the entry of South Sudan as a Member State.  These were both dangerous passages, and Mr. Le Roy was instrumental in negotiating them successfully.  And thanks to his efforts, the New Horizons initiative is bringing real results.


Lastly, and more personally, let me say that I feel a real kinship.  I am known for my work ethic and for rarely taking a holiday.  In Alain Le Roy, I think I have met my match.


And he is tough — a true champion of the United Nations, unafraid to fight.  I remember the many times he appeared in the Security Council and General Assembly, and answered tough questions on my behalf, or came to my defence on this or that issue.  At times I have thought of you as my own personal peacekeeper — and I thank you for it.


Mr. Le Roy, I know I speak for everyone in this room in thanking you for your devotion to excellence and to duty.  We also thank you and your family for the personal sacrifices you have made for the United Nations.  I am sure that your wife Anne, as well as your children Laeticia, Raphaella, Victor and Paul, your youngest, will be overjoyed to see more of you.


As for me, I am filled with sadness.  All too soon, when a meeting starts and I see an empty chair where you are meant to be, I will have to face the fact that you will be sitting somewhere else entirely.


And yet, I am sure this will not be the end of your journey with the United Nations.  And so we all look forward to your continued association with us, in one way or another.


Mr. Le Roy, we wish you all the best as you choose from among the many opportunities that are sure to come your way.  We will do our best to build on the legacy you leave behind.


With friendship and best wishes, we bid you farewell and Godspeed.


Let us all now raise a glass in your honour.


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For information media • not an official record