Ms. Ann Barnes, 1950-2010
Personal Assistant to the Police Commissioner (United Kingdom)
Ann Barnes, a national of the United Kingdom, devoted the last 25 years of her life to the UN. She was most recently serving as Personal Assistant to the Police Commissioner for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Originally from Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, Ann joined the UN in 1984 to work as Personal Assistant to then Under- Secretary-General Brian Urquhart.
During her long career, she had spent close to 17 years in seven peacekeeping missions, and her friends and colleagues who knew her in many parts of the world have fond memories of her.
“She led such an interesting life and she had the courage to go to many places that many other women would never consider going to,” recalled a friend. “She had devoted her life to peace.”
As described by Ann’s friends and colleagues, her cheerful spirit, humour and kindness touched them the most. “I will always remember Ann welcoming me to peacekeeping in 1991. She was so full of life and fun, a great colleague and dedicated peacekeeper,” said a fellow staff member.
“Her friendly smile affected me when she first welcomed me into her office,” said another colleague who was recruited by Ann to work for the UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MON UC). “I can’t believe that I’m missing the fabulous and permanent smile of Ann.”
During her travels, Ann, who spoke English and French fluently, left footprints in Cyprus, Mozambique, Croatia, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and, of course, Haiti.
“She truly enjoyed working in the field,” recalled a colleague. This passion led her to leave her post in New York and to continue her career in the field, according to him.
Besides her most recent position in MINUSTAH, which she took up in 2006, Ann had worked closely with many other senior UN officials. She served as Personal Assistant to the Special Representatives in Haiti from 2004 to 2006, in Sierra Leone from 2000 to 2002, and in the Central African Republic from 1998 to 2000, as well as to the Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Political Affairs from 1995 to 1996.
Her “buoyant and radiant” personality and her professionalism garnered much respect from those who worked with her. “She was always joyful and exuberant in her often demanding and challenging job,” said a colleague.
Ann is survived by her sister Irene Marquet and her partner Bruno Pittiani.