Ms. Alexandra Duguay, 1978 - 2010
Public Information Assistant (Canada)
Alexandra Duguay, a national of Canada, began her career at the UN some 12 years ago. Then only 19 years of age, she started during the General Assembly session and then took on various communications roles within the Department of Public Information before joining the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in 2009.
Known occasionally as “Miss Sunshine” or simply as “Alex,” she served as a warm welcome to all new staff covering the General Assembly. This sunny attitude ensured she remained courteous under stressful situations. One colleague remembered how nicely she approached a newcomer to help evacuate the building on 11 September 2001.
Originally from Québec City, Canada, a colleague described Alexandra as “a perfect example of the type of ambitious, accomplished, multilingual, effortlessly cool young person who is drawn to New York and the UN.”
Alexandra moved to Haiti in June 2009, spurred on by her sense of adventure, eagerness to help, and to join her partner and UN staffer, Marc-André Franche, who survived the earthquake.
“She had been drawn to the UN by her passion for humanitarian affairs that had existed since childhood,” said her mother.
This devotion was evident, as she consistently looked for extra ways to help where she could in Haiti. In December, Alexandra was involved with the work of Sister Flora, who runs an orphanage on the island of Ile à Vaches.
A truly selfless person, Alexandra helped neighborhood children. She designed and decorated colourful new street signs for “Impasse Tulipe” in her neighbourhood in Port-au-Prince, where many street signs are non-existent. Alexandra took the initiative to construct a sign herself.
This notion of injecting the world with colour was natural to Alexandra, said her colleagues and friends who recollected her signature sense of humour, boundless enthusiasm and infectious laugh.
She is perhaps best summed up with the following quote from one colleague, “Alex is the equation between energy and perpetual motion.”
Alexandra ran marathons in New York and in Paris, loved traveling and children, and was fascinated by arts and photography. Her professor at the New York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies described her as his “star student.”
Remembered as someone who made a positive impact on everyone with whom she came in contact, her colleagues said, “The memory of your light will fill the void. The tragedy of your loss reminds us never to take anything for granted.”
Alexandra was buried in Québec City.
Alexandra is survived by her parents, her four sisters, her brother and Marc-André Franche.
UN Radio: Hommage à Alexandra Duguay