Lisa Mbele-Mbong, 1971 - 2010
Human Rights Officer (USA)
Lisa Mbele-Mbong, a national of the United States originally from Cameroon, joined the UN in 2002 as a Human Rights Officer in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Her passion for human rights brought her to Haiti in 2005 where for the past three years she was the Team Leader for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) Policy and Planning Unit.
Lisa was a typical “UN child.” Her father worked for the World Meteorological Organization and her mother for the World Health Organization. She grew up in Cameroon, lived in Burundi and later moved to Europe for high school. She then went on to study in the United States at Smith College in Massachusetts.
After graduation, Lisa began her career in Washington D.C. with the National Democratic Institute when she made her first trip to Haiti organizing elections. Because her parents lived in Geneva, Lisa often visited the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and spoke to colleagues about Haiti.
Colleagues and friends speak fondly of her “sharp intellect and curious mind,” her strength of spirit and her conviction in her beliefs. A colleague who worked with Lisa in the DRC remembered when she volunteered to go to Eastern Congo, living in difficult conditions for two months. Lisa had much to do with the positive outcome of the mission, she said.
A former colleague said, “Lisa was a very dedicated person, always ready to go the extra mile.”
Another colleague recalled that “Lisa was a passionate, brave and thoughtful woman dedicated to human rights and social justice. She had a skeptical, inquiring mind and a joyous laugh; she never hesitated to challenge conventional wisdom about Haiti, human rights or any of the other many issues that engaged her. She was also beautiful and fun.”
Lisa was buried in Geneva.
Lisa is survived by her 10-year-old son Nady, her parents Samuel and Helena, and her sister Leontyne.