Jerome Yap, 1966 - 2010
Personal Assistant to the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (Philippines)
Jerome Yap, a national of the Philippines, joined the UN in 1989. During his 20-year career he worked for several peacekeeping missions including in Liberia, Kosovo and for the past three years for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
He began his career at the UN in the Messenger Unit of the Department of Management and later became the Personal Assistant to Luiz Carlos da Costa. A long-time friend remembered Jerome’s cheerful, happy, smiling face and said Luiz and Jerome formed a wonderful team always working together in the field and in New York.
The Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Ellen Margrethe Løj, recalled Jerome’s sense of humour and infectious love of life.
A Fine Arts graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines, Jerome joined the UN Singers in 1990 as a soloist and toured with them in Argentina, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. He was described by fellow singers as charismatic, funny, popular, and as having a beautiful tenor voice.
“During a concert in Argentina in 1993, Jerome magnificently led the choir in performing Golondrinas by Carlos Gardel,” causing the Argentinian crowd to go wild and demand an encore, a friend recalled.
A colleague who joined the UN the same day as Jerome said, “From the first day on we kept in touch with each other to remind ourselves of our ‘UN anniversary.’ We only recently celebrated our 20th anniversary.”
A colleague at the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) recalled, “Jerome was an important cheerful part of my little mission family, a wonderful friend.”
Jerome was known for his humour and comedic sense and some might remember a “photo portrait” he took of an octopus salad during a trip in Greece, on a break from Kosovo where he could not get the octopus he craved, or the time he surprised everybody by throwing a Panama hat to the audience during a concert.
Jerome returned to work in MINUSTAH two days before the earthquake, right after his visit to the Philippines. “He was home only recently and went back to Haiti only last Friday,” said Jerome’s mother, a pediatrician in the Philippines.
Jerome is survived by his mother, two brothers and three sisters.