Mr. Mamadou Bah, 1965 - 2010
Public Information Officer (France)
Mamadou Bah, a national of France who was born in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, was working as a Public Information Officer for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
Mamadou was sent to France at a young age to attend school, eventually studying law. He worked as an auditor for Arthur Andersen, before becoming a news writer for Jeune Afrique and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
He began his UN career with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in New York and went on to work in the field for the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MON UC) as an Information Officer, becoming the spokesperson for the Mission. He performed these functions with “vivacity, professionalism and efficiency”, said the former Chief of Information at MONUC.
A former colleague recalled, “Sometimes when you come from a field office, people in the Mission headquarters do not really pay attention to you, but Mamadou was always smiling and genuinely interested in others. He soon left for Haiti but would always call to check on me, in particular, after I was posted in a very difficult and isolated duty station. I recall long phone conversations between Port-au-Prince and a little village in the bush in northeastern DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] despite the time difference and poor-quality communications.”
Mamadou called his move to MINUSTAH “a new kind of communication.”
“He had a direct and sincere approach and was perceptive and intelligent,” noted a friend, adding “Mamadou was also charming; he was a snappy dresser with a disarming smile and an impish sense of humour. He was kind, considerate and an absolute gentleman.
“Debating with Mamadou was a source of enlightenment to me. In addition to his broad intellectual background, Mamadou was generous, gentle and humble,” said another, testifying to his human qualities.
His interests and initiatives were numerous. Mamadou contacted Bibliothèques sans frontières (Libraries Without Borders) and started a project to distribute books in MINUSTAH-run jails. The project was set up in a few weeks and quickly expanded.
Mamadou had also been planning another project with friends, “a comprehensive analysis of 50 years of independence of some African countries, including suggestions for prospective development strategies.”
His family was a real priority to him. “I recall his sparkling eyes and wonderful smile when he was talking about his little boy and how proud he was when he was showing pictures of his family,” a colleague said.
Mamadou is survived by his wife Fatima and their son Jafar, 3. They were both in Santo Domingo when the earthquake occurred.