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In Memoriam -
In remembrance of those members of the UN Family who lost their lives
in the earthquake in Haiti, 12 January 2010

Mr. Guido Galli, 1967 - 2010

Senior Political Affairs Officer (Italy)

Mr. Guido Galli

Guido Galli, a national of Italy, was a Senior Political Affairs Officer for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Guido received a degree in Political Science and International Affairs from Florence University in 1991 and a Master’s degree in Post-war Recovery Studies from York University in 2001.

He began his UN career with the UN Verification Mission in Guatemala in 1994. Throughout his time with the Organization, he served in some of the most challenging UN duty stations, including Kabul, Afghanistan and Haiti. As a colleague put it, “Guido was someone who saw how complicated our world is and believed that it was possible to make it better.”

From 2002 to 2003 Guido served with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). According to a colleague, “Guido understood that improving lives required going out into the field and talking to ordinary people.”

Another friend said, “Guido not only touched the lives of Afghans but he was committed to bringing change through his human rights work. He fought for their rights and gave them a voice during a difficult time in the history of Afghanistan. He was as resilient as the Afghan people [...] and his name remains in their hearts and minds.”

After a break of several years from the Organization, he rejoined in 2007 to serve as a Humanitarian Affairs Advisor in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at UN Headquarters in New York, where until July 2008 he was assigned as a Senior Political Affairs Officer for MINUSTAH.

After growing up in Tuscany and studying the classics, it is no surprise that Guido had a thirst for knowledge about other cultures and a natural facility for languages, and “could cross borders effortlessly.” He could freely converse in Italian, his mother tongue, but also in French, Spanish and English. In every country where he lived he learned the greetings and he had a working knowledge of Dari, Portuguese, Swedish, Haitian Creole and Quiche, a Mayan dialect spoken in the western highlands of Guatemala.

Those who knew Guido remembered his boundless energy and passion for life, so much so that his nickname was “Mr. Fantastico.” He enjoyed talking, arguing, dancing, laughing and singing, and encouraged his colleagues to serve in some of the poorest and most challenging regions of the world.

Guido will also be remembered for his dedication and commitment to the poorest of the poor. A colleague observed that “everyone who worked with Guido knew him as a wonderful and caring colleague, hard-working, openminded and sparkling with new ideas, but also always willing to help and support the people he worked with.”

One friend recalled that Guido had a “wonderful way of transforming travel inconveniences into mini-adventures” and described a binder that he carried with him in his backpack, complete with a hole puncher and pencil sharpener. Guido “meticulously kept everything he needed in this hyper-organized portable office.”

Apart from his UN service, Guido held positions in Italy’s National Service, with non-governmental organizations in Guatemala, Mexico, Spain and Sweden. He also served as an elections observer in Guatemala.

He is survived by his parents Eldia and Gianpaolo, his sister Francesca and her husband Francesco, his nephew Ricardo and his niece Matilde as well as by his long-time partner, Felipe Camargo.