8 September 2016

Secretary-General Pays Tribute to Dame Margaret Anstee, First Woman to Be Appointed in Organization’s Highest Ranks

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message in memory of Dame Margaret Anstee:

I have learned with great sadness of the death of Margaret Anstee, who served the United Nations with dedication and distinction for four decades and was the first woman to be appointed to the highest ranks of the Organization.

Ms. Anstee dedicated herself for many years to working in difficult conditions in developing countries around the world.  At different points in her long career, she was responsible for delivering disaster relief in Bangladesh and in Mexico, helping the children of Chernobyl after the nuclear accident and running peace operations in Angola.

Right until the end of her life, Margaret Anstee called for greater international cooperation and collective action for peace, sustainable development and human rights.  She was a true global citizen whose career is a powerful testament to the power of individuals to make a difference in our world.

Ms. Anstee brought energy, humility, courage and a sense of adventure to everything she did, from negotiating peace with rebels in Nigeria, to spiriting United Nations staff out of Chile in the days following the 1973 coup d'état.

Margaret Anstee had a string of “firsts” to her name.  She was the first woman Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme, the first woman to be appointed Under-Secretary-General and the first woman to lead a United Nations peacekeeping mission when she was appointed to lead the United Nations Angola Verification Mission II (UNAVEM II) in Angola in 1992.

Ms. Anstee was well aware of her role as a pioneer.  She never shied from risk and urged women to test themselves and support each other.  She was an inspiring role model for generations of women diplomats who followed in her footsteps.

For information media. Not an official record.