Press Releases

    SG/SM/9352
                                                                                                                     ICEF/1864
                                                                                                                     9 June 2004

    Secretary-General, in Message to Memorial Service for Sir Peter Ustinov, Gives Thanks for Life of Remarkable World Citizen, Steadfast UN Friend

    NEW YORK, 8 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following is Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message for the Memorial Service for Sir Peter Ustinov, delivered by Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), in New York, 7 June:

    Words almost invariably fail to do justice to Sir Peter Ustinov’s innumerable talents and achievements. Especially since we know that however eloquent we may try to be, it is certain that he, without trying, would have been far more eloquent.

    For me, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Sir Peter also presented another challenge. Some years ago, in a BBC radio programme, he applied for my job. His qualifications were simply unbeatable. His exceptional wit, intelligence and creativity were fully matched by his compassion, conscience and character. He spoke French, German, English, Italian, Russian, Spanish, and even some Turkish and Greek. Even the languages he did not actually speak, he could imitate so well that it sounded as if he did. He would not only have made a first-rate Secretary-General; he could easily have doubled as permanent representative of all the Member States. Indeed, in one of his more memorable television sketches, he did just that.

    How fortunate we were, then -– as were the world's children -– that Sir Peter served UNICEF as a Goodwill Ambassador for more than 30 indefatigable years. Throughout his life, he made brilliant use of the arts to build bridges of friendship between peoples and cultures. That is why, today, I join Sir Peter’s millions of admirers around the globe in giving thanks for the life of this incurable optimist, remarkable world citizen, and steadfast friend of the United Nations. I would add that I hope many will be inspired to follow his example, but I know that no one ever could.

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