Dag Hammarskjöld served as Secretary-General of the UN with the utmost courage and integrity from 1953 till his death in 1961, creating standards against which his successors continue to be measured.
He stood firmly by the UN Charter and lost his life in pursuit of dialogue and peace; Hammarskjöld died in a plane crash on a mission to mediate in the 1960’s Congo crisis. For his service, he was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Hammarskjöld’s most notable achievements while serving as the world’s top international civil servant include restructuring of the UN to make it more effective, creating the basis for UN peacekeeping operations, and successfully implementing his “preventive diplomacy” in crises from the Middle East to China.
When meeting these international challenges, Hammarskjöld combined great moral force with subtlety and insisted on the independence of his office. In doing so he created a lasting legacy of the role and responsibilities of the international civil servant.