Fifty-nine years have now passed since Dag Hammarskjöld and the 15 persons accompanying him died in a plane crash in Ndola, Zambia. This week, several events commemorated his life and legacy.
Today, in light of restrictions due to COVID-19, the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation hosted a simple commemorative ceremony at Hammarskjöld’s final resting place in Uppsala, Sweden.
Henrik Hammargren, Executive Director of the Foundation, gave brief remarks on Hammarskjöld’s work, and lay a wreath at his grave to pay respects.
Earlier this week, on 16 September, as part of a wreath-laying ceremony outside the UN headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN Ambassador Anna-Karin Eneström commemorated Dag Hammarskjöld’s life and paid tribute to his accomplishments.
In his speech, the Secretary-General said:
As we mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, we must note again Hammarskjöld’s central role in shaping the UN into a peacemaking and peacekeeping organization. And just as he himself exuded personality, humility, so did he stress that the Organization, while also not perfect, nonetheless embodied a fierce commitment to advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights.
—UN Secretary-General António Guterres
Ambassador Eneström reflected on the need for renewed commitments to multilateralism in the spirit of Hammarskjöld in the face of current challenges:
Dag Hammarskjöld was a true statesman, and a true civil servant . . . we must use the UN 75th anniversary to honour Dag Hammarskjöld’s legacy by strengthening our support to multilateral cooperation with the UN at its core.
—Ambassador Anna-Karin Eneström
Finally, on Thursday 17 September, the UN Information Centre Lusaka, the Swedish Embassy in Zambia and the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (Copperbelt University) held a virtual Dag Hammarskjöld commemoration.
The event featured a discussion between the UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, and the Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia, Anna Maj Hultgård, on the role of youth in peace and security in the context of the UN’s 75th anniversary.
Dag Hammarskjöld was the second Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving with courage and integrity from 1953 until his tragic death in 1961.
A compromise candidate, he defied expectations during his tenure as Secretary-General and became known as an intrepid and dedicated international civil servant.
We at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation are honoured to continue working in his legacy.