Reflections from our leaving Executive Director Henrik Hammargren

As nine years have come to an end, the Foundation’s Executive Director, Henrik Hammargren, left his position in mid-February. Below is Henrik Hammargren’s letter, in which he reflects on his journey within the Foundation, lessons learnt and his call for a continued work in the name of Dag Hammarskjöld.

Farewell and gratitude: Reflecting on nine years at the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation


Dear Friends and Supporters

The time has come to bid farewell to my role as the Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation after nine years of service. As I reflect on this journey that commenced in 2015, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunities, challenges, and growth that have characterised my three terms as Director.

Throughout these years, I have been deeply inspired by the principles and ideals embodied by Dag Hammarskjöld, whose legacy continues to guide our work. It has been a privilege to work honouring his memory and contribute to an organisation dedicated to advancing multilateral cooperation and fostering sustainable peace and development. As I will step into the next phase of my life, which will bring me back to Southeast Asia where my engagement in peacebuilding, human rights, and development once began in the 1980s and 90s in Burma and Cambodia, I carry with me the lessons learned and the friendships forged during the last nine years.

I am profoundly thankful for the unwavering support of the dedicated team at the Foundation – present and past staff members – whose professionalism and commitment have been instrumental in our achievements. Together, we have transformed the Foundation into a dynamic think-and-do-tank, serving the United Nations and its member states with diligence and innovation regarding UN Leadership, Financing and Peacebuilding and the idea of multilateralism.

In the face of unprecedented global challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, armed conflict and poverty, the imperative for collective action has never been greater. Let us harness our abundant resources, knowledge, and technology to forge a more just and sustainable future for all. I am reminded of Hammarskjöld’s profound words: ‘We are not permitted to choose the frame of our destiny, but what we put into it is ours’. May our actions be guided by the principles of solidarity and the spirit of the UN Charter, as we strive to build a world where peace and justice prevail.

In closing, I leave you with another timeless reminder from Hammarskjöld: ‘Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions’. Let us remain steadfast in our pursuit of a better world, drawing strength from our convictions and collective resolve. What can be done, must be done.

With deepest gratitude and warm regards

Henrik Hammargren

Former Executive Director
Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation