Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sergio Vieira de Mello - Humanitarian & Peacekeeper

Sergio Vieira de Mello was an educated, young man from Brazil when he began working for the United Nations. Throughout his 34-year career, he used his heart, acute intelligence and multilingual abilities (he spoke 7 languages) to risk his life to bring peace, stability, humanitarian aid, and democracy to millions of people and many nations. He worked tirelessly and diplomatically to bring displaced people back into their own countries. He was the quintessential diplomat and humanitarian who consistently worked for the betterment of all of humanity.

It is my hope that many people watch "En Route to Baghdad" and the most recent Sundance 2009 Film Festival Award Winning HBO documentary film "Sergio" and learn both about and from his life. So many people around the world are still alive and are living better lives because of this one man. On 19 August 2003, when he was killed by a car bomb in Iraq, the world lost an intelligent, talented man who also happened to be one of the best and most effective humanitarians who ever lived. As his mother Gilda Santos Vieira de Mello said, "There needs to be more love in this world."

I believe it is up to us all to continue his work, even if it is with the simple idea of bringing the humanitarian aid of peace, love and reconciliation into our own lives and homes, beginning with ourselves. Then, when we and our families go out into the world, we will treat each other with dignity, respect, humanity and love.

To learn more about Sergio Vieira de Mello, read 2003 Pulitzer Prize Winner Samantha Powers' biography, "Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World," watch her book talk at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnYLdH-YEdM, and watch her TEDx Talk at the following link: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/395.

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