France honours late JeanSelim Kanaan killed in bombing of UN in Baghdad

Mr. Kanaan, a national of Egypt and France, was killed along with 21 others in the terrorist attack on the UN’s headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August last year. At the time, he was working as a project officer in the Office of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who also lost his life in the bombing.Mr. Kanaan had previously served as a civil affairs officer for the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and authored a book entitled My War against Indifference.France’s Permanent Representative to the UN Office in Geneva, Bernard Kessedjian, awarded the “Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur” at a private ceremony this afternoon in Geneva.In a message delivered by Iqbal Riza, his Chief of Staff, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said France was honouring Mr. Kanaan’s “tireless efforts” on behalf of the vulnerable.The Secretary-General paid tribute to the late staffer’s intelligence, energy, devotion, honesty, generosity and courage. His mastery of seven languages and openness to others made him a “true citizen of the world,” Mr. Annan added.”We treasure in him the memory of a man who fought to the end to make our world better,” the Secretary-General observed, adding that Mr. Kanaan’s example “will continue to inspire us.”

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