Sir Brian Urquhart, one of the foundation members of the United Nations, dies aged 101

Monitoring desk

Sir Brian Urquhart, the British diplomat who played a role in the establishment of the United Nations, has died aged 101.

Urquhart was the second staff member hired by the UN following its founding in 1945 and worked as a principal adviser to five UN secretaries general in his 41-year career.

Urquhart’s son, Thomas, confirmed he died at his home in Tyringham, Massachusetts, on Saturday but did not provide a specific cause, the New York Times reported.

Born in Bridport, Dorset, Urquhart joined the army following the outbreak of the second world war, rising to the rank of major and participated in planning the airborne aspect of Operation Overlord.

After the war he served as a British member of the preparatory commission that established the UN framework.

At the UN he directed 13 peacekeeping operations, recruited 10,000 troops from 23 countries and instituted peacekeeping as one of the core tenets of the organisation.

The UN secretary general, Antonio Gutteres, said: “Sir Brian’s imprint on the United Nations was as profound as that of anyone in the organisation’s history.

“As an aide to secretary general Dag Hammarskjöld he helped to define the UN’s scope of action in addressing armed conflict and other global challenges. And as a close associate of Ralph Bunche, the renowned UN official and Nobel peace prize winner, Sir Brian helped to establish and then propel international peacekeeping into wide-ranging use.”

Urquhart joined the Ford Foundation after he retired and wrote books and frequent commentaries for the New York Review of Books and other publications. His books include a 1987 autobiography, A Life in Peace and War, as well as books on United Nations leaders and operations.

He is survived by his wife, five children, a stepson, 14 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Courtesy: The Guardian