Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chasing the Flame

Today would have been Sergio Vieira de Mello's 60th birthday. I just finished reading Samantha Power's biography, Chasing the Flame, last week. It makes me feel hopeful about the future - despite his tragic death, Mr. Vieira de Mello managed to leave the world a better place for his contributions. Now all I want to know is how I can go do the same, I suppose.

As a side note, it was an interesting book to carry around at work: I met a man who had been one of SVDM's bodyguards in East Timor, a doctor who once sat next to him on a UN flight, and found at least one familiar name in the list of those interviewed. I have a much better sense of institutional memory for having read it...not to imply that everyone else shouldn't read it also. For all its inside-the-UN stories, the book isn't limited by them. Power addresses the challenges and triumphs of the international community in humanitarian and political crises - good reading for anyone interested in helping to address all the problems left in the world.

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