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Andrew James Joseph

In appreciation of his contribution to his country, the expatriate Sri Lankan community around the world and his alma-mater, St. Joseph's College, Colombo, a memorial service for Andrew James Joseph former Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP New York USA, will be held on Friday May 31, 2002 at the Chapel of St. Joseph's College, Colombo at 6 p.m.

It is organised by the Old Boy's Union of St. Joseph's College with the co-operation of friends of Andrew Joseph in the US.

A condolence book will be available at the chapel for attendees to sign.

Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan in his message for the memorial service for Andrew James Joseph states:

'We meet today to remember and honour an international civil servant who could himself be called an institution.

'Andrew James Joseph - "AJJ", as many of us knew him - had a formative influence on the United Nations. As if that were not enough, he also changed the lives of those around him, and helped them see the future in a hopeful light.

'Andrew served the United Nations with devotion and distinction from 1958 until his retirement in 1990. Most of us - myself included - would come up short were we to try summarise, in one sitting, his myriad achievements and extraordinary traits as a leader. But one milestone comes easily to mind. In 1979, when many other international organisations left Afghanistan, he insisted on remaining in Kabul, thus demonstrating not only his courage, but also what many of his peers remember as his most extraordinary gift, his shrewd political foresight.

'Those of us who had the good fortune to work with Andrew also remember his great intellect, and a gentleman of integrity and honesty. These gifts were not limited to the workplace. I don't think Andrew would object if I were to stress that, in addition to this achievements as a civil servant, Andrew was also a family man par excellence.

'To Sue, Ravindra, Nilufer, Peter, Ann and Andrew's six grandchildren, the past few weeks will have been a time of great sadness. But it is my hope that this day will not pass without due recognition of Andrew's multi-sided legacy. Indeed, while we are gathered here on an occasion of mourning, we cannot but also feel a sense of admiration as we remember his life. Such is the passing of a truly great man that death conjures not only sorrow but a sense of pride among all those who had the benefit to share in his legacy. It is in this light that all of us can be proud - that we had the privilege to learn from such a talented leader, and that we could come to know, and be inspired by, an extraordinary human being.

Administrator, United Nations Development Program, Mark Malloch Brown states:

'Andrew James Joseph, died on March 23, 2002 after a brief illness. He was 78 years.

'Andrew Joseph, or 'AJJ' as he was known to legions of staff in the Organisation who had served with him in his beloved Asia Bureau, joined the United Nations System in 1958, after a distinguished ten years in the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS), holding various senior positions in the Ministries of Finance, Health, and Food and Agriculture. In 1959 he was appointed to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and served both at WHO headquarters and in WHO's Regional Office in Alexandria, Egypt.

'Andrew Joseph joined the United Nations Technical Assistance Board, UNDP's precursor organisation, in 1963.

'In 1989, Administrator William H. Draper III appointed him as Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of UNDP, where he served until his retirement the following year in 1990.

Indefatigable and dedicated in his service to the UN system, Andrew Joseph accepted the request of the then Director-General of WHO to return to serve his old agency as Director of the WHO Office to the United Nations in New York in 1992, retiring for a second and final time in 1998.

'In a UN career spanning nearly four decades, Andrew Joseph epitomised the very best traditions of the international civil service. He left a legacy of excellence, fairness and decency reflected in part by the many "graduates of the AJJ school" who continue to serve in the system, including several at senior most echelons. Always sartorially elegant and eloquent in expression while possessed of a near puckish sense of humour, few can lay claim like Andrew Joseph to have been so widely respected and loved while garnering such fierce loyalty from the many colleagues who came to work with him in the course of his long and varied career, states Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator United Nations Development Programme.