Chasing the Flame
Samantha Power, former United Nations Ambassador and author of The Education of an Idealist, chronicles the life of Sergio Vieira de Mello, a 30-year veteran of United Nations humanitarian and peacekeeping operations across the globe. In September 2002, Vieira de Mello was appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Less than a year later, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked Vieira de Mello to take a temporary leave of absence to serve in Iraq as Annan’s Special Representative there. His mission in Iraq was to be a short-term four-month assignment, so important was the global fight for human rights and the urgency of his return to his post as High Commissioner. Just three months after he arrived in Iraq, Vieira de Mello and 22 colleagues were killed in an attack at the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad orchestrated by al-Qaida. He was posthumously awarded a United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 2003.