Let me first of all say how happy and proud I am to be asked to deliver the prestigious Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture in Uppsala. This is the place where this great son of Sweden grew up and studied and the home of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. It is also the home of the university that honours his memory with a Dag Hammarskjöld chair, for 26 years occupied by Professor Peter Wallensteen. It has been an honour and inspiration for me to have served twice as Visiting Professor in the distinguished Department for Peace and Conflict Research.
Today, exactly 50 years ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjöld, died in a plane crash in Ndola, Zambia. It was a shock to the world. Hammarskjöld was on a mediation mission to the Congo and had, during his eight years as Secretary-General, become a symbol of the pursuit of peace, development and human rights. His death occurred at the height of the Cold War – the shameful Wall was being built in the middle of Europe – and nuclear war was a not so distant nightmare.