This Thursday, Sergio premieres on HBO.
(Soundtrack by Philip Sheppard)
From his birth in Rio de Janeiro in 1948 to his untimely and tragic death in Baghdad in 2003, Sergio Vieira de Mello led an extraordinary life.
Vieira de Mello joined the United Nations in 1969 and would devote his life to the organization and its ideals. Known to most as simply ‘Sergio’, Vieira de Mello worked in some of the world’s most volatile and distressed regions. His career spanned assignments in Lebanon, Peru, Bosnia, Sudan, Cambodia, Cyprus, Mozambique, East Timor and Iraq. Working mostly for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sergio achieved some astonishing successes. These achievements were not easily won. Sergio grew up with the UN, developing several guiding principles along the way.
When Sergio died he was serving as the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General to Iraq. He had managed to find a balance between pragmatism and idealism, principles and compromise. He was the UN’s ‘go to guy’, having spent decades refining his approach. In the words of his friend and colleague Dennis McNamara, Sergio was, “one of the bright stars, maybe the brightest. He was the master magician, mediator, manager, massager of egos.” This was the tragedy of August 19.