Erskine Barton Childers devoted his career as an international civil servant and his too short life thereafter to the tireless promotion of ideals and visions that both acknowledged and were animated by the spirit of Dag Hammarskjöld. His writings testify to his convictions and commitments, and thereby translate the legacy of the second Secretary-General of the United Nations into political discourse and practice in our times. Like Hammarskjöld, he relentlessly promoted the ideal of and belief in the relevance of a truly united family of nations. So do all of those, who have provided their reflections on the selected texts by Childers in this publication. Their statements are striking evidence of the continuing relevance of the positions taken by Childers, who was a friend to all of them.
Erskine Childers’s thought-provoking and pioneering ideas on reform of the UN system were also published earlier on in the very same Development Dialogue series. The current volume, presented 15 years after the death of Childers as a kind of comprehensive homage, keeps alive not only his thoughts in their relevance for today, but also the spirit of Hammarskjöld, whose untimely death occurred half a century ago this year.
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