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IAEA Member States, Staff Pay Tribute to Late Director General Yukiya Amano

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At a memorial service held at IAEA headquarters in Vienna today in the presence of Mrs. Yukika Amano, dignitaries, diplomats and colleagues paid tribute to late Director General Yukiya Amano, who passed away last month. Attendees included Heinz Fischer, former president of Austria and Satoshi Suzuki, Japan’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Amano, who died at the age of 72, was first appointed Director General of the IAEA in 2009. Previously, he served as Japan’s Resident Representative to the IAEA and was Chair of the Agency’s Board of Governors in 2005-2006.

The ceremony began with one minute of silence and a short video on the achievements of Mr Amano as Director General of the IAEA (see above).

The IAEA mourns the loss of a great leader, said Cornel Feruta, Acting Director General of the IAEA, who has worked as Chief Coordinator in the Director General’s Office for Coordination since 2013. He spoke of the late Director General’s integrity, judgement and analytical mind and singled out three of his achievements: his leadership in leading international response in the aftermath of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the modernization of the IAEA’s nuclear applications laboratories near Vienna and the increased international confidence in the credibility and impartiality of IAEA nuclear safeguards achieved during his tenure.

“The IAEA will honour his legacy in the way he would have wished – by remaining an organization of excellence that contributes in a very concrete way to international peace and security, and to the well-being and prosperity of the world,” Feruta said.

A memorial ceremony paying tribute to late Director General Yukiya Amano was held in Vienna on 21 August 2019. (Photo: K. Nikolic/IAEA)

Leena Al-Hadid, Chair of the IAEA’s Board of Governors and Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Vienna, spoke of Mr Amano’s commitment to advance the use of nuclear technology for development. “He firmly believed that the benefits of nuclear power should not be limited to developed countries,” she said. “Director General Amano changed the motto of the Agency to Atoms for Peace and Development to better reflect the contribution of the IAEA in assisting countries in the peaceful use of nuclear technology for their development. This motto will always remind us of him.”

She spoke of Mr. Amano’s major achievements in nuclear safeguards, safety and nuclear security, underlining the role of the late Director General in raising awareness about the importance of nuclear security and facilitating the development of legal instruments to strengthen nuclear security around the globe.

She recalled the special Board meeting held on 25 July. “At the special Board meeting last month, Member States were united in paying tribute to his great diplomatic skill, his professionalism, his determination to deliver the best possible service to Member States – and his personal warmth and charm.”

Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke of the role Mr Amano played in the negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, an agreement signed in 2015 between world powers and Iran. “Austria mourns the loss of a dear friend and will remember Director General Yukiya Amano as an outstanding person,” he said.

Yury Fedotov, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, highlighted Mr Amano’s contribution to world peace. “In leading the International Atomic Energy Agency, Director-General Amano did his duty with exemplary determination,” he said. “We will remember him for his service and his dedication to strengthening international cooperation so that peace could prevail.”

Mitsuru Kitano, Permanent Representative of Japan to the International Organizations in Vienna, addressed Mr Amano in his statement. “You were truly a visionary leader; you provided a vision and put it into practice,” he said. “You have worked to make nuclear technology accessible to people around the world. This has changed the life of many.”

He praised Mr Amano’s skills as a diplomat and consensus builder. “During your tenure, cooperation replaced confrontation and governments with different views worked together.”

President of the IAEA Staff Council Imed Zabaar underlined Mr Amano’s strive for quality. “If something had to be done, it had to be done right - and to the best of one's ability,” he said, adding that a respectful work environment was a key legacy of the late Director General. “Many of us can bear testimony to the culture of dialogue and respect that he promoted throughout the Agency. He was our staunchest advocate.”

IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta handing a replica of the IAEA's emblem to Mrs. Yukika Amano during a memorial ceremony honouring her husband, late Director General Yukiya Amano. (Photo: K. Nikolic/IAEA)

At the end of the ceremony, in recognition of the late Mr Amano’s public service, Mr Feruta presented Mrs Amano with a replica of the emblem of the IAEA – the original of which decorates the office of the Director General.

To watch a recording of the ceremony, click here.

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