Remarks at the Unveiling of a Sculpture Gifted to the United Nations by the United States and Sweden in Memory of Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp

Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
August 3, 2022


Thank you very much. Thank you, Secretary-General Guterres for your remarks. Thank you, Foreign Minister Linde, for Sweden’s close partnership in the donation of this sculpture. Thank you to the artist, Thommy Bremberg, for creating this piece in honor of Michael Sharp and Zaida Catalán.

And that is why we are here today: To honor the legacy of Michael and Zaida. They exemplified compassion and courage, and a commitment to the ideals of the United Nations.

Michael and Zaida were killed in pursuit of peace and justice in the DRC. They sacrificed their lives for a region and people they grew to love. Michael was deeply committed to his work. He came to eastern DRC as a service worker with the Mennonite Central Committee in 2012, and after three years focused on peace and reconciliation, the UN asked him to join the DRC Group of Experts. I understand he was on his last mission, just weeks shy of returning home.

This sculpture honors the life and sacrifice made by Michael and Zaida, as well as all UN experts who advance the cause of human rights, including for the world’s most vulnerable.

To the families of Michael and Zaida, I want to extend the United States’ utmost appreciation for your sacrifice. All of us here today will honor their legacy by continuing to advocate tirelessly in support of the work to which they were committed.

We will now hear from the artist Thommy Bremberg in a pre-recorded video.

Thank you.