“Every United Nations staff member, no matter where he or she toils, and whether or not he or she realizes it, is working in the shadow of Ralph Bunche, who believed passionately in the need for an independent, international civil service,” Mr. Annan said in a ceremony marking the issuance of a UN stamp in honour of the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his role as mediator in the 1948-49 Israeli-Arab war.”He would be satisfied, I think, to see what we are doing to improve UN peacekeeping and other responses to conflict. Yet he would be deeply dismayed that it has taken so long to take such modest steps, and truly appalled that it took new acts of genocide to set these changes in motion,” he said of the man who as Under-Secretary General for Special Political Affairs until his retirement, and subsequent death, in 1971 played a leading role in UN peacekeeping efforts.Mr. Bunche, who was present at the creation of the UN, one of the co-authors of its Charter and a leading advocate of decolonization, was a patient and meticulous negotiator on the outside, but “inside him burned a blazing urgency and idealism about the many problems facing the human family, especially the oppressed and disposed,” Mr. Annan declared.In “a few memorable words” he encapsulated the UN’s mission in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. The world body exists “not merely to preserve the peace but also to make change – even radical change – possible without violent upheaval. The United Nations has no vested interest in the status quo,” Mr. Annan quoted Mr. Bunche as saying.”We should all strive to recapture that spirit today,” Mr. Annan added. “As we continue Bunche’s efforts to rouse the world from complacency and indifference, we should do as Bunche did, and ask what each one of us can do to build a safer, better world for all people.”Such daily devotion to peace, coexistence and mutual respect would be the best way to celebrate the force of life, the champion of peace, the inspiration that was Ralph Bunche,” he concluded.