20 January 2017

Dame Margaret Anstee, the first female UN under-secretary general, who died last year after a long and distinguished career as a diplomat, was remembered this week at Chatham House.


Dame Margaret Anstee was a diplomat whose postings as UN representative included in Colombia, Uruguay and Argentina, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Morocco and Chile. She was also special representative of the secretary-general to Angola (1992-93) and, when Chatham House launched its British Angola Forum in 1998 Dame Margaret served on its board until 2009.

Her involvement with the institute’s work on Angola included most recently a Chatham House conference on Angola in 2015 where she sent a video message to delegates. In a separate interview, recorded at the same time, she reflected on the UN on its 70th anniversary and discussed its successes and failures and her optimism for its future.

On 17 January 2017 a memorial service was held at St James’s Church and a message from José Eduardo dos Santos, Angola’s president, acknowledged Dame Margaret’s courage and the remarkable role she played in Angola’s transition to democracy. A eulogy address was delivered by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, member of Chatham House’s council, and the service was followed by a reception at Chatham House. In an obituary published last year Alex Vines, head of Chatham House’s Africa programme, wrote about the vital role she played in Angola’s recent history.