Interview with Ramses Nassif by Jean Krasno
Ramses Nassif (Egypt, 1921 - ) joined the United Nations in 1953 as a press officer in charge of promoting United Nations publications and in 1955 for the Bandung conference in Indonesia, which was the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. He met U Thant as an ambassador of Burma to the United Nations in 1957. When U Thant was officially elected as acting Secretary‑General after Dag Hammarskjöld's sudden death, Mr. Nassif was tapped to become U Thant's "press officer," a position that would be known as the Official Spokesperson for the Secretary-General. He served at that capacity until U Thant's retirement in 1971. Subsequently, he moved to Geneva, where he held the post of Director of Information.
As the first Spokesperson for the Secretary‑General, Mr. Nassif helped to establish many of the protocols that are employed by the Office of the Secretary‑General today to keep an ongoing relationship with the press, including the Daily Press Briefings. Mr. Nassif, retired at the time of these interviews, discusses these experiences and reflects on U Thant's term as Secretary‑General. The first interview, conducted on 9 March 1998, focuses on U Thant as Secretary‑General — from his election to the many crises he faced during his term. In the second interview, conducted on 15 April 2005, Mr. Nassif centres his discussion on U Thant's relationship with the press and media.
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