UNICEF 'senior statesman' dies at 90

4 August 2005

A 32-year veteran of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), E.J.R. "Dick" Heyward, has died in Long Island, New York, after a long illness, the agency said today. He was 90.

The former Australian diplomat at the UN joined UNICEF in April 1949 as Deputy Executive Director in charge of Operations and rose to become Senior Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, with the rank of UN Assistant Secretary General in 1975. He served in that position until 1981.

"Dick Heyward was truly one of the giants of UNICEF's history," UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said today. "He was a man of extraordinary dedication and drive and he had a profound influence on UNICEF. His legacy lives on in UNICEF today."

With his career spanning the tenure of UNICEF's first three executive directors, Mr. Heyward made a great and sustained contribution to the well-being of the world's children. Among his numerous influential theories were that services to children are most effectively used when synchronized with services benefiting families and communities and that policies and programmes to benefit children are most effective as part of the national development effort.

An unassuming man of unchallenged intellectual leadership, Mr. Heyward worked tirelessly to fulfil UNICEF's mandate to improve the lot of the world's children. He was known as someone who talked little but spoke volumes.

He was born on his family's apple farm in Tasmania, Australia, on September 22, 1914, and was educated in Tasmania and at the London School of Economics.

After retiring, Mr. Heyward undertook many missions to Africa for UNICEF, the UN World Health Organization (WHO), and The World Bank. Until he suffered a stroke in 1997, he travelled to Africa several times a year. He showed a keen interest in UNICEF's activities right up to the time of his death.

He is survived by his wife Elisabeth, once an interpreter at the United Nations; his sons Andrew, president of CBS News in New York, and Peter, a lawyer at Venable LLP in Washington, D.C., and seven grandchildren.


♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.