Al-Ahram Establishment Chairman Ahmed El-Sayed Al-Naggar (center) chaired the Memorial Service for former United Nations secretary-general and Egyptian diplomat Boutrous Ghaly on Monday 7 March 2016 (Photo: Yasser Seddiq)
The Al-Ahram Establishment held a memorial service on Monday for late United Nations secretary-general and Egyptian diplomat Boutrous Boutrous Ghaly.
Ghali died at 93 on 16 February in a Cairo hospital after being admitted with a broken pelvis.
By all accounts, Ghali was a distinguished and unique diplomat who devoutly served his country, which was the sentiment given by scores of people who gathered at the memorial service at Heikal's Hall in Al-Ahram's main building downtown.
During the service, a video was played showing scenes from the life of the departed.
A few days after his death, Egypt held a military funeral for Ghali and an Orthodox funeral mass was held and headed by Pope Tawdros II, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church.
Chairman of the board of Al-Ahram Establishment, Ahmed El-Sayed El-Naggar hailed Ghali as “a highly-distinguished scholar and a mentor who truthfully taught his students the real values of academic and political research," adding that he was more than one of the world’s greatest diplomats.
“He was a great and veteran academic who contributed in leading and establishing two of Al-Ahram's prestigious magazines; Al-Siyasa Al-Dawliya (International Politics) and Al-Ahram Al-Ektesady (Al-Ahram Economic review).”
Dozens of Egyptian officials, politicians, writers and relatives of the deceased attended the memorial.
Former minister of trade and industry Mounir Fakhry Abdel-Nour represented the Gahli's family and thanked Al-Ahram for organising the event, adding that Ghali was a man of action and “a courageous diplomat and a man of law."
Ghali served in the UN’s top office from 1992 to 1996 as the first African and Arab secretary-general.
Ghali came from a family with a long diplomatic history. His grandfather, the late Boutrous Ghaly, occupied the positions of Egyptian finance minister, foreign affairs minister and finally prime minister from 1908 until his assassination in 1910.
Ghali followed in his grandfather’s footsteps in his diplomatic career, serving as minister of state for foreign affairs from 1977 until 1991.
He was also a member of Egypt's parliament in 1987 and part of the secretariat of the National Democratic Party from 1980.
From 2003 to 2012, Ghali was the director of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights.
Aside from his political and diplomatic career, Ghali is known as a prominent writer with over six books, mostly on international politics and the peace process in the Middle East.
His book ‘Egypt's Book to Jerusalem’ is considered one of the most important books detailing the Camp David talks between Egypt and Israel, with details previously unknown to the public.
Abdel-Nour also said that he was a highly-skilled negotiator who played a remarkably vital role in accomplishing the peace treaty with Israel in 1979.
Amr Moussa, former Arab League secretary-general also attended the service, hailing Ghali as a "firm negotiator" who led Egyptian diplomacy at a difficult time.
Moussa said that "Egypt lost a unique and great nationalist man who was proud of being Egyptian."
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid has also praised Ghali as the "the great man whom Egypt is proud of."
Abu Zeid added that the late veteran diplomat played a pivotal role in shaping Egyptian foreign policy, especially in "cementing ties with African and Latin American countries."