It is with great sadness that Crisis Group has learned of our loss of Ambassador Wu Jianmin, the noted Chinese diplomat and a valued member of the Crisis Group Board of Trustees. He died in a car accident on 18 June.

Ambassador Wu, once a translator for Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, had a long and distinguished career with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He served in China’s first delegation to the UN between 1971 and 1977 and rose to become ambassador to France, the Netherlands and the United Nations in Geneva. More recently, he joined the Crisis Group board in 2012 and was the Executive Vice Chairman of the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.

“Ambassador Wu was a good friend, both to Crisis Group and personally,” said International Crisis Group President & CEO Jean-Marie Guéhenno. “A fluent francophone, he was a brave voice of moderation in an increasingly strident world, and his passing at a time when global tensions are again growing is a particularly cruel blow”.

Ambassador Wu was an example of the best traditions of diplomacy. He combined stalwart support of China’s national interests with a deep understanding of a multiplicity of other cultures, and believed to his core that with the collaboration of men and women of good will, almost no disputes were irreconcilable.

After his retirement, Ambassador Wu became head of the influential Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, and during his 5-year term significantly promoted the school as the cradle of diplomats in China. He served as an ardent advocate of peace at domestic and international forums, speaking out against confrontational approaches and urging openness and cooperation between nations.

“Peace and development are the main themes of our time.... The rule of this positive-sum game is to promote cooperation and win-win,” he said during his most recent public appearance on 6 June. “The nature of populism is against reform, and the nature of nationalism is against opening up”.

Our thoughts are with Ambassador Wu’s wife, herself a distinguished diplomat, and the rest of his family at this difficult time. Crisis Group will continue to honour his memory by working to find negotiated solutions to conflicts around the world.

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