As we conclude the College’s 20th anniversary celebrations, our hearts are heavy and saddened by the premature passing away of our dear colleague and friend, Robert Ferrara.

In May 2001, the United Nations System Staff College was still a concept, not yet a reality. A small group of fewer than 15 staff was recruited  to carry out the difficult task of making the transition from a project-based to independent UN organization.

Robert joined the small team exactly that month, twenty-one years ago. The Administration department desperately needed to set-up procedures and processes to establish the College an independent entity, as mandated by the General Assembly.

Born in England of Italian parents, Robert had the relevant academic and professional background, and was immediately selected as the most suitable candidate for the Finance Assistant position. To this day, that selection was never regretted. Robert helped build this organization and contributed every day to its success and growth.

More importantly, Robert contributed to making the College a little family of friends, always making us smile with his British humour, mixed with a “Neapolitan” flavour. He was always ready to find a solution to make colleagues’ life easier, as well as provide professional advice to our many, sometimes trivial, procedural questions.

Robert will be dearly missed, not only as an exceptional professional, but mostly as a friend and a special person. Our thoughts go to his beautiful and beloved family in this terrible moment.

Thank you, Bob. You will always be a part of the Staff College and always be in our hearts.