Ms. Haiyan Qian

IMG_7544 Ms. Haiyan Qian, devoted wife, loving mother, and dedicated International Civil Servant for the United Nations, died on the morning of 18 February 2013 at the age of 57 after a heroic battle with cancer.

During the past 33 years, Ms. Qian dedicated her career to global public policy, governance, public administration and development. Since joining the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Ms. Qian has served as Chief Manager of the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN),  Chief of the e-Government Branch (formerly known as Knowledge Management Branch) before becoming the Director of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management (DPADM) on 1 February 2009. Prior to joining UNDESA, Ms. Qian worked for other United Nations agencies, such as the Centre for Science and Technology for Development and UNEP’s Centre on Environmentally Sound Technology in Japan. Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Qian worked for  the Chinese Government in the area of science and technology for development and served in the Chinese Permanent Mission to the United Nations based in New York, covering the United Nations Second Committee on Economic and Social Affairs.

At the United Nations, Ms. Qian has left behind a legacy founded on hard work, dedicated service and loyalty. Ms. Qian was a visionary leader that was admired and respected by all her colleagues and others in the field of public administration around the world.

Ms. Qian received her Bachelor of Arts in Beijing, China and her Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA.

[click here to read this text in Chinese]

[click here to read the thank you letter from Ms. Haiyan Qian’s family]

332 Responses

  1. Sunny Chang
    Sunny Chang
    at · Reply

    It is truly a great loss that Ms. Haiyan Qian passed away. I have only now learned about this sad news in grief and shock.

    Haiyan has not only been an insightful and knwledgeable professional, but also a charismatic yet considerate leader who appreciated the efforts and commitment of her staff and colleagues.

    Although I did not get to meet her in person, it was an honor to have worked with her and to get her words of encouragement and appreciation despite working with her remotely in Seoul.

    Although the time has passed, I would like to express my deepest condolences to her family.

    Thank you Haiyan for your dedicated work and a great leadership.

    Former colleague/ staff at UNPOG, DPADM, UNDESA

  2. YJ Park
    YJ Park
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    When I first heard of her news through a mailing list last month, I was really shocked. Could not respond to this with words….. Now I visit to find her remains in this site and glad I found this dedicated section for her.

    We know each other since 2007 Rio UN IGF meeting… When I first heard she was on medical leave in 2011, I did not know she was fighting cancer.

    Recently, we met again at Baku IGF meeting last year. If I knew it was my last chance to see her, I should have hugged her instead of exchanging our warmy-eye-and-smile-hellos to each other.

    As many people said here, she is a great person, very humble, devoted person for her work and family. We all appreciate her contribution and work at IG space.

  3. Markéta Jelínková
    Markéta Jelínková
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    I feel so sorry and sad that Ms. Haiyan Qian passed away. I remember her as always optimistic and smiling woman. I remember her leading a meeting of DPADM, it was so positive and amusing… I cannot understand that she was so seriously sick, and even already at the time when we have been at the UN as interns in summer 2012..

    My sincere condolence to all her family.

  4. Kofi Torgbuiga
    Kofi Torgbuiga
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    I have just read with shock the passing of Director Haiyan Qian, when I visited the UNPAN website this morning. Even more shocking was that she died of cancer about a month ago, something I am learning for the first time.
    Haiyan employed me to the DPADM/UNDESA in February 09. As I’m now learning she also became Director that same month I was employed.
    During the brief period I interacted with her; first in her office and when she visited our office in Seoul; she came across as unassuming leader with a friendly disposition, well composed, articulate and in control of her brief in discussions with her. I communicated with her directly through emails during the brief period I was in charge of the Seoul office and got a good sense of her dedication and professionalism.
    I would like to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt condolences first, to the husband, daughter and family, and secondly, to all her close colleagues and staff of the DPADM and all her colleagues and friends in the Secretariat. She was a huge loss.
    Kofi Torgbuiga
    Former Staff, UNPOG/DPADM/UNDESA

  5. Fremi Mejía Canelo
    at · Reply

    ICAP’s family feels very sad about the departure of Ms. Haiyan Qian, a great person, professional and friendly. Our deepest condolences to his family, colleagues and friends for irremediable loss.

  6. Annie Smith
    Annie Smith
    at · Reply

    I just came across this sad news. I am shocked to know that i couldn’t meet you personally as i desired for my research in Africa. I travelled to New York in February and requested an appointment , unfortunately i was informed you were absent . I am deeply saddened to know i will never have any meeting with you again.
    Rest in Peace!!!
    I believe we can continue in the pattern you started so passionately in the field of public administration.

  7. Ivan Atuyambe
    at · Reply

    I was a big admirer of Ms. Haiyan Qian. She was a very humble, committed public servant I have had a rare opportunity to associate with. She would even reply official Emails at the weekend. This is the extent to which she was committed to serving humanity. Good people go so quickly!

  8. Ludmila Gajdosova
    at · Reply

    I was deeply saddened to learn the news about the Hayian Qian death. I knew Hayian since 2002, when NISPAcee became a member of UNPAN. It was always pleasure to work with her and I amired her commitment and highly professional work for the UNPAN project as well as UNDESA, and her dedication to all aspects of the UN mission. She was an outstanding personality not only professionally but also personally. She played a great role in breaking boundaries between nations and expanding international cooperation. We mourn the loss of a helpful and reliable partner.
    Please allow me on the behalf of NISPAcee to express our sincerest condolence to her family, close friends and colleagues.

  9. Gao Danfei
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  10. Gao Danfei
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  11. Najet Karaborni, President of ACEO
    at · Reply

    My dearest Haiyan I miss you a lot.. Since I left UN in 2008, I never forgot my wonderful, charming, nice, kind, human… friend Haiyan… Always I was planning to come back to New York and see you… Unfortunattaly, you left so quickly… without any notice… and I am so sad I did’nt see you!!!

    The Heaven is for you and hopefully we will join you!!

    Witn my deep and sincere condolances to your family and all my colleagues and friends… Najet

  12. Alejandra Naser
    at · Reply

    ECLAC is very sad because of the death of our colleague Ms. Haiyan Qian. She was always a great person and great professional.
    We send to all the colleagues, family and friends our condolences and support during this difficult time.
    ECLAC; Santiago, Chile.

    In our website we build the following tribute in Spanish:

  13. Erika Calderon
    Erika Calderon
    at · Reply

    I just heard about this sad news. I am a former intern at the DPADM and had the pleassure to meet Ms. Qian.
    My sincere condolences to her family and to DPADM familiy.

    La Paz, Bolivia

  14. 北京第二外国语学院
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  15. Gao Danfei
    at · Reply

    Qian Xiaoping (Haiyan’s former name) is my sister’s pal and they were very close since primary school days and remained so until we lost her. All her childhood pals are very sad after learning that she left us. In memory of her and to express our condolence, we have make accessible our Reunion Page to all who share our feeling.

  16. Hu Xinxin
    Hu Xinxin
    at · Reply

    I have left a message on the Chinese board and want to leave another message here.
    Saijin’s family used to be very special for us. His sister was my classmate at the college, and his brother was my sister’s classmate. We visited their home almost everyday and spent every Chinese New Year Eve with this family when our parents were not in Beijing and their mother was alive.
    Then Haiyan came to join us. She was a nice girl with excellent talent and intelligence . We all loved her very much.
    Haiyan will live in our harts forever.

  17. Adil Khan
    Adil Khan
    at · Reply

    News of Haiyan’s death came as a personal shock to me. As a former colleague I have seen and known Haiyan very closely – a very dedicated professional Haiyan was also known for her kind and compassionate demeanor. There is no doubt that she will be dearly missed by her colleagues and with her untimely death the UN had lost one of its most committed professionals.

    May God bestow upon Haiyan the peace and happiness of the heaven.

    Prof. Adil Khan
    University of Queensland

  18. Bimal P. Shah
    Bimal P. Shah
    at · Reply

    I am truly saddened by Ms. Haiyan Qian’s death. She was an amazing individual who dedicated her career to global public policy, governance, public administration and development.I am confident that her legacy will continue.

    May her soul rest in peace.

  19. Jessie Hou
    Jessie Hou
    at · Reply



    上海社会科学院信息所与海燕司长之间的渊源可以追朔到十多年前。2001年正是在海燕司长的牵头下,联合国经济和社会事务部与上海市人民政府签订了合作备忘录,成立了亚太地区城市信息化合作办公室(RCOCI)和联合国公共行政网亚太区域中心编辑部(UNPAN-AP)。在编辑部成立初期,时任UNPAN主管的海燕司长就给与了编辑部极大的鼓励和支持,在2002年4月举行的UNPAN第四次地区协调会上,赞扬上海站点后来居上,信息发布量跃居全球第二。在接受《文汇报》专访时,称UNPAN上海站点 “进展迅速”,信息发布总量“跃居全球所有区域中心之首”,成为UNPAN的“中坚力量”。

    正是在海燕司长的关怀和指导下, UNPAN-AP编辑部在UNPAN网络33个站点的评估中,连续获得“信息发布数量”、“信息发布无差错率”、“点击率最高文档数量”等指标第一的优异成绩。当2007年编辑部本着不断创新的理念对《亚太地区城市信息化通报》进行改版,是海燕司长给编辑部带来及时的鼓励。2008年,当上海站点率先发布第一万篇文档之时,又是海燕司长在第一时间发来贺信。正是在海燕司长的不断支持下,UNPAN-AP编辑部于2009年获“联合国公共行政网优秀成员特别奖”,2010年获“知识管理杰出表现奖”。

    2010年9月钱海燕司长访问社科院信息所,视察编辑部并题词:“Better UNPAN, Better Future! 非常感谢UNPAN-AP编辑部对联合国公共行政网所作的巨大贡献!”并在信息所作了题为“信息时代的知识管理”专题演讲。




  20. Prejean Prieto
    Prejean Prieto
    at · Reply

    I first met Haiyan in Seoul in 2007 for an UNPAN training and the Korea E-government workshop. It was my first travel abroad, but people like Haiyan Qian made me feel easy as I felt very much welcome and did not experience any sense of alienation.

    It was heartbreaking to learn that we lost such a great person, leader, and colleague as Haiyan Qian. My deepest condolences to the DPADM and Haiyan’s family. Although she now rests in peace, I am sure that her legacy will live on—a legacy for better governments around the globe.

  21. 张晓燕 xiaoyanzhang
    张晓燕 xiaoyanzhang
    at · Reply

    你的同学 张晓燕

  22. CHEN Yin
    CHEN Yin
    at · Reply

    I was deeply saddened by the passing of Ms. Haiyan QIAN. We lost a true friend and prominent colleague, who have given us so much advice and guidance, especially on the development of global internet governance. She will be missed by all of us. My condolence
    to her family.

    CHEN Yin
    Director General
    Department of International Cooperation
    Ministry of Industry and Information Technology

  23. Bimal P. Shah, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Nepal
    Bimal P. Shah, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Nepal
    at · Reply

    I was shocked to hear the news about the passing of Ms. Haiyan Qian. It is a great loss of us. We all know about  her contributions on global public policy, governance and public administration. She has been an inspiration to us all. May her soul rest in peace. 

  24. Ziad I. Asfour, eGA, Kingdom of Bahrain
    Ziad I. Asfour, eGA, Kingdom of Bahrain
    at · Reply

    I am writing to extend my deepest sympathies to you regarding the upsetting news of Haiyan Qian loss which have truly saddened us to receive, shocked and indeed moved us.
    Haiyan Qian was a passionate, pleasant woman who have worked with Bahrain eGovernment Authority since the authority’s establishment in 2007. She was highly supportive in the eGovernment development of the country, constantly generous in offering indispensable inputs and recommendations which have contributed in the authority’s achievements.
    Everyone who knew Qian would undoubtedly agree that she was an example of perfection, eager and hard-working who loved her job; even though she strongly fought her illness. She owned a kind heart with every person she dealt with – regardless of their level or status.
    Her influential work will certainly be remembered and not forgotten for all the years to come.
    Please accept our sincere condolences and may her soul rest in peace.

  25. Dr. Pallab Saha
    Dr. Pallab Saha
    at · Reply

    I just came to know of this news. Having interacted with her over the past 3 -4 years, she always came out as a helpful, sincere and dedicated professional.

    My deepest sympathies and condolences to her family.

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