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. Jean-Jacques Graisse, UN
    Jean-Jacques Graisse, UN
    at · Reply

    Ion has just given us the sad news. We had all hoped that what you were trying in Washington would help her. It is good that you tried till the end and that you were with her.
    We are all with you.

  2. Emer Herity, UN
    Emer Herity, UN
    at · Reply

    I was saddened to hear of the untimely passing of your wife. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  3. Mary Muturi, UN
    Mary Muturi, UN
    at · Reply

    Please accept my condolences and may the Lord give you strength to go through this difficult moment. Take comfort in John 14:1-3:
    “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions;[a] if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. Haiyan is with Him where there is no more pain. May she rest in peace.

  4. Sonia Elliot and John, UN
    Sonia Elliot and John, UN
    at · Reply

    It is with a heavy heart that John and I extend sincere condolences on the passing of your beloved wife. We can only imagine what a difficult time it is for you and the rest of the family. Please be assured that all of you are in our prayers. Also, please know that we are here to support you in any way possible.
    We wish you God’s grace and blessings.

  5. Mai-Chau Nguyen, UN
    Mai-Chau Nguyen, UN
    at · Reply

    Please accept my deepest sympathy. I am very sad as Haiyan not only was a great colleague, she was a caring friend to me.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your daughter.
    Please do not hesitate to let me know if I could be of any help.

  6. Xiaoyu Wang, UN
    Xiaoyu Wang, UN
    at · Reply

    I just learned the sad news of Haiyan passing away, still in shock!
    Please accept my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolence!
    Haiyan will live in peace forever in the hearts of her families, friends and colleagues!

  7. Sangeeta Sharma, UN
    Sangeeta Sharma, UN
    at · Reply

    I am writing to convey my deepest condolences for your loss. We are all thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

  8. Jolanta Banaszek, UN
    Jolanta Banaszek, UN
    at · Reply

    My deepest condolences to You and your family. May God give you strength in this very difficult time.

  9. Antonina Poliakova, UN
    Antonina Poliakova, UN
    at · Reply

    I know that it is impossible to help in such a situation and it’s so hard to find the right words. Nothing would ease your sorrow, maybe time at some point. I feel so sad for what has happened. Please accept my deepest condolences.

  10. Isabel Alejandrino, UN
    Isabel Alejandrino, UN
    at · Reply

    My heartfelt condolences on your loss. Hope you can take comfort in the realization that Haiyan really is in a better place, and can feel no more pain. You and your family are in my prayers.

  11. Dejan Sahovic, UN
    Dejan Sahovic, UN
    at · Reply

    Ion told me very sad news that your wife has passed away.
    Please accept my most sincere condolences.

  12. Liya Liqun Zhang and Jianping, UN
    Liya Liqun Zhang and Jianping, UN
    at · Reply

    Jianping and I are shocked to hear the sad news about Haiyan and can not believe this happened to her at the prime of her career. We know at this most difficult time in your life, no words can alleviate the pain you are going through caused by the loss of a loved one. We just want to express our condolences to you, your family and Haiyan’s relatives, and hope you will gradually walk out of the deep sorrow with support from friends and relatives and move forward with your life. Please let us know if anything we can do for you.

  13. Rukshan Perera, UN
    Rukshan Perera, UN
    at · Reply

    I heard the sad news through Liya, I am so very sorry to hear about your loss and my heartfelt condolences to you and your family in this time of sorrow. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  14. Sylvie Deschenes, UN
    Sylvie Deschenes, UN
    at · Reply

    I just was told, today, about your wife. It deeply reached my heart! As, you may know, I am a cancer survivor (and still worry!). Believe me when I am telling you, she is in my prayers, you and your family! With much love going your way…

  15. hao bin
    hao bin
    at · Reply

    I was shocked to learn the sad news! Haiyan’s passing gives me profound sadness. I would like to join the other members of the CEPA to send my deep condolences to her grieving family and colleagues from the Division! It is indeed a great loss not only to her loved ones, to CEPA and to me as close friend.

    I got to know Haiyan 20 years ago. I was always impressed by her energy and dedication to the work of the UN. I was very worried when I first learn that she was suffering cancer two years ago and greatly reliefed when I saw her back to work with full drive during the last CEPA meeting.

    I will always cherish the worderful memories that we worked together. She will be remenbered as a champion of the global public administration, an dedecated international civil servant, and very close friend.

  16. Philip Yeo, CEPA Member
    Philip Yeo, CEPA Member
    at · Reply

    Haiyan stoically endured her illness whilst encouraging on. We will dearly miss her in our April 15-19th 2013 meeting. Please convey our deepest condolences to her family.

  17. Nitin Desai, Former USG DESA
    Nitin Desai, Former USG DESA
    at · Reply

    Please convey my sincere condolences to Haiyan Qian’s family. In the years when I chaired he multi stakeholder group for the IGF Haiyan Qian was always a great source of support. Her untimely passing has deprived the UN of a valuable and dedicated person. May her soul rest in peace.

  18. Aida Opoku-Mensah, ECA
    Aida Opoku-Mensah, ECA
    at · Reply

    I learnt of the passing of Haiyan. So sad.

  19. Declan Gibbons, UNOV
    Declan Gibbons, UNOV
    at · Reply

    I’m so very sorry to hear this sad news. I had great admiration for Haiyan and always felt she was a friend much more than a supervisor. She was always so kind and supportive. I feel very sorry for her husband and daughter.
    It must also be a very tough time for all of you at DPADM.

  20. Kakali Atkins
    Kakali Atkins
    at · Reply

    I am extremely saddened to hear of Haiyan’s passing. I’ve always considered her to be a very special soul who has accepted this painful experience to endure in this lifetime. My heart goes out to her husband and daughter.

  21. Najat Zarrouk, CEPA Member
    Najat Zarrouk, CEPA Member
    at · Reply

    This is a real loss to all of us and for UN.
    Haiyan has faced her illness with courage and heroic fight.
    She was supportful for every one.
    I remember when I was elected as a chair, I was afraid to not being able to lead the Committee, she called me and said “We are behind you” what she and all her Staff did still now.
    I’m really very sad and I will sorely miss her as all of us.
    My deepest condolences to her family and team.

  22. Xi (Anna) Chen, DPADM Intern (Summer 2012)
    Xi (Anna) Chen, DPADM Intern (Summer 2012)
    at · Reply

    I served as a DPADM intern for two months last summer. Haiyan was very nice to all interns and she appreciated our work. She hosted a two-hour orientation to welcome new interns. During the orientation, she kindly offered to sign a recommendation letter for all of us if our supervisors help prepare a draft or verify the experience. We appreciated her support.

    I remember well that she wanted to make sure that interns who worked for the 2012 PSA received an appreciation from her team, so she gave each of us a gift afterwards. I guess because I am a girl so she gave me a box of “high tech” cosmetic with the PSA logo. The instructions in the box were quite complicated. It was funny to see Haiyan struggle to explain to me how high tech works in the cosmetic . She was such a warm and kind person. Now I realized the two-minute conversation with her regarding the cosmetic box was precious as that was the only one on one time we had. I feel honored having had the privilege to work with her and her team members.

    Thank you so much Haiyan for who you are. In heaven, you know you are cherished and loved by many.

  23. GUO Liang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
    GUO Liang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
    at · Reply

    I have heard a lot about Ms. Qian Haiyan, before joining MAG family. Sadly, I missed the oppotunity to meet her in person in Baku at the end of last year. Please allow me to convey my sincere and deepest condolences to her family, friends and UN DESA colleagues.

  24. Anriette Esterhuysen, IGF Member
    Anriette Esterhuysen, IGF Member
    at · Reply

    This is really a shock… very sad. We did not even realise that she was ill in Baku… although I did notice that she had changed since our last meeting with her in Vilnius. I took the time to read about her before CS last met with her in Baku and she was really an incredible woman. She joined the UN at the height of the cold war. Read more about her here: – it is not much but gives a sense of how accomplished she was.
    Thanks for letting us know and please pass our condolences on to her friends, family and colleagues.

  25. Veronica Cretu, IGF Member
    Veronica Cretu, IGF Member
    at · Reply

    Sincere and deepest condolences, to the entire UN family ,all her relatives and friends for such a great loss. What a strong woman she was, she never looked it at ll in Baku. May her soul rest in peace.

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