Topic: Sergio Vieira de Mello

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Sérgio Vieira de Mello (March 15, 1948 – August 19, 2003) was a Brazilian United Nations (UN) diplomat who worked for the UN for more than 34 years, earning respect and praise around the world for his efforts in the humanitarian and political programs of the UN.

He was killed in the Canal Hotel Bombing in Iraq along with 20 other members of his staff on 19 August 2003 while working as the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Iraq.

Vieira de Mello was born in Rio de Janeiro to the diplomat Arnaldo Vieira de Mello and his wife Gilda, on March 15, 1948. He had an older sister, Sônia. The family followed Arnaldo's diplomatic postings, such that Sergio spent his early years in Buenos Aires, Genova, Milan, Beirut and Rome. In 1965, he enrolled to study philosophy at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, but as classes were frequently disrupted by strikes, he opted to continue his education in Europe. He studied for a year at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, before enrolling at the Sorbonne University in Paris, where he studied philosophy under Vladimir Jankélévitch He participated in the 1968 student riots in Paris against the Charles de Gaulle government, and was hit in the head by a police baton, causing a permanent disfigurement above his right eye. He also wrote a letter published in the French leftist journal Combat in support of the riots, which made returning to Brazil, at this stage a military dictatorship, potentially dangerous.Thus, after graduating from the Sorbonne in 1969, he moved to Geneva to stay with a family friend, and found his first job as an editor at the offices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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