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CMI mourns the passing of Ambassador Nicolas Bwakira

Published on Thursday, 11 March 2021

Original photo: Riku Isohella.

We as CMI join the numerous voices among the international community who pay tribute in memoriam to Ambassador Nicolas Bwakira. While a man of great stature, responsibility, and accolade, Ambassador Bwakira embodied the highest attributes of humility, service, and commitment to addressing the needs of the most vulnerable populations. His relationship to President and Mrs. Ahtisaari stems from their shared contribution to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. His longtime friend and colleague, CMI Senior Advisor, Ambassador David Kapya said, “For over half a century, Abassador Bwakira  gave himself and worked for the less fortunate, in the humanitarian field. Over the years, he mentored many selflessly. He was a pan-african who left a mark which will be difficult to erase.”

Ambassador Bwakira with President Ahtisaari, spring 2016. Photo: Riku Isohella.

Upon stepping down from his distinguished career with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and having served as the African Union Special Envoy for Somalia, in addition to numerous other roles, in 2014 Ambassador Bwakira joined CMI as a Senior Advisor. His diplomatic prowess, extensive network, and a humanitarian spirit paired with sensitivity for advancing gender equality and engaging with youth as a new generation of peace-makers incomparably contributed to advancing CMI’s mediation and dialogue efforts in the African continent.

Ambassador Bwakira with CMI team and Ambassador Anders Lidén at the Embassy of Sweden in Helsinki, 2016. Photo: Riku Isohella.

“Seeing men and women as equal partners in the quest for peace was particularly dear to his heart, and a fundamental principle for work”, highlights Johanna Poutanen, CMI’s Head for Women in Peacemaking. Accompanying CMI’s partnership with women parliamentarians in South Sudan, Ambassador Bwakira worked for many years to support women’s leadership in the country’s fragile peace process. He also contributed significantly to CMI’s dialogue efforts in Central African Republic and the Lake Chad Basin and in solidifying CMI’s partnerships with the African Union and sub-regional institutions. In the words of Itonde Kakoma, CMI’s Director for Global Strategy, “Ambassador Bwakira’s contribution to peace and security will be enshrined in the post-independence diplomatic history of Africa.” We as CMI join his family, friends, and colleagues to mourn his passing, and remain grateful for the opportunity to have worked with an extraordinary international civil servant and learned from one of Africa’s distinguished sons.

May he Rest In Peace.