Umberto Eco Obituary


For those who haven’t had the opportunity to read my Manifesto called "New Horizons" I would like to mention that it begins with a quotation from Umberto Eco. It says the following:

“Trying to understand other people means destroying the stereotype without denying or ignoring the otherness.” (Inventing the Enemy)

I decided to quote Eco because I was always impressed by his intellectual strength and capacity. In my humble opinion Umberto Eco was one of the outstanding writers, philosophers and intellectuals of the contemporary world. 

We shared the same heroes: Jules Verne, Marco Polo and Charles Darwin. One cannot consider himself to be cosmopolitan without believing in them, their work, activities and way of life. 

When Eco wrote "In the Name of the Rose" I decided to embark upon the journey called "multilateral diplomacy.” My career was to a certain extent influenced by Eco's work and ideas. He found a fantastic way to disclose a medieval mystery to the modern world. And I saw a very inspirational approach how to deal with modern mysteries across the globe. 

Especially bearing in mind Umberto's irresistible way of interpreting cultures through their signs and symbols. Who does not possess this kind of artistic abilities can hardly find the keys of the gates to successful multilateral diplomacy. 

It may sound a bit too abstract however I am deeply convinced it is the only way of perceiving a multipolar world composed of such a diversity of cultures and nations with their own histories and habits. 

The fact that Eco lectured in five modern languages as well as two classic one Latin and Greek was also a comparative advantage in his favor.

I bow to his unique work, amazing intellectual integrity and Umberto Eco's personality.
May he rest in peace. 
New York, 20 February 2016

UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras