In Memoriam: Philippe Petit (1941-2012)


Ambassador Philippe PetitAmbassador Philippe Petit, GGSG’s honorary president, sadly died last January. He was one of the School’s founders, a source of inspiration for those around him who thought up the concept. A brilliant French career diplomat, educated at Sciences Po and École Nationale d’Administration, he held permanent representation and ambassadorial assignments over four decades in many parts of the world – most notably in India, Sweden, Brussels (EU), Geneva (UN Office) –, and was at one point diplomatic adviser to France’s Prime Minister. He retired in 2009 as deputy director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (with the rank of Under-Secretary General of the United Nations). He elected to live in Geneva as a very active retiree, and joined GGSG’s leadership team.

He thought that sharing his vision and experience of high diplomatic and (national as well as international) administrative office with aspiring young men and women from the world over was worth the time and energy he generously expended on our Graduate School. He strongly backed the idea of an academic institution premised on leadership development and practice as well as on the imparting of scholarly knowledge, one specifically concentrating on issues and problems likely to occupy centre stage in tomorrow’s world.

Hence the sense of loss and disarray among his colleagues and friends at GGSG when news came of his passing. To ensure that his memory lives on, his name and professional vita will stay in the list of founders indefinitely. The position of honorary president will remain vacant until further notice.

True to its mission, GGSG will endeavour to live up to his ideals.

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