The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO) and the Retired Heads of Mission Association (RHOMA) are honoured to announce that in close cooperation with the Government of Canada, a permanent Memorial Wall to the Fallen was unveiled at Global Affairs Canada on June 11, 2018.
This memorial wall has been established in remembrance of those members of our Foreign Service, both Canada-based and locally-engaged staff, who have lost their lives during hostilities, or died in violent, tragic circumstances while in the service of Canada abroad.
“In an increasingly volatile and uncertain world, individuals working to promote and defend Canada’s interests overseas are exposed to a much higher risk of danger than is normally experienced when living and working in Canada,” said Pamela Isfeld, President of PAFSO. “Unfortunately, over the years we have lost a number of Foreign Service colleagues in violent or tragic circumstances, most recently Mr. Glyn Berry in 2006 in Afghanistan and Mme. Annemarie Desloges in Kenya in 2013,” she continued.
RHOMA President Gilles Rivard stated, “The Canadian Foreign Service community considers that the time has come to create this significant memorial to commemorate individually all those who have lost their lives while on duty for Canada. It is a fitting tribute to the ultimate sacrifice that they and their families have made.”
Senior officials from the Departments who have lost employees spoke movingly of the eight persons being commemorated this year, in the presence of both the families affected and many of their friends and colleagues. All were touched by the simple, dignified ceremony.
The memorial wall also incorporates an earlier 2006 commemorative plaque collectively recognizing Canadian government employees and their immediate family members who died in exceptional circumstances while on active duty abroad.
In future years, an annual ceremony of remembrance will be held at the wall, with more names being added as other individuals are identified through Government of Canada, RHOMA and PAFSO networks. The wall is located in the main reception foyer of Global Affairs Canada headquarters at 125 Sussex Drive.
The memorial wall project came to fruition after extensive discussions and collaboration with the lead department Global Affairs Canada, the families of individuals who died, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, PAFSO and RHOMA.
Similar memorials have been created by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and by the US Department of State to honour their fallen colleagues.
Global Affairs Canada also took the opportunity at the unveiling to announce that a more publicly-accessible monument to public service employees who have died abroad is also being planned.
PAFSO and RHOMA take this opportunity to express their most sincere appreciation to all those within the Government of Canada, especially Global Affairs Canada, and to the families that have lost loved ones under tragic circumstances and that have contributed so generously to the realization of this noble project.