Jean-Sélim Kanaan

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Jean-Sélim Kanaan
Born (1970-07-28)July 28, 1970
Rome, Italy
Died August 19, 2003(2003-08-19) (aged 33)
Baghdad, Iraq
Nationality French

Jean-Sélim Kanaan ( July 28, 1970 - August 19, 2003) was a United Nations (UN) diplomat, Egyptian, Italian and French national, who was killed in the Canal Hotel bombing in Baghdad, Iraq, along with Sérgio Vieira de Mello and other members of his staff. Born in Rome, Italy, he was the son of an Egyptian UN diplomat, and he spoke seven languages.


Jean-Sélim Kanaan devoted his life to humanitarian relief operations from the age of 23 until his death. In 1996 he graduated from the Kennedy School of Government with a Master of Public Policy. Before that, he served in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1992, and the following year, as a relief coordinator for Médecins du Monde in central Bosnia. In his first assignment with the UN from 1996 to 1998, he was employed by the UNOPS and served with the UN’s director of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia as the Assistant Programme Coordinator, and, from 1999 to 2000, in the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo as an assistant to Bernard Kouchner, the UN's special representative to Kosovo[1]. Following Kosovo, and until his mission in Iraq (2003), Kanaan worked with UNOSAT at the UN Headquarters in New York City where he was managing policy questions promoting the use of GIS and other novel technologies for peacekeeping operations[2]. In 2002 he published his book Ma guerre à L’indifference, (English: My war against indifference), with a preface by Christine Ockrent. As an active individual he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and was an aviator.

Jean-Sélim Kanaan left behind his wife, Laura Dolci-Kanaan, and his three-week-old baby, Mattias-Sélim Kanaan. He was buried in a Roman Catholic cemetery in Cairo, Egypt: "Jean Sélim, martire della pace e dell'umanesimo".

Kanaan was awarded the French Legion of Honour posthumously for his work in 'helping the world's weak and oppressed'. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Secretariat News" (PDF).  (1.14 MiB) Canal hotel tribute edition, page 14-15
  2. ^ "UNOSAT" (PDF).  (711 KiB) tribute
  3. ^ UN Press Release Kanaan awarded French Legion of Honour

External links[edit]