Tribute to Gérald Weder (1930-2022)
Category : Message69
Gérald Weder passed away in early February 2022. His funeral at the Petit-Saconnex temple was attended by many of his former ILO colleagues as well as family friends. I hadn’t had the opportunity to know him during his working life: he retired in May 1987, and I started at the ILO in November that same year. I first met Gérald in 2009 when I joined the Bureau of the Former Officials Section. He had just stepped down after standing in as interim Executive Secretary following the death of Mario Tavelli. Gérald was a member of the Bureau for more than two decades and before that had been Chair of the Staff Union Committee.
Gérald took a particular interest in health issues, a field in which he gladly offered advice to former colleagues. Between 2012 and 2014 he was a member of the SHIF Management Committee and had a number of solidly argued articles on these matters published in the Former Officials’ magazine Message. Gérald was a determined person, open to dialogue and always ready and available to others. In the summer of 2020 he came to see me in Ferney-Voltaire accompanied by a retired lady who had administrative problems; he was then 90 years old, always prepared to be of service, to help and advise. I called him many times to seek his counsel.
I had a chance to get closer to him after the death of the ILO Arts Circle’s president when we set about revamping it. Several members of the Former Officials Section saw the need to maintain support for the Circle, and together with Gérald and Robert Falaize we drew up statutes in line with the requirements of ILO Sports and Leisure. Gérald became the treasurer, with annual exhibitions being held in the Colonnades to the satisfaction of the Circle’s artist members, ILO staff and visitors.
Gérald was born on 13 June 1930 in Nyon. After high school he studied at the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce in Geneva before working as an accountant in the commercial sector. In his application to the ILO in 1951, he indicated that he had mastered the products of the major calculating machine brands. He also listed his typing and shorthand skills, an essential asset to any job application at the time. Successfully applying for the post of administrative assistant, he began his career with the ILO as a G2, going on to end it as a P4. This shows how career development was possible: in 1953 he became a G3, in 1955 a G5, in 1966 a P1 and in 1977 a P4. During his career he held positions in the Administrative and Finance Branch both at headquarters and in Africa, in Addis Ababa as well as Abidjan and Lagos for limited periods.
After taking retirement at the end of March 1987, Gérald had a continuous involvement with retired ILO staff. He participated in all the events organized by the Former Officials Section and was present with his wife Huguette at the twice-yearly receptions for retirees as well as all Arts Circle exhibition openings. Thank you, Gérald, for your constant commitment to the service of others. We will not forget that look, determined yet always genial.
ILO Former Officials Section