28 Aug 2008

Urwin memorial salutes inspirational figure

9:47 am on 28 August 2008

The late former secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum, Greg Urwin, has been farewelled in a memorial service at the Forum Secretariat in Suva yesterday.

Hundreds of friends and colleagues attended the service for Mr Urwin, who passed away earlier this month folowing a short battle with cancer.

After heading the regional organisation for four years, Mr Urwin stood down from the Secretary-general's post earlier this year.

The Acting secretary general, Feleti Teo said Forum leaders at their annual summit in Niue last week were unanimous in their tributes to this 'great Pacific man' who he described as a mentor to many people in the region.

Australia's high commissioner to Fiji, James Batley reminisced about his days working with the late Forum secretary general in Port Vila as a young diplomat.

Mr Batley said Greg Urwin was an inspiration to a generation of Australian diplomats and more recently to an even broader group of regional public servants.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade of Samoa has been named as Greg Urwin's replacement.