In Memoriam: Ambassador Stuart Beck

The world has lost a huge force with the passing of Ambassador Stuart Beck of New York and Palau.



Mr. Beck, who served as Palau's Ambassador to the United Nations for a dollar a year after helping the island nation come into being, passed away on Sunday.



Acidly funny, Ambassador Beck was an irrepressible idealist. He was not afraid of anyone. He regularly took on the powers of the world when they acted badly (which was often). As just one example, he spearheaded an effort beginning in 2002 to ban unregulated high seas bottom trawling (a fishing method akin to clearcutting the ocean floor) conducted by vessels from a suite of big, powerful countries -- and won. Example after example followed. By the end of his tenure, he had turned his beloved island nation into the mouse that roared.



I will never forget watching the tall loudmouthed New Yorker striding around the UN with a wake of ducklings trailing behind him. Those ducklings-- top flight NYU Law students he enlisted in the cause -- have gone on to seed the world with Stuart's funny, cynical and profoundly idealistic spirit. He lives on in them, in his beautiful family, and in all of us whose lives he touched.