It is with great sadness that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, learned yesterday of the passing of Mrs. Hari Brissimi, a longtime UNHCR official and founder of the Greek Council for Refugees.
Hari Brissimi worked in UNHCR between 1955-80 becoming the first woman to be promoted to the senior rank of Director. After her retirement, she helped found and lead the Greek Council for Refugees in 1989, a longstanding partner of UNHCR and the oldest national NGO in Greece with specialized services exclusively for refugees and asylum-seekers.
Throughout her long professional career but also after she retired, Hari Brissimi was dedicated to the protection and welfare of refugees and other persons in need of protection and asylum, particularly women and children among them, tirelessly advocating on their behalf. She has been an inspirational beacon for many persons in the humanitarian field in Greece and beyond. She continuously stood up for the rights of the displaced and underscored, by personal example, the importance of supporting persons forced to flee.
A key figure in UNHCR history, Hari Brissimi will be remembered as a person of remarkable vision, strength and perseverance. We are confident her legacy will live on through the people she has inspired and supported.
Our deepest condolences go to Hari Brissimi’s relatives, friends and former colleagues. May she rest in peace.