Red Cross Red Crescent pays tribute to the late Alistair John Henley: a true humanitarian and a good friend to the cause

Published: 15 November 2010

The Red Cross Red Crescent lost a true humanitarian and a good friend to the cause on Sunday 14  November in Kuala Lumpur, when the director of the Asia Pacific zone, Alistair John Henley, collapsed suddenly whilst hiking and, tragically, lost his life.

Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Bekele Geleta today praised the friend and colleague he had known for over 20 years.

“Alistair’s career with the Red Cross Red Crescent began in 1979, when he joined the British Red Cross as a desk officer,” said Bekele.

“Today, 32 years later, he has touched the lives of not only hundreds of his colleagues around the world, but thousands upon thousands of vulnerable people whose situations have improved because he believed so passionately in saving lives and changing minds.”

Recognized early on as an inspirational figure, in October 1980 Alistair was seconded to the League of Red Cross Societies – as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was then known – in Geneva to be part of its eastern Africa task force, and from 1981 to 1986 he worked as a desk officer for  Asia Pacific and Africa.  Alistair became head of the regional delegation in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1989 and returned to Geneva in 1993. He was appointed director of cooperation and development in 1995, and head of coordination in 2000. He became head of the Beijing regional delegation in 2003, and head of the Asia Pacific zone office in 2007, finally becoming its director in 2009.

Alistair John Henley was a remarkable man who dedicated most of his working life to serving humanity. His family and friends will remember his passion, conviction, and determination to serve the needs of the most vulnerable. He was modest, kind, generous, a mentor to all.

Alistair is survived by his beloved wife Deborah and sons Edmund, Giles and Guy.

A web site has been dedicated to Alistair for those wishing to post condolences, pictures and fond memories. Visit www.alistairhenley.com.

In memory of Alistair, in lieu of flowers, Alistair’s wife Deborah would be grateful for contributions to underfunded projects of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. See further information on how to donate in memoriam on the IFRC web site.

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The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is the world's largest humanitarian organization, with 189 member National Societies. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, our work is guided by seven fundamental principles; humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. About this site & copyright