Joakim Dungel (LL.M. ’07) was killed in Afghanistan on April 1. Dungel worked for the United Nations mission, whose compound in Mazar-e Sharif was attacked after protests erupted in response to the burning of the Koran by a Florida pastor. Members of the mob killed four Nepalese security guards, then entered the compound and murdered Dungel and two other UN workers. A native of Sweden, Dungel had joined the U.N. as a human rights officer earlier this year, after working for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He was 33.
Below are some memories offered by those who knew him while he was at the Law School:
"Joakim came to NYU having already done an LL.M. in his native Sweden as well as studying international law in Montreal. That training had clearly been enough to enable him to decide where his real interest lay and thus to specialize in human rights and related courses. He was intrigued by human rights and the power they held to bring positive change and he made it very clear in conversations that he wanted to go out into the world and make a difference. He certainly kept his promise -- he succeeded in taking a succession of important and difficult jobs in the field, and finally made his way to the most difficult post of all, working for the U.N. in Afghanistan." – Philip Alston, John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law
"Joakim was a bright and gifted student. He brought together a dry and witty sense of humor with an inner kindness and sense of responsibility to the world. He was a joy to be around and will be sorely missed." – Amelie Baudot '08
"He was a very hard-working, dedicated scholar of human rights law. He was determined to extract the utmost from his academic experience at NYU. Quite apart from his studies, he was a thoroughly decent person. He was forthright and confident. And somewhat incongruously--incongruous in academics, at least--he was physically one of the strongest people I have ever met. The weight machines in the NYU gym weren't enough for him so he would get people--me included--to lean down on the weights while he lifted them." – Patrick Mair (LL.M. '07)
"Joakim was very friendly, humble, and funny. The news of his death has been a shock for all of us. He was the strongest person I’ve ever met, not just physically but also mentally strong. He knew exactly who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. From the moment I met him, all he wanted was to go into the field. He was so good at his job that he could have done anything, but he wanted to be the closest to the people he wanted to help. I thought he was invincible and still have difficulty realizing that he is gone." – Céline Folsché (LL.M. '07)
Posted April 8, 2011