His father was a Prime Minister too, but Dag Hammarskjold went on to become the Second UN Secretary-General between 1953 and 1961 arguably the most difficult times in the world political arena. He was unanimously elected by the UN Security council and he held that office till, a plane crash brought about his death.
Dag Hammarskjold had a strong foundation of English, French and German languages from Uppsala University where he gratuated with a degree in Humanities in 1925. He specialized in linguistics, literature and history.
He held offices at various capacities within Sweden and as a foreign delegate on his way up the ladder before becoming the UNSG.
Excerpts from Shri V. Sundaram's article.
Dag Hammarskjold left behind the manuscript of a book in Swedish language to be published after his death. It was published under the title 'Markings' in 1964. He himself described the manuscript -as a sort of White Book concerning my negotiations with myself and with God.' As we read it, the outer image of Dag Hammarskjold as The Secretary General persists and heightens the sense of loneliness he conveys, the severity with which he marked his own spiritual conduct and measured the integrity of his soul. It also poetically brings out his conception of life as a summon, and his premonition of death.
Here are a few beautiful quotations from his 'Markings':
The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, Who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.
For all that has been, thanks. For all that will be, yes.
The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the indifference of others.
Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible - not to have run away.
The entries in the Markings in themselves are spiritual truths given in an artistic form. That Book contains many references to death, perhaps none more explicit or significant than this portion from the opening entries, written when he was a young man:
Tomorrow we shall meet,
Death and I
And he shall thrust his sword
Into one who is wide awake.
He travelled to 21 countries in Africa between 18 December 1959 and 31 January 1960 - a trip he described later as "a strictly professional trip for study, for information", in which he said he had gained a "kind of cross-section of every sort of politically responsible opinion in the Africa of today".
He was posthumously awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1961. Watch this short documentary.