Deceased 1 January 1999
Bill's lifework was devoted to human service in the international community. After earning a Masters in Public Health from the University of Minnesota and a Bachelors in Political Science from Arizona State University, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan from 1972-1974. His language fluency included Bahasa Malaysia and Indonesia, Farsi and French. His international work included the New Transcentury Foundation rural development project from 1979 to 1982 and work with Save the Children Foundation from 1983 through 1987 in Indonesia.
In 1988, he consulted on various health and development programs in Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Thailand. In 1990, he worked for the UN in Herat, Afghanistan coordinating food relief and health assistance. From 1991-1993 he worked for the Catholic Relief Services in the US, North Africa and Somalia. Bill joined the United Nation's in 1993 and served in Somalia until sometime in 1995. In 1996 he returned to the UN and went to Afghanistan until his re-assignment to Tajikistan.
Bill Bergquist Memorial Service Program
THE DEATH OF A VERY DEAR COLLEAGUE
"It is with great sorrow that we have to report the death of a very dear colleague, William Bergquist, a UN Senior Humanitarian Affairs Officer who died tragically on the early hours of the first day of this year as he was leaving UNMOT's building where he had attended a party with his colleagues. William arrived at the New Year's Eve party dressed in the most becoming formal suit and black tie. He was the only one dressed so majestically. Immediately upon his arrival, therefore, everyone noticed him not just because he was so well dressed, but also because he sounded so happy and was so full of life, joking and dancing all night. When he was leaving the party, he accidentally fell on the stairs and was killed instantaneously. A special ceremony was held for him in Dushanbe the following day and on 6 January his body was flown to Washington. William Bergquist -- who had just become 54 years old on 13 December -- had a most distinguished career of twenty five years at the UN as a humanitarian affairs officer. He had worked in Cambodia and Somalia and just prior to his arrival in Dushanbe in late September, he had worked in Herat in the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Development Activities of Afghanistan. He was relocated to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, when UN faced some problems in Afghanistan with the Taliban leadership. When the Gulf crisis added to international concerns about the security of American nationals in the region, William who loved Tajikistan, asked to be posted here. In fact so devoted was he to his career at the United Nations that other than his UN colleagues he did not have a family. On 8 January his two closest friends in New York received his body. May his soul rest in peace."