Maurice Strong was the founding father and first director of the UN Environment Programme and Secretary General of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment.

I am deeply saddened that Maurice Strong passed away yesterday at the age of 86. He was one of the most extraordinary personalities I ever met.

He deeply incorporated the World Economic Forum’s mission of improving the state of the world into everything he did. He was a great visionary, always ahead of our times in his thinking. He was my mentor since the creation of the Forum: a great friend; an indispensable advisor; and, for many years, a member of our Foundation Board. Without him, the Forum would not have achieved its present significance.

I am grateful to him for his guidance and partnership. I will always remember the hundreds of hours where we exchanged ideas. I will miss not only his advice but also his humour. In short: a great person has left us, but he certainly contributed to make the world a better place.

Image: Maurice Strong at the High Level Dialogue on Global Sustainability, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17 June 2012. Sergio Greif/Stockholm Environment Institute.