Honoring Warren Hoge, Former IPI Vice President of External Relations

“He was a consummate professional, a dear friend to so many and so wonderfully decent. He will be sorely missed.” – Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President & CEO of the International Peace Institute

By profession, Warren was a journalist, but by nature he was a diplomat—fully aware of the power of words to engage, to inform, to inspire, to change the world,” said Gillian Sorensen, former Assistant-Secretary-General for External Relations at the UN, when she spoke at Warren’s Celebration of Life on November 29th. The event brought together Warren’s beautiful family, friends, and colleagues to remember and honor Warren Hoge, and the positive impact he had on so many lives.

Warren came to the International Peace Institute as the first Vice President of External Relations following his extraordinary, event-filled 32-year career at The New York Times. Prior to coming to IPI he was the Chief UN Correspondent for the Times. He joined IPI in 2008—the same year IPI opened its own, dedicated event space, The Trygve Lie Center for Peace, Security & Development. I had recently joined the organization at that time, and I was fortunate to have him as my supervisor.

When I first met Warren, I was pregnant with my first child. Not long after meeting him, I experienced what many first-time mothers do and was rushed to the hospital thinking something was wrong, only to find I had Braxton Hicks (false labor). It happened so quickly that my husband called the office to let them know I had to miss work to go to the hospital. Not long after I was admitted, the phone rang in my hospital room and – to my surprise – I heard a kind, radio-quality voice coming through the receiver. It was my new supervisor, Warren Hoge, who was calling to check on how I was doing and make sure I was OK. I was moved by his thoughtfulness and the concern he showed. This is one of countless stories that exemplify the compassion Warren had for his colleagues. His management style centered around kindness and care. He was deeply committed to the importance of family life and his face would light up whenever he spoke of his family. I am forever thankful for the opportunity to have learned from him, a person who valued connection and consistently acted with empathy and compassion—the building blocks of peace.

It was very fitting that he came to work at IPI after retiring from journalism. It was at a moment when IPI was beginning to reach out beyond the UN community and organize more events to bring together different sectors working toward our goal of creating a more peaceful and sustainable planet. Warren’s vast knowledge of world affairs, his deep conviction for the importance of international cooperation, coupled with his way of being in the world, informed how the organization evolved.

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, IPI President and CEO reflected that, “He was a consummate professional, a dear friend to so many, and so wonderfully decent. He will be sorely missed.”

In her speech about Warren’s work with the UN, Gillian Sorensen rightly said, “He was an idealist without illusion. A caring critic of the UN. Never demeaning, never dismissive.” She also said, “He knew its [the UN] potential and its limits. He knew its impact on New York City and its many functions beyond peace and security, including health and human rights, and so much more… He believed the UN was imperfect but indispensable. That it was there … as a location for representatives from every nation on earth to come to be heard, to connect, to engage. He believed in the power of diplomacy to make a better world.”

During his time at IPI, Warren spearheaded the original redesign of the organization’s website, wrote NYT-quality coverage of our events, and created the “Distinguished Authors Event Series,” a series of evening receptions featuring authors of recently published books connected to pressing international relations concerns and peace. He co-produced and narrated IPI’s 40th Anniversary film; conducted interviews with world leaders and experts—including almost all of the 2016 candidates for UN Secretary-General; and was the most well-prepared of moderators for countless IPI panel discussions. He was also a devoted mentor to interns and junior staff, and someone who always took the time to provide advice and guidance to those who sought it.

He had a zest for life that uplifted those around him. Being from Manhattan, he developed throughout his life a great love for music, good food, and the theater. He also loved to sing and often filled the office with music, bringing a spirit of joy to the work.

After Warren’s passing, the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, announced to the UN press core, “After retiring from the Times, Warren moved to the International Peace Institute, where he remained deeply involved in international affairs, and kept in touch with so many of you. As we extend our condolences to his wife Olivia and their children, we remember Warren as a true gentleman reporter who was unfailing in his kindness, his easy grace, and detailed reporting of the ups and downs of this institution.”

Following this announcement, American journalist and UN Correspondent for the Associated Press, Edie Lederer, stated: “On behalf of the United Nations Correspondents Association, we would also like to send condolences to the family and many friends of Warren Hoge around the world. He was a terrific journalist who reported from South America, Brazil, London, and many global hotspots before coming to the UN. As you so rightly said, he was a charming man and a great raconteur. And he will be greatly missed by all of us who knew him.”

Warren elevated IPI’s work beyond the UN community and into the broader international affairs community around the globe. He exemplified what peace means in practice. He had a natural way of connecting at a heart-level with all those he worked with and interacted with. He led IPI’s External Relations to new heights, broadening its audience and reach – always with sincerity, kindness, and respect. IPI is deeply grateful for his extraordinary contributions.

IPI’s Vice President and COO, Adam Lupel, who worked with Warren for 15 years said it well: “He was among the most memorable of characters imaginable—genuinely kind and generous to all, the greatest of storytellers, a gentleman of capacious heart and warm smile. He will be dearly missed.”

His life lives on in the stories he told, the lives he influenced with his wisdom and wit, and his compassion and care. His empathy, genuine kindness, and contributions to creating a more peaceful world will always be remembered.

~ Mary Anne Feeney, IPI Senior Director for External Relations