In Memoriam: Marie Muller (1951-2013)

I pass along the remembrance in honor of our friend and colleague, and former chair of the Pugwash Council, Marie Muller–written by her fellow Pugwashite and dear close friend Nola Dippenaar of the South African Pugwash Group.

In Memoriam PROF MARIE MULLER (1951 – 2013)

It is with deep sadness that I share with you that Marie Muller, our fellow Pugwashite and precious friend, passed away on Monday evening, March 4th 2013, after a long and cruel battle with a monster of a disease called MSA (Multiple System Atrophy). Marie, a political scientist, was so supportive of the Pugwash movement, and all that it stood for, and in my opinion she was an outstanding Pugwashite.

She was chair of the South African National Pugwash Group for many years, and largely responsible for hosting the first ever Annual Conference in SA in 1999. Marie was later elected onto the Pugwash Council, where she also served her second term as chair of Council. The last annual conference that Marie was able to attend was in the Hague, before her illness made any further trips impossible.

Marie initially was in the Department of Political Science at the University of SA (UNISA), before she moved to the University of Pretoria in 1996, when she was appointed head of their Department of Political Science. While in this position, she initiated and established a Centre for International Political Studies (CIPS), which provided a much-needed forum on campus for political dialogue. In 2000 Marie was elected as Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, the first female dean ever in the largest faculty at the University of Pretoria. Her second term as Dean ended in 2008, just as her devastating diagnosis was made.

In 2010, Marie was unanimously selected as the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the South African Association for Political Studies (SAAPS).

In her citation, she was praised for embodying “the ideal of a true political scientist: somebody whose academic work continues to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of South Africa’s role and place in the world; a lecturer who inspires her students, and an activist for global peace and security in line with the Charter of the United Nations”.

Marie was an exceptional woman in every sphere of life. Her intelligence together with her sharp, amazing mind, coupled to extraordinary abilities made her a very complete, beautifully elegant and successful woman. In addition she was a very special friend, whom I have known since childhood. This friendship was further cemented through us attending many annual Pugwash conferences together around the world. My admiration for Marie grew more and more as she fought MSA over the last four years with so much dignity and courage.

My precious friend, the battle is over and at last you are free and at peace. The void you leave is huge, and you will be sorely missed by the whole Pugwash community, family and friends. Marie is survived by her 3 children, Daniel, Liebet and Frans and her husband, Andre Viljoen.

Nola Dippenaar Chair, South African National Pugwash Group

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