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Margaret Bruce, 94, Former U.N. Deputy, Of Mount Kisco

Margaret "Molly" Bruce
Margaret "Molly" Bruce Photo Credit:

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Margaret "Molly" K. Bruce of Mount Kisco died Nov. 22 from a stroke. She was 94.

Born July 13, 1918, in Batley, England, she was the daughter of Percival Kitchen and Elizabeth Green Kitchen. She received a master's degree in modern languages from Cambridge University in 1945 and worked for the Foreign Office Research Department during World War II.

Bruce joined the conference staff for the first United Nations General Assembly held in London in 1946. She joined the U.N. Secretariat staff in New York in 1946, working at the temporary United Nations headquarters at Hunter College.

She married a fellow Secretariat member, William James Bruce, on June 28, 1952.

Margaret Bruce joined the human rights division at the U.N. in 1946. She served as secretary of the Commission on Human Rights, working directly with first lady Eleanor Roosevelt during the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In 1962, Bruce was appointed deputy director of the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs. In a 32-year career at the U.N., she presided over the World Conference on Human Rights and served as deputy secretary-general of the International Women's Year and the first World Conference on Women.

She traveled the world representing the secretary-general at conferences on human rights and the status of women. When she retired from the U.N. in 1977, she was the highest-ranking British woman in the Secretariat. The British government awarded her the Order of the British Empire in 1978.

After retirement, Bruce served on the national board of directors of the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) from 1995 to 2003. She was also a member of the board of directors of the southern New York division and the Westchester chapter, serving terms as president of both.

Bruce was active with the Association of International Civil Servants, serving as president from 1982 to 1984. She served as the first woman president of the Federation of Associations of Former International Civil Servants from 1985 to 1988.

Bruce is survived by a daughter, Anne E. Bruce; a son-in-law, William Sarokin; two granddaughters; and two nieces. She was predeceased by her husband and a brother, Stanley Kitchen.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the UNA-USA Southern New York Division .

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