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  • "Barney's work at the United Nations in Education,..."
    - David J. Andrews
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  • "My condolences to you. You had such wonderful parents. ..."
  • "Barney was a great mentor and friend. He will be missed. ..."
  • "Barney was a giant, a regal lion and my Rotary hero. I..."
    - Richard Martin
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WWII Vet, PR Pioneer and Rotary Representative to the UN. Sylvan (Barney) Barnet died January 7 after complications from cancer surgery according to his family. His career spanned seventy years in international communications in the fields of publishing, public relations, advertising, and government and as a long serving representative of Rotary International to the United Nations. He received many honors, among them the Public Relations Society of America's 2004 Atlas Award (to both he and his partner Arthur Reef) for Lifetime Achievement in International PR, a field they helped pioneer. In 2006, the United Nations Association gave him its Eleanor Schnurr award for his tireless service to the UN NGO community. Recently, Rotary International and the Rotary Club of New York gave him the Rotary Award of Honor-the highest award for outstanding lifetime service. Sylvan M. Barnet was born August 5, 1919 in Elberon, NJ, the only child of Sylvan and Margaret Barnet. He was educated at Columbia Grammar, Horace Mann and Lawrenceville schools and received his BA from Yale in 1940. He served as a reserve officer in The United States Navy throughout WWII, saw action in both the Atlantic and South Pacific theaters, graduated from the Naval War College and served twice on the staff of Admiral King, Chief of Naval Operations. He left the Navy as a Lt. Commander. In 1954, Barnet became the General Manager of the European Edition of The New York Herald Tribune in Paris. In 1959, he formed Barnet and Reef, PR International with Arthur Reef. In 1965, he joined the Department of Commerce as Deputy Director of the US Travel Service to promote both international tourism and business development in the US. He returned to the private sector in 1968 as Vice President Public Relations and Area Development at American Airlines. Years later he served as Deputy Executive Director of the International Advertising Association. Barnet joined The New York chapter of Rotary International in 1987. He held posts as Representative to the United Nations and Vice Chairman of Rotary International. At the UN, he served as Chair of The NGO Executive Committee, and a member of the NGO Committees on Sustainable Development, and Population and Development. He founded the NGO Committee on Education. When asked in an interview for the July 2009 edition of Rotarian Magazine, "Why do we need the UN?" He answered: "With all its faults, the UN is the only place in the world where it all comes together. Newspapers mainly report on the Security Council, so people don't realize that 80 percent of the UN's work is humanitarian. No other place has [so much] information and resources, and all these people coming together, including civil society (NGOs). That's got to be worth something." Barnet was an avid painter, golfer and reader of American and military history. He and his wife of 68 years, DeeDee, travelled widely; they supported many charities and read regularly to the blind. He was active in Yale Alumni affairs all his life. Sylvan (Barney) Barnet is survived by his two sons, Peter and Bruce, three grandchildren: Kimberly Stokes, Cristi Sauser and Christopher Barnet and four great grandchildren: Bode, Daisy, Tyler and Colin. His wife, DeeDee, died in 2009.

Published in The New York Times on Jan. 18, 2015
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