In memoriam, Michael Cichon, 1953-2022

International Labour Organization, Social Protection Department - 04 January 2023

The Social Protection Department of the International Labour Organization (ILO) is very saddened to share the news of the passing away of the dear colleague and legendary director of the Social Security Department, Michael Cichon, on 30 December 2022.

Born on 29 October 1953, Michael joined the ILO in November 1986 with the Social Security Department as Senior actuary and health economist. Prior to joining the ILO, Michael worked in the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Between 1992 and 1995 Michael served as Senior Social Security Specialist in the ILO’s Advisory Team for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest. He returned to the Social Security Department in 1995 as Branch Chief of the Financial, Actuarial and Statistical Services Branch. He served as Director of the Social Security Department from May 2005 until his retirement from the ILO in December 2012.

After his retirement, Michael continued his passionate work in favour of universal social protection by engaging as the President of the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW) from 2013 to 2016. At the same time, he also continued his teaching activities as a Professor at the University in Maastricht, where he inspired generations of social protection experts who today carry on his legacy in governments, international organizations, academia and other contexts. He also strongly contributed to the Global Coalition on Social Protection Floors with studies and advice to strengthen the global momentum in favour of universal social protection.

<>Michael will be remembered for his brilliant mind, his humanism and compassion, his steadfast commitment to the values of the ILO, for having so ably supported ILO constituents in the adoption of the historic international labour standard, the Recommendation on Social Protection Floors (R. 202) in 2012, and his non-relenting commitment and efforts to ensure that the human right to social security is achieved for all. He has been part of the global social protection community from its humble beginnings, through show-and-tell-seminars, countless missions, meetings and exchanges, always inspiring, visionary, principled and pragmatic. Michael was an authority in the field of social protection, an inspiration, a role model and a teacher to us all, and at the same time, he was a wonderful human being with a big heart, always full of energy to make the world a better place.

Michael’s memory and legacy will live on, and we wish his family and close friends strength in dealing with his too-early departure.