All things are connected
Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary General of the United Nations and joint winner with the UN of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize, photographed in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, 17 September 2011. The previous day Annan has spoken at the Oxford Analytics Conference on Restoring Global Trust and Confidence.
The grandson of tribal chiefs from Kumasi, Ghana, Annan was considered by Democrat Richard Holbrooke, “the best secretary general in the history of the United Nations,” but Annan’s view that the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq was illegal as it did not conform to the UN charter, means he is seen less favourably by Republican poilticians in the United States.
During his Oxford speech Annan spoke of the need for multilateral cooperation rather than confrontation.
“From Tahir Square to Puerta del Sol, in the streets and plazas of many countries, we have already seen popular movements demanding social justice, respect for human dignity, and accountable and responsive Governments.
This is a challenging and uncertain time.
But if we respond with courage and in the right way, it could also be the springboard to a more peaceful, prosperous and fairer world.”
Kofi Annan served two five-year terms as Secretary General of the United Nations, the first term of his successor Ban Ki-moon ends in December.
• The line “All things are connected” comes from the perhaps fictional, but no less eloquent letter to the US government from Chief Seattle, patriarch of the Duwamish and Suquamish Indians of Puget Sound, the site of modern Seattle.
• The Kofi Annan Foundation “works to promote better global governance and strengthen the capacities of people and countries to achieve a fairer, more secure world.”
Text © 2011 Graham Harrison