Kofi Annan

Kofi
Annan
1938

Ghanaian Diplomat, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Author Quotes

Both security and development ultimately depend on respect for human rights and the rule of law. ? Although increasingly interdependent, our world continues to be divided ? not only by economic differences, but also by religion and culture. That is not in itself a problem. Throughout history, human life has been enriched by diversity, and different communities have learnt from each other. But, if our different communities are to live together in peace we must stress also what unites us: our common humanity, and our shared belief that human dignity and rights should be protected by law.

I urge the Iraqi leadership for sake of its own people... to seize this opportunity and thereby begin to end the isolation and suffering of the Iraqi people.

It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.

States need to play by the rules towards each other, as well as towards their own citizens. That can sometimes be inconvenient, but ultimately what matters is not inconvenience. It is doing the right thing. No State can make its own actions legitimate in the eyes of others. When power, especially military force, is used, the world will consider it legitimate only when convinced that it is being used for the right purpose ? for broadly shared aims ?- in accordance with broadly accepted norms. ? No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; many do suffer from too little ? and the international community is among them. This we must change.

These values: compassion; solidarity; respect for each other - already exist in all our great religions. We can begin by reaffirming and demonstrating that the problem is not the Koran, nor the Torah nor the Bible. As I have often said, the problem is never the faith. It is the faithful, and how we behave towards each other. It is these great, enduring and universal principles which are also enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We can use these values ? and the frameworks and tools we have based on them - to bridge divides and make people feel more secure and confident of the future.

We have to choose between a global market driven only by calculations of short-term profit, and one which has a human face.

Business, labor and civil society organizations have skills and resources that are vital in helping to build a more robust global community.

I would add that this responsibility is not simply a matter of States being ready to come to each other?s aid when attacked ? important though that is. It also includes our shared responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity ? a responsibility solemnly accepted by all nations at last year?s UN world summit. That means that respect for national sovereignty can no longer be used as a shield by Governments intent on massacring their own people, or as an excuse for the rest of us to do nothing when heinous crimes are committed.

It is only through multilateral institutions that States can hold each other to account. And that makes it very important to organize those institutions in a fair and democratic way, giving the poor and the weak some influence over the actions of the rich and the strong.

The 20th century was perhaps the deadliest in human history, devastated by innumerable conflicts, untold suffering, and unimaginable crimes. Time after time, a group or a nation inflicted extreme violence on another, often driven by irrational hatred and suspicion, or unbounded arrogance and thirst for power and resources. In response to these cataclysms, the leaders of the world came together at mid-century to unite the nations as never before. A forum was created ? the United Nations ? where all nations could join forces to affirm the dignity and worth of every person, and to secure peace and development for all peoples. Here States could unite to strengthen the rule of law, recognize and address the needs of the poor, restrain man?s brutality and greed, conserve the resources and beauty of nature, sustain the equal rights of men and women, and provide for the safety of future generations.

This era of global challenges leaves no choice but cooperation at the global level. When States undermine the rule of law and violate the rights of their individual citizens, they become a menace not only to their own people, but also to their neighbors, and indeed the world. What we need today is better governance ? legitimate, democratic governance that allows each individual to flourish, and each State to thrive.

We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race. We all share the same basic values.

Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are conditions for development.

It need not be so. People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what ? and who ? we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings.

The idea that there is one people in possession of the truth, one answer to the world?s ills, or one solution to humanity?s needs, has done untold harm throughout history ? especially in the last century. Today, however, even amidst continuing ethnic conflict around the world, there is a growing understanding that human diversity is both the reality that makes dialogue necessary, and the very basis for that dialogue. We understand, as never before, that each of us is fully worthy of the respect and dignity essential to our common humanity. We recognize that we are the products of many cultures, traditions and memories; that mutual respect allows us to study and learn from other cultures; and that we gain strength by combining the foreign with the familiar.

Time and again, when member states and the governments are faced with an insoluble problem, and they're under pressure to do something, that something usually ends up being referred to the U.N.

We must ensure that the global market is embedded in broadly shared values and practices that reflect global social needs, and that all the world's people share the benefits of globalization.

Education is, quite simply, peace-building by another name. It is the most effective form of defense spending there is.

If one is going to err, one should err on the side of liberty and freedom.

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family

The intention was really to do something dignified, something that is honest and reflects the work that this Organization does. And it is with that spirit that the producers and the directors approached their work, and I hope you will all agree they have done that.

To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.

We need to create a world that is equitable, that is stable and a world where we bear in mind the needs of others, and not only what we need immediately. We are all in the same boat.

Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.

Author Picture
First Name
Kofi
Last Name
Annan
Birth Date
1938
Bio

Ghanaian Diplomat, Secretary-General of the United Nations