Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged United Nations staff to rise to the challenge presented by the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded jointly to the world body and its leader.
Speaking to a cheering crowd of UN workers as he entered the Organization's Headquarters in New York this morning, the Secretary-General asked his Deputy, Louise Fréchette, to read the Nobel Committee's citation, which states in part, "Through this first peace prize to the UN as such, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes in its centenary year to proclaim that the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by way of the United Nations."
The Secretary-General said to the staff, "as we listen to the citation we also realize the challenges given to us by the Nobel Committee, and I'm sure we will all rise up to the challenge."
"This is an indispensable Organization, but an Organization that can only work because of the staff and your dedication," said the Secretary-General. "Our staff are often on the front lines - in the past week alone we lost about 10 colleagues in Georgia and Afghanistan - and yet our staff keep at it, they are prepared to go to any corner of the world in service of peace and the work of the United Nations."
"Today that work has been recognized, we have won the Nobel Prize and I think it's a shot in the arm that is really deserved and needed, and I hope it will urge us forward and encourage all of us to tackle our tasks with even greater determination," he said. "If the UN has achieved anything it is because of the work that you do, and your dedication, and we look forward to many more years of that kind of service."
The UN system has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on five previous occasions. The award was given to the UN Peacekeeping Operations in 1988, while the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) received the prize in both 1954 and 1981. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) was awarded the Prize in 1965 and the International Labour Organization (ILO) received it in 1969.