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Annan says Macalester College is a true ally of United Nations

Annan says Macalester College is a true ally of United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, today said the engagement of his former school, Macalester College, withthe international community debunks the myth that Americans are insularand have no interest or understanding of other peoples and cultures.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said the engagement of his former school, Macalester College, with the international community debunks the myth that Americans are insular and have no interest or understanding of other peoples and cultures.

"Macalester's global outlook shows us a very different reality. It gave those of us who studied there in my day a head-start in a world that has since become more closely integrated than any of us then imagined," the Secretary-General remarked at a United Nations dinner with the College's President and Board of Trustees, who visited him at UN headquarters.

Mr. Annan said a sense of solidarity ran through the school's international engagement. "Macalester welcomed Japanese-American students who had been interned during World War II; German Jewish faculty members who had survived the horrors of the Holocaust and young people fleeing the communist repression in Eastern Europe."

He said the College's celebration of diversity and its understanding of shared humanity made the institution "a true ally of the United Nations and an inspiration in the challenging times we live in."

The Secretary-General recalled various programmes that fostered the international spirit of Macalester. "There was the Ambassadors for Friendship Program which took me - along with an Iranian, an Indian and a Japanese - on a caravan journey to discover America beyond Minnesota," he said.

He also looked back on the "Span Club," which sold sandwiches in order to raise funds for students to study abroad, as well as the school's soccer team, at the time made up of players from 11 different countries.

Located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Macalester College was founded in 1874 and currently has students from 78 countries. The Secretary-General completed his undergraduate work in economics there in 1961.