Global perspective Human stories

Swedish schoolchildren to plant 'diversity' trees as gift for Annan

Swedish schoolchildren to plant 'diversity' trees as gift for Annan

As a gift to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, schoolchildren from a small Swedish village have raised money to purchase multi-variety apple trees that can be seen to represent harmony among the diverse global community.

The three trees, to be planted by the children in the school garden of the village of Tällberg in the name of the Secretary-General, each produce four different varieties of apples on the same plant.

“This gift can be seen to represent the ideals of the UN,” said Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, who accepted the gift on behalf of Mr. Annan in Tällberg, where he is attending an environmental forum. “The harmony of different types of apples on the same tree symbolizes unity in diversity.”

The children expressed the hope that the Secretary-General would visit the school next year to see “his” trees.

In a video message to the Forum, Mr. Annan said that the questions the schoolchildren of Tällberg have written to him – ranging from what can be done about the lack of clean to who will assume responsibility for ending poverty and starvation – “cut right to the core of what affects us most as human beings.”

They were also the kind of questions the UN is focusing on in this, its 60th anniversary year. “To address them, we must accept that development, security and human rights are not only ends in themselves – they reinforce each other, and depend on each other,” said Mr. Annan.