Returning to the United States college that he graduated from over three decades ago, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has hailed the inauguration of its newly created Institute for Global Citizenship as a step forward in fostering international understanding.
Addressing a convocation ceremony at Macalester College in Minnesota on Saturday, Mr. Annan said the mission of the Institute – to advance internationalism, multiculturalism and understanding – is more important than ever in today's world.
“Its launch could hardly come at a more crucial time in the life of the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular. More than ever before, the human race faces global problems – from poverty and inequality to nuclear proliferation, from climate change to bird flu, from terrorism to HIV/AIDS, from ethnic cleansing and genocide to trafficking in the lives and bodies of human beings. We need to come together and work out global solutions,” he said.
Mr. Annan added that those benefiting from the Institute would in turn contribute to refuting prevailing myths about the United States. “However you choose to carry out your mission as global citizens, I know you will keep demonstrating the fallacy of a certain perception of America – the perception of an insular America with no interest in or understanding of the world beyond these shores,” he said.
“As you do, I hope you will always look to the United Nations as a forum in which Americans, along with all the world's other peoples, can work together for freedom, prosperity and peace.”
The Secretary-General earned a bachelor's degree at Macalester in 1961.