Zitate Kofi Annan

„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.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: 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.

„We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further — we will realize that humanity is indivisible.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September, we see better, and we see further — we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races, nations or regions. A new insecurity has entered every mind, regardless of wealth or status. A deeper awareness of the bonds that bind us all — in pain as in prosperity — has gripped young and old.

„I arrived there straight from Africa“

—  Kofi Annan

and I can tell you, Minnesota soon taught me the value of a thick overcoat, a warm scarf and even ear-muffs!
Farewell Speech (2006)

„In this new century, we must start from the understanding that peace belongs not only to states or peoples, but to each and every member of those communities. The sovereignty of States must no longer be used as a shield for gross violations of human rights.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: A genocide begins with the killing of one man — not for what he has done, but because of who he is. A campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' begins with one neighbour turning on another. Poverty begins when even one child is denied his or her fundamental right to education. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life, all too often ends with a calamity for entire nations.
In this new century, we must start from the understanding that peace belongs not only to states or peoples, but to each and every member of those communities. The sovereignty of States must no longer be used as a shield for gross violations of human rights. Peace must be made real and tangible in the daily existence of every individual in need. Peace must be sought, above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.

„Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: Today, in Afghanistan, a girl will be born. Her mother will hold her and feed her, comfort her and care for her — just as any mother would anywhere in the world. In these most basic acts of human nature, humanity knows no divisions. But to be born a girl in today's Afghanistan is to begin life centuries away from the prosperity that one small part of humanity has achieved. It is to live under conditions that many of us in this hall would consider inhuman.
I speak of a girl in Afghanistan, but I might equally well have mentioned a baby boy or girl in Sierra Leone. No one today is unaware of this divide between the world’s rich and poor. No one today can claim ignorance of the cost that this divide imposes on the poor and dispossessed who are no less deserving of human dignity, fundamental freedoms, security, food and education than any of us. The cost, however, is not borne by them alone. Ultimately, it is borne by all of us — North and South, rich and poor, men and women of all races and religions.
Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security crises in another.

„The United Nations, whose membership comprises almost all the States in the world, is founded on the principle of the equal worth of every human being. It is the nearest thing we have to a representative institution that can address the interests of all states, and all peoples.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: The United Nations, whose membership comprises almost all the States in the world, is founded on the principle of the equal worth of every human being. It is the nearest thing we have to a representative institution that can address the interests of all states, and all peoples. Through this universal, indispensable instrument of human progress, States can serve the interests of their citizens by recognizing common interests and pursuing them in unity.

„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.“

—  Kofi Annan

World Civilisations: “ Bridging the World’s Divides http://kofiannanfoundation.org/newsroom/news/2010/10/history-world-100-objects-episode-98”. Lecture given at the British Museum London.
Kontext: 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.

„In a world filled with weapons of war and all too often words of war, the Nobel Committee has become a vital agent for peace. Sadly, a prize for peace is a rarity in this world. Most nations have monuments or memorials to war, bronze salutations to heroic battles, archways of triumph. But peace has no parade, no pantheon of victory.
What it does have is the Nobel Prize — a statement of hope and courage with unique resonance and authority.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: In a world filled with weapons of war and all too often words of war, the Nobel Committee has become a vital agent for peace. Sadly, a prize for peace is a rarity in this world. Most nations have monuments or memorials to war, bronze salutations to heroic battles, archways of triumph. But peace has no parade, no pantheon of victory.
What it does have is the Nobel Prize — a statement of hope and courage with unique resonance and authority. Only by understanding and addressing the needs of individuals for peace, for dignity, and for security can we at the United Nations hope to live up to the honour conferred today, and fulfil the vision of our founders. This is the broad mission of peace that United Nations staff members carry out every day in every part of the world.

„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.“

—  Kofi Annan

World Civilisations: “ Bridging the World’s Divides http://kofiannanfoundation.org/newsroom/news/2010/10/history-world-100-objects-episode-98”. Lecture given at the British Museum London.
Kontext: 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 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.“

—  Kofi Annan

Nobel lecture (2001)
Kontext: In every great faith and tradition one can find the values of tolerance and mutual understanding. The Qur’a, for example, tells us that "We created you from a single pair of male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other." Confucius urged his followers: "when the good way prevails in the state, speak boldly and act boldly. When the state has lost the way, act boldly and speak softly." In the Jewish tradition, the injunction to "love thy neighbour as thyself," is considered to be the very essence of the Torah.
This thought is reflected in the Christian Gospel, which also teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who wish to persecute us. Hindus are taught that "truth is one, the sages give it various names." And in the Buddhist tradition, individuals are urged to act with compassion in every facet of life.
Each of us has the right to take pride in our particular faith or heritage. But the notion that what is ours is necessarily in conflict with what is theirs is both false and dangerous. It has resulted in endless enmity and conflict, leading men to commit the greatest of crimes in the name of a higher power.
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.

„I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time — without UN approval and much broader support from the international community.“

—  Kofi Annan

"Iraq war illegal, says Annan" BBC News (16 September 2004) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3661134.stm; when asked if the invasion of Iraq was illegal, he replied "Yes, if you wish. I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter from our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal."

„The report [by a UN commission on Darfur] demonstrates beyond all doubt that the last two years have been little short of hell on earth for our fellow human beings in Darfur.“

—  Kofi Annan

Annan urges action to end 'hell on earth' in Darfur (17 February 2005) http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-02/17/content_417132.htm

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