For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No: UNIS/GA/1674
Release Date: 4September 2000
At Headquarters Press Conference, General Assembly President Praises Book “Imagining Tomorrow:  Rethinking the Global Challenge”

NEW YORK, 1 September (UN Headquarters) – Following are the remarks of the President of the General Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab (Namibia) at the press conference held to launch the book Imagining Tomorrow:  Rethinking the Global Challenge in New York on 1 September:

If Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma were born in Usakos – my home town – in Namibia rather than in the Indian holy city of Benares, we would have surely adorned him with accolades of a rainmaker god.  You are all aware that water is the most precious commodity in Namibia, not diamonds.

He is a gentleman of high integrity and learning.  Ambassador Sharma makes things happen without much effort.  His consistency and reliability are exemplified by his aristocratic bearing, albeit with a gentle touch and a warm heart, and these qualities are most admirable.   May I hasten to add, though, in connection with consistency, that the great Mahatma Gandhi is said to have told a British colonial official that consistency was a unique characteristic of a donkey.  This, of course, does not apply here in the case of our distinguished Ambassador.

Well, now a word about the project which brings us together at this place and at this time.  The timing of the release of this important book is as most propitious as it is praiseworthy.  The book is an extensive compendium of thought-provoking essays written by eminent personalities, each one of them a recognized authority in their respective fields of competence.  In its totality, the book deals with the challenges of globalization we face today, as well as the acute social problems and human relations that cry out for our collective attention and amelioration, as we enter the twenty-first century and the new millennium.

The speechwriters of the world leaders who will gather at the United Nations for the Millennium Summit, in the course of the next several days, will be richly aided by the inexhaustible and current information that is contained between the two covers of this book.  It contains research findings, records of discussions and experiences, as well as new and bright ideas concerning our common destiny and well-being in this our one dwelling place – the planet Earth.

Ambassador Sharma, in addition to the other sterling qualities I alluded to earlier, combines his intellectual prowess with an admirable proclivity for going after knowledge, which he tries to share and spread around for others to benefit from.  I admire him highly and express my deep respect for his endeavours.

Earlier on, Ambassador Sharma persuaded me and other friends and associates to contribute poems for inclusion in an anthology, which will be published during the course of this year under the title of “Milles Fleurs”.  But this book, entitled, Imagining Tomorrow: Rethinking The Global Challenge, which we are gathered here to launch, is a much greater and, I daresay, a much rewarding enterprise for Ambassador Sharma.

We must welcome and congratulate the outstanding cast of contributors to this compendium, both from the South and from the North, and express our debt of gratitude to them for their generosity of spirit and for their scholarship.  The very topical subjects range from development through poverty and hunger, globalization, democracy and human rights, and a vision for the future.

I highly recommend this thought-provoking book to statesmen, businessmen, academics, religious leaders, diplomats, students and, no less, grass-roots activists.  When I wrap up my tour of duty as United Nations General Assembly President in a few days time, I will make use of it as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Information and Broadcasting back home.

In conclusion, let me express to you, Ambassador Sharma, my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for selecting me to officiate, on this auspicious occasion to release this weighty and essential book of ideas, insights, prescriptions for public policy and guidelines for discussion and action in the service of humanity and to preserve our planet for ourselves and the future generations.

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