For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:  UNIS/SG/2539
Release Date:  10 April 2000
 Secretary-General, Receiving Honorary Citizenship of Florence,
Praises City’s Beauty, Culture, Commitment to Human Rights

  NEW YORK, 7 April (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan upon receiving honorary citizenship of the city of Florence, Italy, on 9 April:

 Thank you for those kind words.  I am deeply moved and grateful to the city of Florence for the honour you have bestowed on me.  But let me also say that the world, the United Nations and I myself have many, many reasons to be grateful to Florence.  

 Without your city, the cultural and political development of Europe would not have been what it was.  Without your artists, art would not have evolved the way we know it.  Without your treasures, the world would be a poorer place. 

 For your long-standing commitment to human rights, the United Nations owes you a special debt of gratitude.  Today, that commitment is reflected in the work of several institutions based in Florence, such as UNICEF's Innocenti International Child Development Centre, which is doing important research in support of the rights of the child; and the European University Institute, a leader in Europe's work on human rights.

 As for me personally, Florence and indeed Tuscany as whole mean a great deal.  And so they do to many people.  For the beauty and the richness we find here help us retain and restore the inner compass we all need to function well in this world.  

 My wife and I adore coming here, and it was a great treat to be able to spend my birthday here yesterday.  And so, Mr. Mayor and all the people of Florence:  you have made me a very happy man by giving me this honorary citizenship.  I hope to make use of it often.  A una cittá stupenda -- mille grazie.  

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