For information only - not an official document.
Press Release No:  UNIS/SG/2568
Release Date:    18 May 2000
Greatest Prayer of Humankind Asks Not for Victory, but for Peace,
Says Secretary-General, at Inauguration of Peace Garden

 NEW YORK, 17 May (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the inauguration of the Cancer Society Peace Garden in New York on 17 May:

Thank you, Sylvia.  This is truly a great honour.  Allow me to thank George Barker, Nancy Hoffman, John Ingram and, of course, Calin and Wame for the beautiful designs that make up these mosaics.  Let me also thank the children of Bosnia and Croatia who inspired them, and the children of the United Nations International School (UNIS) who helped lay the pieces that compose them.

But more than anything, let me thank all concerned for choosing to devote this space to a peace garden.  While I work every day in a house dedicated to duty and debate in the service of peace, this Garden serves the same cause in silence and in stillness.  While the United Nations strives to work for world peace, this Garden aspires to create spiritual peace.  While the United Nations seeks to heal the wounds of war, this Garden is a place for inner healing.

The mosaics that surround us on these walls are dedicated to themes that go to the very heart of war and peace -- the themes of restoration, of forgiveness and of memory.  The violent century we have just left behind taught us the importance of those themes.  It taught us that the work of building the defences of lasting peace is never done.  It taught us that the restoration of peace requires us to forgive, but also to remember. 

And just as so many people came together to create this Garden, building peace is a construction project that requires everyone to work as a team.  Just as these mosaics consist of tens of thousands of stones, so we know that peace consists of many parts -- and that each part is indispensable to all the others.

I believe this is no less true in our daily lives than it is among the family of nations.  That is why the inspiration a garden like this can provide is so valuable.

And so, as we look at these mosaics in the days and years to come, let them serve as a source for the daily restoration of our inner peace.  For the healing of our faith, in the face of illness and adversity.  For the reconciliation of warring members of the family of nations, wherever they may be.  And for the resurrection of hope as we strive to meet the greatest prayer of humankind -- that which asks not for victory, but for peace.

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