Press Releases

    4 October 2002


    NEW YORK, 3 October (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the memorial service for John Wallach, Founder of Seeds of Peace, New York, 3 October:

    Many people dream of peace in the world. Few devote their lives, hearts and minds to trying to make that dream come true. John Wallach was one of those few.

    John started, literally, with just the seeds of an idea – what he described as "a detox programme for the hatreds that often lead to violence and terror".

    And so the Seeds of Peace began, as an initiative that allowed Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian youths to meet and learn and appreciate one another.

    The seeds began and took hold and the project grew, to take in young people from more zones of conflict and tension.

    By now, the Seeds of Peace has brought together youths from many regions, youths from all over the world -- Bosnians and Serbs, Israelis and Palestinians, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and many others.

    Some of those young people are with us today. Their presence here speaks more eloquently than I ever could, about John Wallach’s work.

    But I will say that John’s leadership, commitment and compassion were an inspiration to us all.

    I will say that his vision and work have an enduring relevance. The world badly needs examples like his. And that has never been more true than it is today. Death took John away at a time when peace seems painfully elusive in many parts of the world – including the Middle East, where he first began his seeds of peace. It is precisely because John had the courage to keep going -- and because he knew that peace must begin with young people, who represent the future itself -- that his example is so important.

    Nobody understood that better than John’s own family.

    Janet, David and Michael, our thoughts and prayers go out to you today. John has left a legacy or wisdom and love that is a gift to us all. We will do our best to nurture it, so that it keeps growing stronger every day.

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