Press Releases

    1 November 2002


    NEW YORK, 31 October (UN Headquarters) -- This is the text of remarks by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at a memorial service in New York on 30 October for former United States Secretary of State Cyrus Vance:

    We are here today to honour Cy’s life and work, and to recall the many ways in which he inspired us -– and many more around the world -– to serve the common interest. Cy is remembered for his distinguished and principled service to his country -- at home and abroad.

    But he served the United Nations with equal commitment and passion, driven by his belief that in many cases the global interest and the national interest are one and the same -– that a world of order requires a world of laws.

    From Cyprus to the Balkans and to many other conflict areas, he brought his unique ability to listen to parties steeped in decades of hatred and mistrust, and to advise them without fear or favour. It was not that he didn’t appreciate the depth of differences between the parties, but rather that he knew those differences could often be resolved peacefully –- to the benefit of both sides.

    Cy was a very dear friend of mine -- and of many others here, I know. He inspired trust and affection from peers, colleagues and students alike. I never hesitated to seek his counsel at the most trying moments, with the most difficult questions. His clarity of vision, his firmness of resolve, and his willingness to live with the consequences of a principled position continue to represent model of statesmanship with few peers.

    Cy always looked beyond personal interest and national borders to see, and to advance, a common future based on shared values with peace and opportunity for all. He showed, in deeds far more than in words, what it means to be a true citizen of the world. The world is in his debt.

    We who are gathered are indebted to Cy perhaps not so much for his service to the world, but for the manner in which he led his life –- an example to all of us of what we can do for others, and for a better world.

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