Press Releases

    19 December 2002


    NEW YORK, 18 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of remarks as delivered by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the official naming of the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations on 17 December:

    Nane and I are delighted to be with you this evening, and I want to share with you how compassionate and sensitive the people of Seton Hall University are. This evening, I was made to believe that this event was brought to New York because last time Nane and I went to Seton Hall, we were stuck in a snowstorm. Everyone is taking pity on this little African boy. But you must not forget my wife is Swedish and she loves the snow.

    Institutions of learning are very important allies of the United Nations. The School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall has been a valuable partner, particularly during the recent Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations, suggested by President Khatami of Iran.

    Today, you name your school after an exceptionally steadfast friend of the United Nations –- who also happens to be a friend of mine.

    John Whitehead is a great leader in a public sense and a true internationalist, who has served his country by serving the world, and served the world by serving his country.

    Before, during and after his time as chairman of the United Nations Association of the United States, he has worked tirelessly to inform and educate the United States public about the work of the United Nations, and to influence the United States Government to make better use of the Organization, our Organization.

    At some of its most challenging times, he has passionately led the charge to defend and support the very idea of the United Nations, stating [and I quote] "What is at stake is nothing less than the idea of world community itself".

    John was one of the first to understand that the complex challenges of our age can often be tackled only in partnership -– by government, business and civil society working together. And perhaps that is not surprising, since his own career has successfully straddled all three of those worlds.

    John, I am delighted that this school is taking its name from such a distinguished world citizen -- and I hope generations of future world citizens will take after your example and serve the world and their countries the way you have.

    * *** *