Press Releases

    12 March 2004

    Challenges of Today’s “Global Village” -- Fear, Want, Environmental Degredation Must Be Addressed together Says Secretary-General at Ottawa Ceremony

    NEW YORK, 11 March (UN Headquarters) -- Following are Secretary-General’s Kofi Annan’s remarks on receiving honorary degrees from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa on 9 March:

    President Van Loon, Rector Patry, Distinguished Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and gentlemen,

    Thank you for those very kind words.  I am deeply touched to be honoured simultaneously by two of Canada’s great universities.

    I am happy to be here, in this country, which, since the establishment of the United Nations, has been one of its most loyal and most active allies.

    As we stand in this setting that speaks of Canada's relations with the world, I am reminded that it was a Canadian, Marshall McLuhan, who coined the words that best describe our world today:  we live in a global village.

    Ours is a world in which no individual, and no country, exists in isolation.  All of us live simultaneously in our own communities and in the world at large.

    We are consumers in the same global economy.  We are all influenced by a tide of political, social, environmental and technological change that knows few frontiers.  We are connected, and all of us are affected by the challenges of our age.

    We need to address those challenges together.  We need to work together to achieve freedom from fear, freedom from want, and freedom from degradation of our planet's resources.

    I believe Canadians -- true to the spirit of McLuhan -- have understood this better than most.  And that is why your country is such an invaluable ally of the United Nations.

    Equally, institutions of learning are of tremendous importance to our Organization.  They play a crucial role in instilling a global outlook in young people.  They explore new ideas that can advance and inspire the progress of humankind -- and the work of the United Nations.  They are catalysts for change, and custodians of the future.

    I know that Carleton University and the University of Ottawa, through their broad curriculum and your partnerships with other universities around the world, will have prepared their students well for the challenges ahead.

    Again, I thank you for honouring me and for wanting to make our global village a better, healthier and more peaceful place.

    * *** *

    * Reissued to include portions translated from French.