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Kofi Annan's SNU Lecture

May 16, 2006

United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) Kofi Annan gave a special lecture themed, 'The Cooperative Relationship between Korea and the U.N.' on the morning of May 15 at Seoul National University (SNU).

Annan emphasized to the 600 SNU students who were present at his lecture to,"Go out to the world and make it even more prosperous."He continued to state,"The U.N. is a large organization and has taken part in many world events. Nevertheless, there are still so many issues that need to be resolved, such as the prevention of diseases and solutions for the scourge of famine."Annan encouraged,"I am expecting many talented youths in Korea to conduct great tasks with the U.N. Korea has been making radiant economic and democratic progress. Consequently, Korea's role within the U.N. has become and continues to be that much greater."Prior to Annan's lecture, SNU President, Chung Un-chun had introduced the UNSG,"It is a privilege for SNU to serve such a special guest. U.N. Secretary-General Annan is a 2001 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who is recognized for his credits to protect human rights and maintain international peace and safety."UNSG Annan arrived in Korea on the morning of May 14 in response to a Korean government invitation and will be staying for three days.

His official schedules include a courtesy call to President Roh Moo-hyun, a luncheon participation held under the auspice of National Assembly Chairman Kim Won-ki and talks with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ban Ki-moon.

UNSG Annan is from Ghana, Africa, and was inaugurated as UNSG in January 1997.

He had received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, becoming the first UNSG to receive the honor while in office.

May 16, 2006
SNU PR Office

Kofi Anan's Remarks at SNU
May 15, 2006

Thank you very much, President Chung, for your kind words.

And my dear young friends, it is a real pleasure for me to be here this morning with you. And I understand today is Teachers' Appreciation Day. And I hope you've all appreciated your teachers. Why don't you give them a hand to let them know you appreciate them. It's obvious that teachers are doing very well with that applause.

As Secretary-General, I make lots of speeches as you know, but this morning, I'm not going to make one. I would like to hear your views, and try to answer your questions. Really, I would want us to have a conversation. You will have the right, or you have the right to ask any question you want to ask. And I may reserve the right to refuse to answer any question I do not want to answer.

But let me just say briefly why this conversation is so important to me, and indeed to my colleagues at the United Nations.

The Republic of Korea is one of the great development success stories of our time. Your country's transformation from a war-torn nation to a democratic, prosperous state is something that all Koreans can be immensely proud of.

But with success comes responsibility. The Republic of Korea, with its remarkable experience in democracy and development, can and must make a leading contribution to our world. One important way it can do so is by working with the United Nations to advance the cause of peace, development and human rights.

Increasingly, this responsibility rests with you, the educated and empowered youth of Korea. You must dedicate yourselves to finding answers to our country's and our century's great challenges of poverty, disease, and environmental degradation. You must resolve to create not just a better world but a better country also.

You already have the skills and the knowledge required to make tremendous contributions to society. Today, I ask you to also make sure you have the courage and the commitment to do so.

If you take up this challenge, I assure you that you will find the United Nations a willing and able partner every step of the way.

As many of you know, the UN is currently in the midst of a process of reform and renewal. We're bringing a 20th century Organization into 21st century focus. We are increasing transparency in our management even as we strengthen and expand our field of operations worldwide. We're building our capacity to respond to natural disasters like Asia's tsunamis and earthquakes or Central America's hurricanes and mudslides. And we're putting particular emphasis on confronting global challenges that range from migration and youth unemployment, to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

As we renew our Organization and its structures, we look to concerned individuals everywhere to re-energize and reinvigorate our mission. This will happen if you join our struggle and we're looking to you.

As young Korean men and women, you are the bright and confident future of this great and ancient nation. I ask you to maintain your country's clear-eyed and constructive engagement with the world. I expect you to advance the high standard of global citizenship already set by your elders. I count on you to sustain our shared dream of peace for the next generation?here on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.

I say to you, as I have said to students in many other countries around the world, “go out and make the world better!”

I now want to hear from you, take your questions, hear your comments. Let's make it a really exciting conversation. The floor is open.