By
Cynthia Jhaveri
No comments yet
07 August, 2013

(Photo: Pontus Wallsten)
(Photo: Pontus Wallsten)
Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation, closed on 19 July the ‘Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy’ conference. His intervention, often humorous, was followed by a 45 minute session of animated Q&A.

After an overall presentation of his career path made by Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the ICRC and honorary president of Initiatives of Change International, Kofi Annan began his speech by saying how happy he was to return to Caux after his previous visit, in 2007. He then explored the challenges in human security matters posed by the economic environment, which evolved greatly these last few years. ‘I traveled the World and have talked to people, he said. People are angry; they don’t manage to pay their bills.’ According to him, there is a need to reestablish trust in the authorities.

He particularly emphasized the importance of the younger generation, crucial for the future (70 million young people without a job in the world) and on the best way to prepare them to their role: ‘Getting degrees for what purpose? Wouldn’t it better to give them vocational trainings? We have to take care of the young who have to work to maintain the older ones. It’s a real challenge protecting both.’ He also encouraged them to launch themselves into action: ‘Young people are determined to participate in civil society, to become young entrepreneurs, to become leaders. They just need help and advice. One is never too young to become a leader.’ Kofi Annan recently launched an initiative in this perspective with a series of interactive conversations with young people: the ‘Kofi Annan Dialogues LIVE’.

Kofi Annan also evoked the situation in Northern Africa and in the Middle-East. ‘People have taken their destiny in hand’, he noted. He nevertheless warned us against the effects of the streets, by underlining it shouldn’t overthrow real democracies: «The streets are not equivalent to parliaments or to elections.  About Syria, at the heart of the audience’s questions, he noted especially that the conflict should not expand to the greater region.

He concluded by mentioning the three pillars on which societies should build themselves: peace and security, economic development but also the rule of law and respect for human rights. The third pillar is often ignored: ‘No long-term development is possible without them. Every group of people must be respected. We have to lookout for each other and remain vigilant. Genocide begins with the humiliation of one individual.’

A journalist from Radio Chablais, a local Swiss radio (50,000 daily listeners), was in Caux. The radio has broadcast a report on Kofi Annan’s participation in TIGE.

The podcasts (in French) are available here:
20 July: (longer news broadcast several times)

19 July (news flash)

Related Posts