A lot of food for thought in this post. In this address, Kofi Annan talks about social injustice and other problems in Africa but really, it can be applied to any continent or country in the world. The two aspects that struck me the most -because they are the closest to my heart, are non-acceptance of diversity and high tolerance to violence.
“Societies which embrace diversity as a source of strength become healthier, more stable and prosperous. In those which do not, whole communities can feel marginalized and oppressed, creating conditions for conflict.”
On high tolerance for violence:
“Violence towards those who are different from us, or who we disagree with is unacceptable, and has no place in healthy societies. We have to learn from each other, making our different traditions and cultures a source of harmony and strength.”
Yesterday, I watched former Secretary General of the United Nations and member of The Elders Kofi Annan give an address that resonated with me. Mr. Annan touched on issues of governance, rule of law and social justice that seemed to me of great relevance to Jamaica also. Through the wonders of broadband Internet, the speech was live streaming into our living room in Kingston, Jamaica from the University of Western Cape in South Africa, where Mr. Annan was delivering the Third Annual Desmond Tutu International Peace Lecture on the Archbishop’s 82nd birthday.
The “Arch” (as the moderator called him) was there too, of course; he is also a member of The Elders, a non-governmental organization of visionary elder statesmen/women committed to peace and human rights. We were treated to his delightful humor and infectious giggle before the start of the speech, by the way. But on a serious…
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