Kofi Annan Describes what Ordinary Citizens Can do to Help Bring About Change

July 13, 2016

Writing in The Guardian, former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, describes with simplicity and clarity how ordinary citizens can help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead on issues from drugs to climate change.

What does the illegal drugs trade have in common with the death toll from the Ebola epidemic? Or our collective failure so far to address climate change (the climate agreement in Paris marks the beginning, not the end, of the road) or the security council’s inability to stop the violence in Syria and Iraq? In each case – as with so many other crises in our world – they have at their heart a lack of political will and a failure of leadership. Narrow, short-term self-interests have overshadowed the understanding of how, in a truly global world, interdependent are our destinies. ...

The expertise, experience and evidence needed to solve ... pressing problems already exists. What holds us back is the lack of leadership that can galvanise the political will needed to deliver solutions. The world is experiencing a crisis of leadership, not a crisis of knowledge.

So how can ordinary citizens help bring about the change we need and encourage our leaders to actually lead? Let me give three clear answers: Vote, make some noise and use your power as a consumer.


Ban ki-Moon Speaks in Tel Aviv About The Battle for Minds in Today’s World

July 12, 2016

On June 27, soon after the UK referendum vote to leave the EU, UN Secretary-General spoke to students at Tel Aviv University, Israel.

He spoke of a tug of war going on in our world today – a push and pull in societies north and south, east and west. 

Never have we been so able to reach out and engage with the world.  At the same time, never in my years as Secretary-General have I seen such potent forces rising up in societies urging people to retreat.  Preying on insecurity.  Profiting on division.  Promoting fear. 
Turn inward, they say.  Build barriers.  It is our way or no way. 
I think perhaps the biggest war being waged today does not involve guns or tanks or fighter jets. 
The biggest confrontation is the battle for minds.  On the one hand, there are those who want to divide the world into “us and them”.  On the other, stand those who see humanity, in the words of the UN Charter, as “we the peoples”.

This short statement by the Secretary-General who is in the final months of his final term, deserves wide circulation.