2006 Prize awarded to Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations
Monday, November 20, 2006 at 8:00 pm, domaine La Pastorale, Geneva
A mutual attachment
Originally from Ghana, it was in Geneva that he studied international relations, started his career as an international civil servant at the World Health Organization (WHO), returned a few years later to work at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), met his wife and finally established a network of unfailing friendships, which led him to say that “Every citizen of the world, wherever he or she resides, is also a citizen of Geneva.
The Foundation for Geneva has been wholeheartedly committed to Mr. Kofi Annan. In 1998, it contributed with him to the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights; in 1999, to the ECOSOC gala evening; the following year, to the Geneva 2000 operation; in 2001, to the United Nations Open Days and to the campaign for Switzerland’s accession to the UN; and in 2005, to the 60th anniversary of the United Nations and the International Year of Microcredit. The projects initiated by the Foundation have always been carried out with the federal and Geneva authorities, who, like the Foundation for Geneva, have taken on board Kofi Annan’s wish to see more and more public/private partnerships established.
A clear vision for the UN
Convinced that only true cooperation between States could ensure peace and prosperity in the world, Kofi Annan has devoted his life to the United Nations. His long experience as an international civil servant and his intimate knowledge of the United Nations system led him to define the organization’s development objectives and to propose major reforms to achieve them. A visionary and unifying figure, he invites the private sector, the scientific community and civil society to work alongside States, because “it is only together, we the peoples of the United Nations, that we will be able to overcome poverty, disease, illiteracy and the deterioration of our environment”.
A major event at La Pastorale
More than 500 leading personalities – including representatives of the diplomatic community, federal, Geneva and Vaud authorities, academic, economic and cultural circles, the media and local civil society – gathered at La Pastorale on Monday, November 20, 2006, to pay a vibrant tribute to Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations.
Guillaume Pictet, President of the Fondation pour Genève, opened the ceremony with great emotion. The eulogy was delivered by Ivan Pictet, member of the Foundation for Geneva and friend of Kofi Annan. Admirably conducted by Françoise Demole, Vice-President of the Foundation, the ceremony gave way, after the speeches, to some jazzy notes orchestrated by four young trombonists from the Geneva Conservatory of Music.
The Mayor of the City of Geneva, Mr. André Hédiger, the President of the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, Mr. Pierre-François Unger, and the President of the Swiss Confederation, Mr. Moritz Leuenberger, each expressed their own attachment, as well as that of the federal and Geneva institutions, to the personality of Mr. Kofi Annan and his wife, and to the spirit with which he fulfilled his mandate as Secretary General of the United Nations.
From the solemnity of the formal greetings to the bursts of laughter provoked by the speech of the President of the Confederation, the praises followed one another like a harmonious crescendo to end with a Rumba. A few tunes later, Françoise Demole, accompanied by Guillaume Pictet, presented the Foundation’s Prize for Geneva to Mr. and Mrs. Kofi Annan, who were invited to come on stage to receive a diploma and two gifts. Mr. Annan, in turn, said a few words of thanks for the welcome that Geneva has always given him. The ceremony ended with a well-deserved ovation.
It was a couple touched by so many attentions and guests delighted to have been able to share this moment of intense emotion who left La Pastorale that evening.