RUNIC Press Release
08 May 2004
ON RECEIPT OF THE FOUR FREEDOMS AWARD
Middelburg, The Netherlands, 8 May 2004
I am so sorry not to be with you in person today. The Four Freedoms
Award is a very great honour, which has special meaning for me because
of its connection with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.
FDR is a hero, and a constant source of inspiration, to all of us
who work at the United Nations.
The United Nations had many founders. But he, beyond doubt, was pre-eminent
He it was who, in the midst of the epic struggle against Nazi barbarism
and aggression, determined that neither America nor the world should
ever have to go through such a conflict again.
Nane Annan accepted the Award on behalf of the Secretary-General
it was who vowed to build a permanent global security system, which
in the future would curb any tendencies towards aggression before
they got out of hand.
He saw that United States interests would best be served by binding
the other great Powers into a system of collective security, which
would, as the Charter puts it, "save succeeding generations from
the scourge of war".
Sadly, he did not live to see the Organization come into existence.
But before he died, he had persuaded other world leaders to share
No less important, he had persuaded his own countrymen to do so –
Republicans as well as Democrats. Ever since then, American Presidents
of both parties have worked with other countries, in and through the
United Nations, to achieve things that were important both for America
and for the world. The United Nations is not, and should never be,
an issue of partisan politics, in any of its member states.
Nor should we forget Eleanor Roosevelt’s towering contribution
to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which started the United
Nations on its other great destiny, as the forum for setting worldwide
norms and standards.
The Four Freedoms that FDR had proclaimed are the very core of that
Declaration, as they are of the United Nations Charter.
Their importance for democracy, and for the world in general, cannot
So once again I thank you for this great honour, and I thank Her Majesty
Queen Beatrix for honouring this ceremony with
* * * * *
Freedoms Medal for Secretary-General Kofi Annan" : article
by the UN Chronicle online edition.
United Nations Information Centre for Western Europe
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