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Photo: On December 10, 2001, the United Nations and its Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, on the 100th anniversary of the prestigious award. UN Photo/Sergey Bermeniev

By Kofi Annan

Beneath the surface of states and nations, ideas and language, lies the fate of individual human beings in need. Answering their needs will be the mission of the United Nations in the century to come, said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Following are extensive excerpts form his lecture – which is widely considered his legacy – at the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony on December 10, 2001 in Oslo. – The Editor

NEW YORK (IDN-INPS) – Today, in Afghanistan, a girl will be born. Her mother will hold her and feed her, comfort her and care for her – just as any mother would anywhere in the world. In these most basic acts of human nature, humanity knows no divisions. But to be born a girl in today’s Afghanistan is to begin life centuries away from the prosperity that one small part of humanity has achieved. It is to live under conditions that many of us in this hall would consider inhuman.

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