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I am pleased and honored to be joining you here today, at this extraordinary venture sponsored by Die Zeit Stiftung. The concept behind this summer program is excellent. It is precisely what the world needs today: networks of young, bright and dedicated women and men thinking about how we manage our shared lives on this small planet. Judging from your impressive resumes, the implementation is going equally well. Congratulations to you all, and my very best wishes.
It has been four months since I bid farewell to Kofi Annan and the many colleagues and friends I worked with at the United Nations the previous four years. Serving as the Secretary-General's chief adviser for strategic planning was a truly exhilarating experience - and in some ways an unexpected one in light of the fact that my academic work had always been a bit theoretical, if not obscure.
But it turns out that, under the right circumstances, theory and practice are not like oil and water, and they can mix well. The last few years have been such a time and the United Nations has been such a place.
Why? Because both theorists and practitioners are struggling to understand and grasp the forces of globalization that comprise the new matrix for international relations and, increasingly, for our daily lives. What I would like to do today is step back a bit and begin to reflect on the UN's efforts to come to grips with globalization.
Last September, the United Nations convened the Millennium Summit, bringing together kings, presidents and prime ministers from 149 countries to chart a course for the international community in the decades ahead. The overarching theme of the summit was the challenge of making globalization a positive force for all the world's people.
The leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration, setting out some clear priorities. None was deemed higher than halving world poverty by the year 2015. It was followed closely by a commitment to strengthen the UN's capacity to prevent conflict and to make and keep peace. Promoting good governance, human rights and the rule of law was also stressed.