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Kofi Annan and global thinking

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan may have been speaking to University at Buffalo students last night when he urged them to "think globally" but his words applied to each and every one of us in the crowd.Kofi

An elegant choice to kick off the 2009-10 Distinguished Speakers Series at UB's Alumni Arena, Annan brought a wide breadth of experience in his decision-making roles that affected outcomes on a world stage and includes a Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaking in low, mellifluous tones, Annan painted vivid images of difficult situations endured in Rwanda, Kosovo and other places once torn apart by civil unrest. Of course, he spoke of the long road yet ahead for Darfur.  

But he spoke about the interconnectedness of all nations and, as outlined in The News article on the event, emphasized collective responsibility, global prosperity, human rights and the rule of law, accountability and multilateralism.

With technology shrinking the world further and events on one side of the world directly impacting the other, it is impossible not to consider our place and the need to "think globally." And that extends to what role the United States should play and when. (Annan made clear his early objection to the Iraq War). It also extends to immigration policies and issues facing this and other countries. 

Annan's visit to Buffalo kicked off a series of erudite and enlightening speakers, all of whom undoubtedly will broaden our vision of where we stand.

Dawn Marie Bracely

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