16 January 1996

Press Release



LONDON, 15 January -- Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said today that the world was in the grip of two vast and opposing forces: globalization and fragmentation. Both were producing an array of problems, which had caused vast responsibilities to be given to the United Nations. But the United Nations, he said, could only help solve the problems if it was given the resources to do so.

The Secretary-General was speaking at the University of Oxford, where he delivered the 1996 Cyril Foster Lecture. The theme was "The Diplomatic Role of the United Nations Secretary-General", which he described as "absolutely central to the resolution of these issues and to create a synthesis whose shape we can as yet only envision". (See Press Release SG/SM/5870/Rev.1 of 15 January.)

The event, held at 5 p.m. at the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford University, was attended by a host of academics, including Professor Adam Roberts, Fellow of the British Academy; Montague Burton, Professor of International Relations, Balliol College, Oxford; Sir Crispin Tickell, Warden of Green College and former Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations; and Professor Robert O'Neill, Chichele Professor of the History of War, All Souls College, as well as hundreds of students and member of the public.

Before delivering the lecture, the Secretary-General paid a visit to OXFAM headquarters in Oxford. Addressing the staff, the Secretary-General said that the world acknowledged OXFAM's position at the forefront of international non-governmental activity. "The United Nations", he said "counts on non-governmental organizations as implementing partners". He expressed his appreciation for OXFAM's critical role in providing emergency humanitarian relief in situations of conflict and disaster all over the world. He praised their work in Rwanda, Angola, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Secretary-General referred to OXFAM's key role in the global campaign to eliminate the danger of anti-personnel mines, a cause to which he was personally committed. (See Press Release SG/SM/5972 of 15 January.)

The Secretary-General held talks earlier this morning in London with the Secretary-General of the Socialist International, Luis Ayala. They discussed

- 2 - Press Release SG/T/2023 16 January 1996

the role of political parties in international relations and their support for the United Nations.

At noon, the Secretary-General opened the new joint premises of the United Nations Information Centre in London and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), where he met with the staff and representatives of the United Nations family in London, including the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Bank, as well as representatives of the United Nations Association (United Kingdom), non- governmental organizations, Members of Parliament, the diplomatic corps and the media. He was accompanied by Assistant Secretary-General for Public Information Samir Sanbar. The Secretary-General stressed the need for close coordination and the exchange of information between the various offices of the United Nations.

In the evening, the Secretary-General was the guest of honour at a dinner hosted by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Malcolm Rifkind. Guests included senior government officials, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the United Nations Association (United Kingdom).

At 10 a.m. on Sunday, 14 January, the Secretary-General attended the special United Nations Fiftieth Anniversary Service at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, conducted by the Superintendent Minister, Dr. Peter Graves, and attended by the Lord Lieutenant of London, representing Her Majesty the Queen, Lord and Lady Bramall, as well as the Lord Mayor of Westminster, members of the diplomatic corps, the religious establishment and the general public.

The one-hour service, which was broadcast live on BBC1 television, included the singing of hymns, the showing of films about the United Nations and prayers for the work of the Organization, the children of the world and world peace.

* *** *

For information media. Not an official record.