Kofi Annan attends the kick-off event of the Munich Security Council in Berlin.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Over the past five decades, the Munich Security Conference has developed a global reputation for bringing people from all sides together to talk.
After facilitating contacts between NATO and the USSR, Iran and the West, I am happy to see that the MSC is now helping Bavaria and Berlin come together too!
Humour aside, I am happy to serve as my friend Wolgang Ischinger’s ambassador to Berlin, to promote the second Munich Security Report and the upcoming conference to this distinguished audience.
Over the years, the MSC has evolved from a small, almost intimate, talking shop between American and German policy-makers into the world’s foremost security policy forum.
I think that the keys to its success are its informal character, its global reach, its lively debates and the wide variety of policy-makers and experts it attracts.
The MSC has brought many of those strengths to this publication, the Munich Security Report.
Just like the MSC, which has successfully grown out of its original focus on defence, the report takes a broad approach to security.
In addition to what you might expect to find in such a report, like analyses of Russian and Chinese foreign policy or the Syrian war, I was pleased to see that the report also looks at issues like refugee flows, health, climate change and cyber warfare.
This is a wise approach. Indeed, one of the main lessons of my own international career is the recognition of the interconnection of peace and security, development and human rights. They are the three pillars upon which human security rests.
In an age of rapid change, shifting balances of power and limitless information, we need places and institutions that can help us distinguish between fact and opinion and distinguish which trends are most important.
But as a famous German once said, “the point is not merely to understand the world, but to change it.” And the MSC does not just bring analysts to the table; it also brings the decision-makers.
Since mobilizing political will is the core business of my own Foundation, I shall be pleased to participate and I wish Ambassador Ischinger and his team another successful conference.