|Noble Prize: Nobody's Perfect
"The route to global peace and cooperation goes by way of the
United Nations," announced the Nobel Peace Prize Committee as
it awarded the centennial prize to the United Nations and to its
Secretary General Kofi Annan. It was a shared award; half a prize
for each, as Annan humorously explained. Speaking at the annual
correspondents' dinner, he said with a smile, "Nobody's perfect."
The timing seemed to indicate recognition of past achievements
and the expectation of a future role. It was a vindication for
all those who devoted their careers and risked their lives for
The personal triumph of Kofi Annan was a welcome bonus. In fact,
the timing of the award after a renewal of his term, and the complications
of September 11, reflects his role in obtaining the prize for
the organization. Clearly, the expectation is that the UN is to
be a leading venue-if not the main venue-for the international
struggle against terrorism. How that effort will be shaped remains
to be seen. The Secretary General ensured that the UN will play
a central role. Member states seem to be on the same wavelength.
Now that expectations are high, the challenge is even greater.
Clearly, the Nobel committee's centennial award was a timely vote
of confidence in the UN as representative of an enduring universal
Meanwhile, what about the million dollars? How will it be spent?
Half belongs to Kofi Annan, the other half to the organization.
During a meeting with heads of agencies, the Secretary General
reviewed the appropriate channels for distribution.