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James Robinson, News Service (650) 723-5675;

United Nation's Annan to Speak at 2000 Commencement

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be the 2000 Commencement speaker, Stanford's senior class presidents announced Thursday.

Annan, of Ghana, became the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations in January 1997. His priorities as Secretary-General have been to revitalize the organization through a comprehensive program of reform and to strengthen the U.N.'s commitment to peace, development, human rights and the rule of law.

Annan was the top recommendation that senior class presidents Lynn Chiu, Chris Collins, Doug Mooney and Reiko Osaki made to President Gerhard Casper.

"I am delighted to accept the recommendation of the class presidents," Casper said. "This will be my last commencement as president, and I too will be eager to hear Mr. Annan's advice as I join the graduates in moving ahead to the next stage of life."

Chiu, speaking on behalf of the class presidents, said they were very enthusiastic about their choice and excited about Annan's acceptance of the offer to speak at Stanford commencement.

"As the class of 2000, we hope that Mr. Annan's speech will carry with it a message of wisdom and optimism about what it will mean to be a citizen of the world in the next millennium," she said. "His career in public service should serve as an example to graduates that our contribution need not just be local, but global as well."

Annan joined the United Nations in 1962. Prior to becoming Secretary-General, he held a variety of positions, culminating in service as Under Secretary-General in the mid-1990s. His tenure in that position coincided with unprecedented growth in the size and scope of United Nations peacekeeping operations, with a total deployment, at its peak in 1995, of almost 70,000 military and civilian personnel from 77 countries.

As Secretary-General, Annan's first major initiative was his plan for reform, which he has pursued with an emphasis on improving coherence and coordination of the organization. An April 1998 report to the Security Council was among several efforts to maintain the international community's commitment to Africa, the most disadvantaged of the world's regions. In addition, Annan has used the stature of the Secretary-General's office in an attempt to gain Iraq's compliance with Security Council resolutions as well as in his missions to help promote the transition to civilian rule in Nigeria and to resolve a stalemate between Libya and the Security Council over the 1988 Lockerbie bombing.

Stanford Commencement will be held on June 11, and is part of a two-day celebration for graduates, their families and friends and members of the Stanford community.



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