Never walk

"Never walk into an environment and assume that you understand it better than the people who live there," - Kofi Annan (Ex. Secretary General of United Nation)

To young people who want to know what they can do for the world, Annan offers this advice:

"Always start by learning and looking around you. Get to know people whose lives are different from yours. Find out what you have in common with them. Build bridges of understanding with them. It is only by doing so that we can truly appreciate the worth of others. We do so whether we are sharing our lunch with someone sitting next to us, or exchanging email greetings with someone at the other end of the world.

"Computers and modems help us talk and listen to each other across oceans. But that would not do us much good if we did not already have a lot in common. Every society needs shared values: for our global society, that is respect for our equal human rights. We may have different religions, different languages, different coloured skins – but we all belong to one human race. We are all part of the same human family – and when one part of that family does well, we all do better. So we want to help others to have the same opportunities we have.

"Once you have created a bridge with others, keep it open by talking to each other and, above all, by listening. This is what I try to do in my job as Secretary-General, because I know that once I have built up trust with someone, we can work to change things together. So can you. When you see something that is wrong, no matter how big the problem is, ask yourself: Who else would like to change this? How can we work together? Take action with others who share your conviction. Have the courage to believe you can make a difference. As with everything in life, small steps count. If something has not been done before, it does not mean it can't be done; it only means you could be the first to do it."

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