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					I Have a Dream (Martin Luther King Jr. – August 28, 1963)
(Full Text: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm)
(Video: http://www.archive.org/details/MartinLutherKing_I_have_a_dream_settomusicMercuryFeelings)

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for
freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the
Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of

Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to
end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is
still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years
later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One
hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an
exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote
the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a
promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes,
black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as
her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the
Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are
insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we've come to cash this check, a
check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time
to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to
make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of
segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of
racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's
children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the
Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.
Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow
off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.
And there will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights.
The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of
justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into
the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.
Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We
must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our
creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic
heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of
all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to
realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is
inextricably bound to our freedom.

We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.

We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be
satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be
satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the
highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a
smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self-
hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a
Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No,
no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and
righteousness like a mighty stream."

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have
come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for
freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality.
You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering
is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia,
go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this
situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream
deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former
slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice,
sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by
the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips
dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black
boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and
brothers.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low,
the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the
Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.

With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we
will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail
together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

And this will be the day -- this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new
meaning:

My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountainside, let freedom ring!
And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.
And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.
Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York.
Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.
Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.
But not only that:
Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi.
From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every
hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children,
black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing
in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

        Free at last! Free at last!
        Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
A Whisper of AIDS (Mary Fisher – August 19, 1992)
(Full Text: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/maryfisher1992rnc.html)
(Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vTKDFcRDLY & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zu0rqwuv_E)

Less than three months ago, at platform hearings in Salt Lake City, I asked the Republican Party to lift the shroud of
silence which has been draped over the issue of HIV/AIDS. I have come tonight to bring our silence to an end.

I bear a message of challenge, not self-congratulation. I want your attention, not your applause. I would never have
asked to be HIV-positive. But I believe that in all things there is a good purpose, and so I stand before you and
before the nation, gladly.

The reality of AIDS is brutally clear. Two hundred thousand Americans are dead or dying; a million more are
infected. Worldwide forty million, or sixty million or a hundred million infections will be counted in the coming few
years. But despite science and research, White House meetings and congressional hearings, despite good intentions
and bold initiatives, campaign slogans and hopeful promises-despite it all, it's the epidemic which is winning
tonight.

In the context of an election year, I ask you-here, in this great hall, or listening in the quiet of your home-to
recognize that the AIDS virus is not apolitical creature. It does not care whether you are Democrat or Republican. It
does not ask whether you are black or white, male or female, gay or straight, young or old.

Tonight, I represent an AIDS community whose members have been reluctantly drafted from every segment of
American society. Though I am white and a mother, I am one with a black infant struggling with tubes in a
Philadelphia hospital. Though I am female and contracted this disease in marriage, and enjoy the warm support of
my family, I am one with the lonely gay man sheltering a flickering candle from the cold wind of his family 's
rejection.

This is not a distant threat; it is a present danger. The rate of infection is increasing fastest among women and
children. Largely unknown a decade ago, AIDS is the third leading killer of young-adult Americans today-but it
won't be third for long. Because, unlike other diseases, this one travels. Adolescents don't give each other cancer or
heart disease because they believe they are in love. But HIV is different And we have helped it along. We have killed
each other-with our ignorance, our prejudice, and our silence.

We may take refuge in our stereotypes but we cannot hide there long. Because HIV asks only one thing of those it
attacks: Are you human? And this is the right question: Are you human? Because people with HIV have not entered
some alien state of being. They are human. They have not earned cruelty and they do not deserve meanness. They
don't benefit from being isolated or treated as outcasts. Each of them is exactly what God made: a person. Not evil,
deserving of our judgment; not victims, longing for our pity. People. Ready for support and worthy of compassion.

My call to you, my Party, is to take a public stand no less compassionate than that of the President and Mrs. Bush.
They have embraced me and my family in memorable ways. In the place of judgment, they have shown affection. In
difficult moments, they have raised our spirits. In the darkest hours, I have seen them reaching not only to me, but
also to my parents, armed with that stunning grief and special grace that comes only to parents who have
themselves leaned too long over the bedside of a dying child.

With the President's leadership, much good has been done; much of the good has gone unheralded; as the
President has insisted, "Much remains to be done."

But we do the President's cause no good if we praise the American family but ignore a virus that destroys it. We
must be consistent if we are to b believed. We cannot love justice and ignore prejudice, love our children and fear
to teach them. Whatever our role, as parent or policy maker, we must act as eloquently as we speak-else we have
no integrity.

My call to the nation is a plea for awareness. If you believe you are safe, you are in danger. Because I was not
hemophiliac, I was not at risk. Because I was not gay, I was not at risk. Because I did not inject drugs, I was not at
risk.

My father has devoted much of his lifetime to guarding against another holocaust. He is part of the generation who
heard Pastor Niemoeller come out of the Nazi death camps to say, "They came after the Jews and I was not a Jew, so
I did not protest. They came after the Trade Unionists, and I was not a Trade Unionist, so I did not protest. They
came after the Roman Catholics, and I was not a Roman Catholic, so I did not protest. Then they came after me, and
there was no one left to protest."

The lesson history teaches is this: If you believe you are safe, you are at risk. If you do not see this killer stalking
your children, look again. There is no family or community, no race or religion, no place left in America that is safe.
Until we genuinely embrace this message, we are a nation at risk.

Tonight, HIV marches resolutely towards AIDS in more than a million American homes, littering its pathway with
the bodies of the young. Young men. Young women. Young parents. Young children. One of the families is mine. If it
is true that HIV inevitably turns to AIDS, then my children will inevitably turn to orphans.

My family has been a rock of support. My 84-year-old father, who has pursued the healing of the nations, will not
accept the premise that he cannot heal his daughter. My mother has refused to be broken; she still calls at mid-
night to tell wonderful jokes that make me laugh. Sisters and friends, and my brother Phillip (whose birthday is
today)-all have helped carry me over the hardest places. I am blessed, richly and deeply blessed, to have such a
family.

But not all of you have been so blessed. You are HIV-positive but dare not say it. You have lost loved ones, but you
dared not whisper the word AIDS. You weep silently; you grieve alone.

I have a message for you: It is not you who should feel shame, it is we. We who tolerate ignorance and practice
prejudice, we who have taught you to fear. We must lift our shroud of silence, making it safe for you to reach out
for compassion. It is our task to seek safety for our children, not in quiet denial but in effective action.

Some day our children will be grown. My son Max, now four, will take the measure of his mother; my son Zachary,
now two, will sort through his memories. I may not be here to hear their judgments, but I know already what I
hope they are.

I want my children to know that their mother was not a victim. She was a messenger. I do not want them to think,
as I once did, that courage is the absence of fear; I want them to know that courage is the strength to act wisely
when most we are afraid. I want them to have the courage to step forward when called by their nation, or their
Party, and give leadership-no matter what the personal cost. I ask no more of you than I ask of myself, or of my
children.

To the millions of you who are grieving, who are frightened, who have suffered the ravages of AIDS firsthand: Have
courage and you will find comfort. To the millions who are strong, I issue this plea: Set aside prejudice and politics
to make room for compassion and sound policy.

To my children, I make this pledge: I will not give in, Zachary, because I draw my courage from you. Your silly
giggle gives me hope. Your gentle prayers give me strength. And you, my child, give me reason to say to America,
"You are at risk." And I will not rest, Max, until I have done all I can to make your world safe. I will seek a place
where intimacy is not the prelude to suffering.

I will not hurry to leave you, my children. But when I go, I pray that you will not suffer shame on my account.

To all within sound of my voice, I appeal: Learn with me the lessons of history and of grace, so my children will not
be afraid to say the word AIDS when I am gone. Then their children, and yours, may not need to whisper it at all.

God bless the children, and bless us all.
54th Annual EMMY Awards (Oprah Winfrey – September 22, 2002)
Oprah Winfrey Receives the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
(Full Text: http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/Oprah-Winfrey/)
(Video [spoken by someone else]: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiV3W3vCZJY)

"Thank you everybody. But you know what, I feel like I should be giving this award to the people, to the
people who have been supporting me all these 18 years on this most amazing journey. Thank you Tom,
and Bob and Dolores, who are home watching I hope, thank you so much, and to everyone who voted for
me. I really do thank you all.

There really is nothing more important to me than striving to be a good human being. So, to be here
tonight and be acknowledged as the first to receive this honor is beyond expression in words for me. 'I
am a human being, nothing human is alien to me.' Terence said that in 154 B.C. and when I first read it
many years ago, I had no idea of the depth of that meaning.

I grew up in Nashville. On TV there was only buckwheat and I was 10 years old before I saw Diana Ross
on the Ed Sullivan show with The Supremes and I said, “I want to be like that.” It took me a long time to
realize I was never going to have Diana’s Ross’s thighs no matter how many diets I went on and I wasn’t
going to have her hair either unless I bought some. I came to the realization after being on television.

I was born in 1954 and I grew up with my father who owned a barbershop, Winfrey's Barber Shop; he
still does, I can't get him to retire. And every holiday, every holiday, all of the transients and the guys who
I thought were just losers who hung out at the shop, and were always bumming haircuts from my father
and borrowing money from my dad, all those guys always ended up at our dinner table. They were a cast
of real characters—it was Fox and Shorty and Bootsy and Slim. And I would say, “Bootsy, could you pass
the peas please?” And I would often say to my father afterwards, “Dad, why can't we just have regular
people at our Christmas dinner?”—because I was looking for the Currier & Ives version. And my father
said to me, “They are regular people. They're just like you. They want the same thing you want.” And I
would say, “What?” And he'd say, “To be fed.” And at the time, I just thought he was talking about dinner.
But I have since learned how profound he really was, because we all are just regular people seeking the
same thing. The guy on the street, the woman in the classroom, the Israeli, the Afghani, the Zuni, the
Apache, the Irish, the Protestant, the Catholic, the gay, the straight, you, me—we all just want to know
that we matter. We want validation. We want the same things. We want safety and we want to live a long
life. We want to find somebody to love. Stedman, thank you. We want to find somebody to laugh with and
have the power and the place to cry with when necessary.

The greatest pain in life is to be invisible. What I've learned is that we all just want to be heard. And I
thank all the people who continue to let me hear your stories, and by sharing your stories, you let other
people see themselves and for a moment, glimpse the power to change and the power to triumph.

Maya Angelou said, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” I want you to know that this award to
me means that I will continue to strive to give back to the world what it has given to me, so that I might
even be more worthy of tonight's honor.

I think you for the opportunity to speak and talk and to use my voice in a way that I believe is a force for
something really good on the air. So I will continue to do that. Thank you.
U.S. Election Victory Speech (Barack Obama – November 5, 2008)
(Full Text: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/3383629/Barack-Obamas-US-
Election-victory-speech-full-text.html)
(Video: http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/results/president/speeches/obama-victory-speech.html)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still
wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our
democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never
seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives,
because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino,
Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the
world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the
United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and
doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward
the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in
this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. Senator
McCain fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he
loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better
off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all
they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the
months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men
and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the
Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen
years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha
and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the
White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the
family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team
ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what
you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many
endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of
Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and
ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the
myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay
and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on
the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and
proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people
has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you
understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the
challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst
financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking
up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers
and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage,
or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be
created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term,
but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we
as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I
make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest
with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I
will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-
hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This
victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot
happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to
pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this
financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street
suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has
poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the
banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance,
individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has
won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides
that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not
enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to
those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices,
I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are
huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is
shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -
we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have
wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength
of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring
power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what
we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my
mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who
stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106
years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the
sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the
color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the
hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on
with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up
and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear
itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a
generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher
from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own
science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her
vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows
how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us
ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to
live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to
work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace;
to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that
while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that
we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Inaugural Address (Nelson Mandela – May 10, 1994)
(Full Text: http://public.wsu.edu/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_2/mandela.html)
(Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grh03-NjHzc)

Your Majesties, Your Highnesses, Distinguished Guests, Comrades and friends:

Today, all of us do, by our presence here, and by our celebrations in other parts of our country and the world,
confer glory and hope to newborn liberty.

Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all
humanity will be proud.

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce
humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for
a glorious life for all.

All this we owe both to ourselves and to the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.
To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this
beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as
the seasons change.

We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.
That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all
carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned,
outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the
pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we, who were
outlaws not so long ago, have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own
soil.

We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our
country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity. We trust that you will
continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and
democracy.

We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass democratic, religious, women,
youth, business, traditional and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is
my Second Deputy President, the Honourable F.W. de Klerk.

We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have
played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy, from blood-thirsty forces which
still refuse to see the light.
The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The
time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the
continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. We succeeded to take our
last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just
and lasting peace.

We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people. We enter into a
covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall,
without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity--a rainbow nation at peace with
itself and the world.

As a token of its commitment to the renewal of our country, the new Interim Government of National Unity will, as
a matter of urgency, address the issue of amnesty for various categories of our people who are currently serving
terms of imprisonment.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many
ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free.

Their dreams have become reality. Freedom is their reward.

We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed
on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead our country out
of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a
new world.

Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know
that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by
another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign.

The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!

God bless Africa!
Eulogy for Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Justin Trudeau – October 3, 2000)
(Full Text: http://eulogywriters.com/trudeau.htm)
(Video: http://archives.cbc.ca/society/family/clips/1620/)

"Friends, Romans, countrymen . .

I was about six years old when I went on my first official trip. I was going with my father and my grandpa
Sinclair up to the North Pole.

It was a very glamorous destination. But the best thing about it is that I was going to be spending lots of time
with my dad because in Ottawa he just worked so hard.

One day, we were in Alert, Canada's northernmost point, a scientific military installation that seemed to
consist entirely of low shed-like buildings and warehouses.

Let's be honest. I was six. There were no brothers around to play with and I was getting a little bored because
dad still somehow had a lot of work to do.

I remember a frozen, windswept Arctic afternoon when I was bundled up into a Jeep and hustled out on a
special top-secret mission. I figured I was finally going to be let in on the reason of this high-security Arctic
base.

I was exactly right.

We drove slowly through and past the buildings, all of them very grey and windy. We rounded a corner and
came upon a red one. We stopped. I got out of the Jeep and started to crunch across towards the front door. I
was told, no, to the window.

So I clamboured over the snowbank, was boosted up to the window, rubbed my sleeve against the frosty glass
to see inside and as my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I saw a figure, hunched over one of many worktables that
seemed very cluttered. He was wearing a red suit with that furry white trim.

And that's when I understood just how powerful and wonderful my father was.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The very words convey so many things to so many people. Statesman, intellectual,
professor, adversary, outdoorsman, lawyer, journalist, author, prime minister.

But more than anything, to me, he was dad.

And what a dad. He loved us with the passion and the devotion that encompassed his life. He taught us to
believe in ourselves, to stand up for ourselves, to know ourselves and to accept responsibility for ourselves.

We knew we were the luckiest kids in the world. And we had done nothing to actually deserve it.

It was instead something that we would have to spend the rest of our lives to work very hard to live up to.

He gave us a lot of tools. We were taught to take nothing for granted. He doted on us but didn't indulge.

Many people say he didn't suffer fools gladly, but I'll have you know he had infinite patience with us.

He encouraged us to push ourselves, to test limits, to challenge anyone and anything.
There were certain basic principles that could never be compromised.

As I guess it is for most kids, in Grade 3, it was always a real treat to visit my dad at work.

As on previous visits this particular occasion included a lunch at the parliamentary restaurant which always
seemed to be terribly important and full of serious people that I didn't recognize.

But at eight, I was becoming politically aware. And I recognized one whom I knew to be one of my father's
chief rivals.

Thinking of pleasing my father, I told a joke about him -- a generic, silly little grade school thing.

My father looked at me sternly with that look I would learn to know so well, and said: `Justin, Never attack the
individual. We can be in total disagreement with someone without denigrating them as a consequence.'

Saying that, he stood up and took me by the hand and brought me over to introduce me to this man. He was a
nice man who was eating there with his daughter, a nice-looking blond girl a little younger than I was.

He spoke to me in a friendly manner for a bit and it was at that point that I understood that having opinions
that are different from those of another does not preclude one being deserving of respect as an individual.

This simple tolerance and (recognition of) the real and profound dimensions of each human being, regardless
of beliefs, origins, or values — that's what he expected of his children and that's what he expected of our
country.

He demanded this with love, love of his sons, love of his country, and it's for this that we so love the letters, the
flowers, the dignity of the crowds, and we say to him, farewell.

All that to thank him for having loved us so much.

My father's fundamental belief never came from a textbook. It stemmed from his deep love for and faith in all
Canadians and over the past few days, with every card, every rose, every tear, every wave and every pirouette,
you returned his love.

It means the world to Sacha and me.

Thank you.

We have gathered from coast to coast to coast, from one ocean to another, united in our grief, to say goodbye.

But this is not the end. He left politics in '84. But he came back for Meech. He came back for Charlottetown. He
came back to remind us of who we are and what we're all capable of.

But he won't be coming back anymore. It's all up to us, all of us, now.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. He has kept his promises and earned his sleep.

Je t'aime Papa."
Excerpt: Women’s Rights are Human Rights (Hillary Clinton – September 5, 1995)
(Full Text: http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/Hillary-Clinton/)
(Audio: http://174.132.193.190/~eiden/mp3clips/politicalspeeches/hillaryclintonunfourthworldconference1122.mp3)

I would like to thank the Secretary General of the United Nations for inviting me to be part of the United Nations Fourth World
Conference on Women. This is truly a celebration - a celebration of the contributions women make in every aspect of life: in
the home, on the job, in their communities, as mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, learners, workers, citizens and leaders.

It is also a coming together, much the way women come together every day in every country. We come together in fields and in
factories. In village markets and supermarkets. In living rooms and board rooms.

Whether it is while playing with our children in the park, or washing clothes in a river, or taking a break at the office water
cooler, we come together and talk about our aspirations and concerns. And time and again, our talk turns to our children and
our families. However different we may be, there is far more that unites us than divides us. We share a common future. And we
are here to find common ground so that we may help bring new dignity and respect to women and girls all over the world -
and in so doing, bring new strength and stability to families as well.

By gathering in Beijing, we are focusing world attention on issues that matter most in the lives of women and their families:
access to education, health care, jobs and credit, the chance to enjoy basic legal and human rights and participate fully in the
political life of their countries.

There are some who question the reason for this conference.

Let them listen to the voices of women in their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces.

There are some who wonder whether the lives of women and girls matter to economic and political progress around the globe.

Let them look at the women gathered here and at Huairou - the homemakers, nurses, teachers, lawyers, policymakers, and
women who run their own businesses.....

What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are
free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society,
their families will flourish.

And when families flourish, communities and nations will flourish.

That is why every woman, every man, every child, every family, and every nation on our planet has a stake in the discussion
that takes place here.

Over the past 25 years, I have worked persistently on issues relating to women, children and families. Over the past two-and-
a-half years, I have had the opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing women in my own country and around the
world.

I have met new mothers in Jojakarta, Indonesia, who come together regularly in their village to discuss nutrition, family
planning, and baby care.

I have met working parents in Denmark who talk about the comfort they feel in knowing that their children can be cared for in
creative, safe, and nurturing after-school centers.

I have met women in South Africa who helped lead the struggle to end apartheid and are now helping build a new democracy.

I have met with the leading women of the Western Hemisphere who are working every day to promote literacy and better
health care for the children of their countries.

I have met women in India and Bangladesh who are taking out small loans to buy milk cows, rickshaws, thread and other
materials to create a livelihood for themselves and their families.

I have met doctors and nurses in Belarus and Ukraine who are trying to keep children alive in the aftermath of Chernobyl.

The great challenge of this Conference is to give voice to women everywhere whose experiences go unnoticed, whose words
go unheard.

Women comprise more than half the world's population. Women are 70% percent of the world's poor, and two-thirds of those
who are not taught to read and write.

Women are the primary caretakers for most of the world's children and elderly. Yet much of the work we do is not valued - not
by economists, not by historians, not by popular culture, not by government leaders.

At this very moment, as we sit here, women around the world are giving birth, raising children, cooking meals, washing
clothes, cleaning houses, planting crops, working on assembly lines, running companies, and running countries.

Women also are dying from diseases that should have been prevented or treated; they are watching their children succumb to
malnutrition caused by poverty and economic deprivation; they are being denied the right to go to school by their own fathers
and brothers; they are being forced into prostitution, and they are being barred from the bank lending office and banned from
the ballot box.

Those of us who have the opportunity to be here have the responsibility to speak for those who could not.

As an American, I want to speak up for women in my own country - women who are raising children on the minimum wage,
women who can't afford health care or child care, women whose lives are threatened by violence, including violence in their
own homes.

I want to speak up for mothers who are fighting for good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean air and clean airwaves; for older
women, some of them widows, who have raised their families and now find that their skills and life experiences are not valued
in the workplace; for women who are working all night as nurses, hotel clerks, and fast food cooks so that they can be at home
during the day with their kids; and for women everywhere who simply don't have time to do everything they are called upon
to do each day.

Speaking to you today, I speak for them, just as each of us speaks for women around the world who are denied the chance to
go to school, or see a doctor, or own property, or have a say about the direction of their lives, simply because they are women.
The truth is that most women around the world work both inside and outside the home, usually by necessity.

We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That is why we must respect the
choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given
potential.

We also must recognize that women will never gain full dignity until their human rights are respected and protected.

Our goals for this Conference, to strengthen families and societies by empowering women to take greater control over their
own destinies, cannot be fully achieved unless all governments - here and around the world - accept their responsibility to
protect and promote internationally recognized human rights.

The international community has long acknowledged - and recently affirmed at Vienna - that both women and men are
entitled to a range of protections and personal freedoms, from the right of personal security to the right to determine freely
the number and spacing of the children they bear.
No one should be forced to remain silent for fear of religious or political persecution, arrest, abuse or torture.

Tragically, women are most often the ones whose human rights are violated.

Even in the late 20th century, the rape of women continues to be used as an instrument of armed conflict. Women and children
make up a large majority of the world's refugees. When women are excluded from the political process, they become even
more vulnerable to abuse.

I believe that, on the eve of a new millennium, it is time to break our silence. It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and the
world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights.

These abuses have continued because, for too long, the history of women has been a history of silence. Even today, there are
those who are trying to silence our words.

The voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loud and clear: It is a violation of human rights when
babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.

It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution. It is a violation of human
rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too
small. It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of
women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death
worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes. It is a violation of human
rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation. It is a violation of human
rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being
sterilized against their will.

If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights are women's rights - and women's rights
are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely - and the right to be heard.

Women must enjoy the right to participate fully in the social and political lives of their countries if we want freedom and
democracy to thrive and endure.

It is indefensible that many women in nongovernmental organizations who wished to participate in this conference have not
been able to attend - or have been prohibited from fully taking part.

Let me be clear. Freedom means the right of people to assemble, organize, and debate openly. It means respecting the views of
those who may disagree with the views of their governments. It means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and
jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and
opinions.....

Now it is time to act on behalf of women everywhere. If we take bold steps to better the lives of women, we will be taking bold
steps to better the lives of children and families too.

Families rely on mothers and wives for emotional support and care; families rely on women for labor in the home; and
increasingly, families rely on women for income needed to raise healthy children and care for other relatives.

As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world - as long as girls and women are valued
less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes - the potential
of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.

Let this Conference be our - and the world's - call to action....
Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech (Kofi Annan – December 10, 2001)
(Full Text: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2001/annan-lecture.html)
(Video: http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=705)

Today, in Afghanistan, a girl will be born. Her mother will hold her and feed her, comfort her and care for her - just as any
mother would anywhere in the world. In these most basic acts of human nature, humanity knows no divisions. But to be born a
girl in today's Afghanistan is to begin life centuries away from the prosperity that one small part of humanity has achieved. It is
to live under conditions that many of us in this hall would consider inhuman.

I speak of a girl in Afghanistan, but I might equally well have mentioned a baby boy or girl in Sierra Leone. No one today is
unaware of this divide between the world's rich and poor. No one today can claim ignorance of the cost that this divide
imposes on the poor and dispossessed who are no less deserving of human dignity, fundamental freedoms, security, food and
education than any of us. The cost, however, is not borne by them alone. Ultimately, it is borne by all of us - North and South,
rich and poor, men and women of all races and religions.

Today's real borders are not between nations, but between powerful and powerless, free and fettered, privileged and
humiliated. Today, no walls can separate humanitarian or human rights crises in one part of the world from national security
crises in another.

Scientists tell us that the world of nature is so small and interdependent that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon
rainforest can generate a violent storm on the other side of the earth. This principle is known as the "Butterfly Effect." Today,
we realize, perhaps more than ever, that the world of human activity also has its own "Butterfly Effect" - for better or for
worse.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have entered the third millennium through a gate of fire. If today, after the horror of 11 September,
we see better, and we see further - we will realize that humanity is indivisible. New threats make no distinction between races,
nations or regions. A new insecurity has entered every mind, regardless of wealth or status. A deeper awareness of the bonds
that bind us all in pain as in prosperity has gripped young and old.

In the early beginnings of the 21st century - a century already violently disabused of any hopes that progress towards global
peace and prosperity is inevitable -- this new reality can no longer be ignored. It must be confronted.

The 20th century was perhaps the deadliest in human history, devastated by innumerable conflicts, untold suffering, and
unimaginable crimes. Time after time, a group or a nation inflicted extreme violence on another, often driven by irrational
hatred and suspicion, or unbounded arrogance and thirst for power and resources. In response to these cataclysms, the
leaders of the world came together at mid-century to unite the nations as never before.

A forum was created "the United Nations" where all nations could join forces to affirm the dignity and worth of every person,
and to secure peace and development for all peoples. Here States could unite to strengthen the rule of law, recognize and
address the needs of the poor, restrain man's brutality and greed, conserve the resources and beauty of nature, sustain the
equal rights of men and women, and provide for the safety of future generations.

We thus inherit from the 20th century the political, as well as the scientific and technological power, which - if only we have
the will to use them - give us the chance to vanquish poverty, ignorance and disease.

In the 21st Century I believe the mission of the United Nations will be defined by a new, more profound, awareness of the
sanctity and dignity of every human life, regardless of race or religion. This will require us to look beyond the framework of
States, and beneath the surface of nations or communities. We must focus, as never before, on improving the conditions of the
individual men and women who give the state or nation its richness and character. We must begin with the young Afghan girl,
recognizing that saving that one life is to save humanity itself.

Over the past five years, I have often recalled that the United Nations' Charter begins with the words: "We the peoples." What
is not always recognized is that "we the peoples" are made up of individuals whose claims to the most fundamental rights have
too often been sacrificed in the supposed interests of the state or the nation.

A genocide begins with the killing of one man - not for what he has done, but because of who he is. A campaign of 'ethnic
cleansing' begins with one neighbour turning on another. Poverty begins when even one child is denied his or her fundamental
right to education. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life, all too often ends with a calamity for entire
nations.

In this new century, we must start from the understanding that peace belongs not only to states or peoples, but to each and
every member of those communities. The sovereignty of States must no longer be used as a shield for gross violations of
human rights. Peace must be made real and tangible in the daily existence of every individual in need. Peace must be sought,
above all, because it is the condition for every member of the human family to live a life of dignity and security.

The rights of the individual are of no less importance to immigrants and minorities in Europe and the Americas than to women
in Afghanistan or children in Africa. They are as fundamental to the poor as to the rich; they are as necessary to the security of
the developed world as to that of the developing world.

From this vision of the role of the United Nations in the next century flow three key priorities for the future: eradicating
poverty, preventing conflict, and promoting democracy. Only in a world that is rid of poverty can all men and women make the
most of their abilities. Only where individual rights are respected can differences be channelled politically and resolved
peacefully. Only in a democratic environment, based on respect for diversity and dialogue, can individual self-expression and
self-government be secured, and freedom of association be upheld.

Throughout my term as Secretary-General, I have sought to place human beings at the centre of everything we do - from
conflict prevention to development to human rights. Securing real and lasting improvement in the lives of individual men and
women is the measure of all we do at the United Nations.

It is in this spirit that I humbly accept the Centennial Nobel Peace Prize. Forty years ago today, the Prize for 1961 was awarded
for the first time to a Secretary-General of the United Nations - posthumously, because Dag Hammarskj?had already given his
life for peace in Central Africa. And on the same day, the Prize for 1960 was awarded for the first time to an African - Albert
Luthuli, one of the earliest leaders of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. For me, as a young African beginning his
career in the United Nations a few months later, those two men set a standard that I have sought to follow throughout my
working life.

This award belongs not just to me. I do not stand here alone. On behalf of all my colleagues in every part of the United Nations,
in every corner of the globe, who have devoted their lives - and in many instances risked or given their lives in the cause of
peace ? I thank the Members of the Nobel Committee for this high honour. My own path to service at the United Nations was
made possible by the sacrifice and commitment of my family and many friends from all continents - some of whom have
passed away - who taught me and guided me. To them, I offer my most profound gratitude.

In a world filled with weapons of war and all too often words of war, the Nobel Committee has become a vital agent for peace.
Sadly, a prize for peace is a rarity in this world. Most nations have monuments or memorials to war, bronze salutations to
heroic battles, archways of triumph. But peace has no parade, no pantheon of victory.

What it does have is the Nobel Prize - a statement of hope and courage with unique resonance and authority. Only by
understanding and addressing the needs of individuals for peace, for dignity, and for security can we at the United Nations
hope to live up to the honour conferred today, and fulfil the vision of our founders. This is the broad mission of peace that
United Nations staff members carry out every day in every part of the world.

A few of them, women and men, are with us in this hall today. Among them, for instance, are a Military Observer from Senegal
who is helping to provide basic security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a Civilian Police Adviser from the United
States who is helping to improve the rule of law in Kosovo; a UNICEF Child Protection Officer from Ecuador who is helping to
secure the rights of Colombia's most vulnerable citizens; and a World Food Programme Officer from China who is helping to
feed the people of North Korea.

Distinguished guests,

The idea that there is one people in possession of the truth, one answer to the world?s ills, or one solution to humanity's needs,
has done untold harm throughout history - especially in the last century. Today, however, even amidst continuing ethnic
conflict around the world, there is a growing understanding that human diversity is both the reality that makes dialogue
necessary, and the very basis for that dialogue.

We understand, as never before, that each of us is fully worthy of the respect and dignity essential to our common humanity.
We recognize that we are the products of many cultures, traditions and memories; that mutual respect allows us to study and
learn from other cultures; and that we gain strength by combining the foreign with the familiar.

In every great faith and tradition one can find the values of tolerance and mutual understanding. The Qur'an, for example, tells
us that "We created you from a single pair of male and female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each
other." Confucius urged his followers: "when the good way prevails in the state, speak boldly and act boldly. When the state
has lost the way, act boldly and speak softly." In the Jewish tradition, the injunction to "love thy neighbour as thyself," is
considered to be the very essence of the Torah.

This thought is reflected in the Christian Gospel, which also teaches us to love our enemies and pray for those who wish to
persecute us. Hindus are taught that "truth is one, the sages give it various names." And in the Buddhist tradition, individuals
are urged to act with compassion in every facet of life.

Each of us has the right to take pride in our particular faith or heritage. But the notion that what is ours is necessarily in
conflict with what is theirs is both false and dangerous. It has resulted in endless enmity and conflict, leading men to commit
the greatest of crimes in the name of a higher power.

It need not be so. People of different religions and cultures live side by side in almost every part of the world, and most of us
have overlapping identities which unite us with very different groups. We can love what we are, without hating what ? and
who ? we are not. We can thrive in our own tradition, even as we learn from others, and come to respect their teachings.

This will not be possible, however, without freedom of religion, of expression, of assembly, and basic equality under the law.
Indeed, the lesson of the past century has been that where the dignity of the individual has been trampled or threatened -
where citizens have not enjoyed the basic right to choose their government, or the right to change it regularly - conflict has too
often followed, with innocent civilians paying the price, in lives cut short and communities destroyed.

The obstacles to democracy have little to do with culture or religion, and much more to do with the desire of those in power to
maintain their position at any cost. This is neither a new phenomenon nor one confined to any particular part of the world.
People of all cultures value their freedom of choice, and feel the need to have a say in decisions affecting their lives.

The United Nations, whose membership comprises almost all the States in the world, is founded on the principle of the equal
worth of every human being. It is the nearest thing we have to a representative institution that can address the interests of all
states, and all peoples. Through this universal, indispensable instrument of human progress, States can serve the interests of
their citizens by recognizing common interests and pursuing them in unity. No doubt, that is why the Nobel Committee says
that it "wishes, in its centenary year, to proclaim that the only negotiable route to global peace and cooperation goes by way of
the United Nations".

I believe the Committee also recognized that this era of global challenges leaves no choice but cooperation at the global level.
When States undermine the rule of law and violate the rights of their individual citizens, they become a menace not only to
their own people, but also to their neighbours, and indeed the world. What we need today is better governance - legitimate,
democratic governance that allows each individual to flourish, and each State to thrive.

				
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