ACTIVITIES OF SECRETARY-GENERAL DURING 3-4 JULY VISIT TO PHILADELPHIA
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, accompanied by his wife Nane, travelled to Philadelphia by train in the afternoon of Tuesday, 3 July.
In the early evening the Secretary-General met with a delegation from the Ga-Adangbe Association of Philadelphia, whose members are nationals of Ghana. They discussed the AIDS crisis in Africa and how this group of professionals could help in the fight against the epidemic.
Following that meeting, Mr. Annan was presented with a bronze bust by Samuel L. Evans, Chairman of the American Foundation for Negro Affairs. Mr. Evans, who is 99 years old, made a plea during the ceremony for the world to stop the use of weapons of destruction.
The Secretary-General later attended the Philadelphia Liberty Medal VIP dinner. The dinner was held at the National Liberty Museum, which has a permanent exhibit on the recipients of the Liberty Medal. The Museum also hosts an exhibit on individuals from around the world who have contributed to the cause of liberty and the fight against bigotry.
On Wednesday morning, the fourth of July, the Secretary-General participated in the City of Philadelphia's Independence Day ceremonies, and was presented with the Philadelphia Liberty Medal by Mayor John Street. The citation for the medal said: “Kofi Annan, with courage, spirit and commitment, has dedicated his life and the work of the United Nations he leads to create a better, more compassionate world. He has inspired others, in places both high and low, and countries both rich and poor, to respect the dignity of their people and work harder for the well-being of the world's citizens”.
In his acceptance speech, the Secretary-General said that "the bonds between the United States and the United Nations are strong and rooted in a common vision of freedom and opportunity for all men and women, regardless of frontiers" (see Press Release SG/SM/7877).
At the ensuing Liberty Medal press conference, he answered many questions on the proposed Global AIDS and Health Fund and said that with a recent $200 million pledge from Japan, the Fund already had some $900 million.
The Secretary-General and Mrs. Annan attended a luncheon in the Secretary-General's honour. In an impromptu speech, the Secretary-General thanked the organizers for the honour they had done him, and added, “You have inspired me and encouraged me to move on”.
Mr. and Mrs. Annan returned to New York on Wednesday afternoon.
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