06/11/2002
Press Release
SG/SM/8477



WE CANNOT BE INDIFFERENT TO GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS,


SECRETARY-GENERAL SAYS IN INTRODUCING LECTURE SPEAKERS


Following are Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s remarks today on introducing Professor Daphne Preuss and Professor Jennifer Thomson as speakers in the Secretary-General’s lecture series:


I am delighted to welcome you to the second lecture in this series.  It promises to be a highly exciting one.


As I said when introducing the first lecture, this series is an opportunity for us to come together to learn about issues that we are all interested in -- or should be -- quite outside our normal work. 


We got off to a flying start in June with Toni Morrison.  Today, I am proud to note that we will hear from not one, but two women who are pre-eminent in their field:  Professor Daphne Preuss of the University of Chicago, and Professor Jennifer Thomson of the University of Cape Town.


Their area of expertise -- genetically modified crops for developing countries -- is complex and controversial.


It is a subject that involves the frontiers of science and technology, but equally, the most fundamental of human needs.


It is a subject on which people’s views may be very different, but it is not one on which we can afford to be indifferent. 


I am deeply grateful to Professor Preuss and Professor Thomson for agreeing to come and speak to us about it.


Let me also thank the Christian Johnson Endeavour Foundation and Mr. Bruce Alberts, President of the National Academy of Sciences, for the assistance and advice they have provided for this series.


I have a feeling all of us will find our minds challenged here today.  I certainly expect to, and look forward to it greatly.  Professors, you have the floor.


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