At IFLA‘s opening ceremonies, Jan Eliasson, former President of the United Nations General Assembly and Minister for Foreign Affairs for Sweden, talked about communication and access to information in a globalized world. He began by noting that the room here in his native city, was a reminder of the UN with the world in Gothenburg. [There are 3,334 registrants at the IFLA 2010 conference from 128 countries.] The city and his family gave him roots – stability & a sense of direction, and wings – a sense of adventure, discovery and search for knowledge. He has a respect for knowledge, a motivation to learn, and a fascination with the word. He used words in his job at the UN to mediate conflict resolutions and peaceful settlements. He described words as rich assets in problem solving, as tools; and if you have a big toolbox you can solve problems. Some quotes from Jan Eliasson: “words are action”; “knowledge is the strongest engine for development”; “Information is power and the key to direction for individuals and society”; “access to knowledge is unfairly distributed”; “No peace without development and vice versa, no development without peace, and no lasting peace or sustainable development without respect of human life”; “knowledge is a crucial part of human rights pillar and peace” He quoted the first paragraph of Bertand Russell’s 3 volume autobiography emphasizing the three passions the ruled his life: longing for love, search for knowledge, pity for suffering of mankind. His most tweeted comment (follow the conference at #IFLA2010): “Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something.” Realize the power of the word, of communication, and should be shared. We need the globalization of knowledge — power of the word, knowledge & education as a key to the world in better balance. Listen to his talk here.
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