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Artists have a special role to play in the global struggle for peace, development and human rights. At their best, artists speak not only to people, they speak for them. Art is a weapon against ignorance and hatred, and an agent of public awareness. Art was one of civilization's first global movements. Centuries ago, a school of art in China might influence artists in Persia, who might inspire their counterparts in India, whose work might form the basis for a new school of painting in France. Art remains a global force today, with the power to open new doors for learning, mutual understanding and coexistence.
Excerpt from the text of a message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Arts as a Mediator of Tolerance delivered at the Guggenheim Museum in New York by Giandomenico Picco, the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations. NEW YORK, 21 November (UN Headquarters)