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  • Can I say how delighted I am to be away

  • from the calm of Westminster and Whitehall? (Laughter)

  • This is Kim, a nine-year-old Vietnam girl,

  • her back ruined by napalm,

  • and she awakened the conscience of the nation of America

  • to begin to end the Vietnam War.

  • This is Birhan, who was the Ethiopian girl

  • who launched Live Aid in the 1980s,

  • 15 minutes away from death when she was rescued,

  • and that picture of her being rescued is one that went round the world.

  • This is Tiananmen Square.

  • A man before a tank became a picture

  • that became a symbol for the whole world of resistance.

  • This next is the Sudanese girl,

  • a few moments from death,

  • a vulture hovering in the background,

  • a picture that went round the world

  • and shocked people into action on poverty.

  • This is Neda, the Iranian girl

  • who was shot while at a demonstration with her father in Iran

  • only a few weeks ago, and she is now the focus, rightly so,

  • of the YouTube generation.

  • And what do all these pictures and events have in common?

  • What they have in common is what we see unlocks

  • what we cannot see.

  • What we see unlocks the invisible ties

  • and bonds of sympathy that bring us together

  • to become a human community.

  • What these pictures demonstrate is that

  • we do feel the pain of others,

  • however distantly.

  • What I think these pictures demonstrate

  • is that we do believe in something bigger than ourselves.

  • What these pictures demonstrate is

  • that there is a moral sense across all religions, across all faiths,

  • across all continents -- a moral sense that

  • not only do we share the pain of others,

  • and believe in something bigger than ourselves

  • but we have a duty to act when we see things

  • that are wrong that need righted,

  • see injuries that need to be corrected,

  • see problems that need to be rectified.

  • There is a story about Olof Palme, the Swedish Prime Minister,

  • going to see Ronald Reagan in America in the 1980s.

  • Before he arrived Ronald Reagan said --

  • and he was the Swedish Social Democratic Prime Minister --

  • "Isn’t this man a communist?"

  • The reply was, "No, Mr President, he’s an anti-communist."

  • And Ronald Reagan said, "I don’t care what kind of communist he is!"

  • (Laughter)

  • Ronald Reagan asked Olof Palme,

  • the Social Democratic Prime Minister of Sweden,

  • "Well, what do you believe in? Do you want to abolish the rich?"

  • He said, "No, I want to abolish the poor."

  • Our responsibility is to let everyone have the chance

  • to realize their potential to the full.

  • I believe there is a moral sense and a global ethic

  • that commands attention from people of every religion

  • and every faith, and people of no faith.

  • But I think what's new is that we now have the capacity

  • to communicate instantaneously across frontiers

  • right across the world.

  • We now have the capacity to find common ground

  • with people who we will never meet,

  • but who we will meet through the Internet and through

  • all the modern means of communication;

  • that we now have the capacity to organize

  • and take collective action together

  • to deal with the problem or an injustice

  • that we want to deal with;

  • and I believe that this makes this a unique age in human history,

  • and it is the start of what I would call

  • the creation of a truly global society.

  • Go back 200 years when the slave trade was

  • under pressure from William Wilberforce and all the protesters.

  • They protested across Britain.

  • They won public opinion over a long period of time.

  • But it took 24 years for the campaign to be successful.

  • What could they have done with the pictures that they could have shown

  • if they were able to use the modern means of communication

  • to win people’s hearts and minds?

  • Or if you take Eglantyne Jebb,

  • the woman who created Save the Children 90 years ago.

  • She was so appalled by what was happening in Austria

  • as a result of the First World War and what was happening to children

  • who were part of the defeated families of Austria,

  • that in Britain she wanted to take action,

  • but she had to go house to house,

  • leaflet to leaflet, to get people to attend a rally

  • in the Royal Albert Hall

  • that eventually gave birth to Save the Children,

  • an international organization that is now fully recognized

  • as one of the great institutions in our land and in the world.

  • But what more could she have done

  • if she’d had the modern means of communications available to her

  • to create a sense that the injustice that people saw

  • had to be acted upon immediately?

  • Now look at what’s happened in the last 10 years.

  • In Philippines in 2001, President Estrada --

  • a million people texted each other about the corruption of that regime,

  • eventually brought it down and it was, of course, called the "coup de text." (Laughter)

  • Then you have in Zimbabwe the first election under Robert Mugabe a year ago.

  • Because people were able to take mobile phone photographs

  • of what was happening at the polling stations, it was impossible

  • for that Premier to fix that election in the way that he wanted to do.

  • Or take Burma and the monks that were blogging out,

  • a country that nobody knew anything about that was happening, until these blogs

  • told the world that there was a repression,

  • meaning that lives were being lost

  • and people were being persecuted and Aung San Suu Kyi,

  • who is one of the great prisoners of conscience of the world,

  • had to be listened to.

  • Then take Iran itself, and what people are doing today:

  • following what happened to Neda,

  • people who are preventing the security services of Iran finding those people

  • who are blogging out of Iran, any by everybody who is blogging,

  • changing their address to Tehran, Iran,

  • and making it difficult for the security services.

  • Take, therefore, what modern technology is capable of:

  • the power of our moral sense allied to the power of communications

  • and our ability to organize internationally.

  • That, in my view, gives us the first opportunity as a community

  • to fundamentally change the world.

  • Foreign policy can never be the same again. It cannot be run by elites;

  • it’s got to be run by listening to the public opinions of peoples who are blogging,

  • who are communicating with each other around the world.

  • 200 years ago the problem we had to solve was slavery.

  • 150 years ago I suppose the main problem in a country like ours

  • was how young people, children, had the right to education.

  • 100 years ago in most countries in Europe, the pressure was for the right to vote.

  • 50 years ago the pressure was for the right to social security and welfare.

  • In the last 50-60 years we have seen fascism, anti-Semitism, racism, apartheid,

  • discrimination on the basis of sex and gender and sexuality;

  • all these have come under pressure

  • because of the campaigns that have been run by people to change the world.

  • I was with Nelson Mandela a year ago, when he was in London.

  • I was at a concert that he was attending to mark his birthday

  • and for the creation of new resources for his foundation.

  • I was sitting next to Nelson Mandela -- I was very privileged to do so --

  • when Amy Winehouse came onto the stage. (Laughter)

  • And Nelson Mandela was quite surprised at the appearance of the singer

  • and I was explaining to him at the time who she was.

  • Amy Winehouse said, "Nelson Mandela and I have a lot in common.

  • My husband too has spent a long time in prison."

  • (Laughter)

  • Nelson Mandela then went down to the stage

  • and he summarized the challenge for us all.

  • He said in his lifetime he had climbed a great mountain, the mountain

  • of challenging and then defeating racial oppression and defeating apartheid.

  • He said that there was a greater challenge ahead,

  • the challenge of poverty, of climate change -- global challenges

  • that needed global solutions

  • and needed the creation of a truly global society.

  • We are the first generation which is in a position to do this.

  • Combine the power of a global ethic

  • with the power of our ability to communicate

  • and organize globally, with the challenges that we now face,

  • most of which are global in their nature.

  • Climate change cannot be solved in one country,

  • but has got to be solved by the world working together.

  • A financial crisis, just as we have seen, could not be solved

  • by America alone or Europe alone;

  • it needed the world to work together.

  • Take the problems of security and terrorism and, equally,

  • the problem of human rights and development:

  • they cannot be solved by Africa alone;

  • they cannot be solved by America or Europe alone.

  • We cannot solve these problems unless we work together.

  • So the great project of our generation, it seems to me,

  • is to build for the first time, out of a global ethic

  • and our global ability to communicate

  • and organize together, a truly global society,

  • built on that ethic but with institutions

  • that can serve that global society and make for a different future.

  • We have now, and are the first generation with, the power to do this.

  • Take climate change. Is it not absolutely scandalous

  • that we have a situation

  • where we know that there is a climate change problem,

  • where we know also that that will mean we have to give more resources

  • to the poorest countries to deal with that,

  • when we want to create a global carbon market,

  • but there is no global institution

  • that people have been able to agree upon

  • to deal with this problem?

  • One of the things that has got to come out of Copenhagen in the next few months

  • is an agreement that there will be

  • a global environmental institution

  • that is able to deal

  • with the problems of persuading the whole of the world

  • to move along a climate-change agenda.

  • (Applause)

  • One of the reasons why an institution is not in itself enough

  • is that we have got to persuade people around the world

  • to change their behavior as well,

  • so you need that global ethic of fairness and responsibility

  • across the generations.

  • Take the financial crisis.

  • If people in poorer countries can be hit by a crisis that starts in New York

  • or starts in the sub-prime market of the United States of America.

  • If people can find that that sub-prime product

  • has been transferred across nations

  • many, many times until it ends up in banks in Iceland

  • or the rest in Britain,

  • and people's ordinary savings are affected by it,

  • then you cannot rely on a system of national supervision.

  • You need in the long run for stability, for economic growth,

  • for jobs, as well as for financial stability,

  • global economic institutions that make sure

  • that growth to be sustained has to be shared,

  • and are built on the principle

  • that the prosperity of this world is indivisible.

  • So another challenge for our generation is to create global institutions

  • that reflect our ideas of fairness and responsibility,

  • not the ideas that were the basis

  • of the last stage of financial development over these recent years.

  • Then take development and take the partnership we need between our countries

  • and the rest of the world, the poorest part of the world.

  • We do not have the basis of a proper partnership for the future,

  • and yet, out of people’s desire for a global ethic

  • and a global society that can be done.

  • I have just been talking to the President of Sierra Leone.

  • This is a country of six and a half million people,

  • but it has only 80 doctors; it has 200 nurses;

  • it has 120 midwives.

  • You cannot begin to build a healthcare system for six million people

  • with such limited resources.

  • Or take the girl I met when I was in Tanzania,

  • a girl called Miriam.

  • She was 11 years old; her parents had both died from AIDS,

  • her mother and then her father.

  • She was an AIDS orphan being handed

  • across different extended families to be cared for.

  • She herself was suffering from HIV;

  • she was suffering from tuberculosis.

  • I met her in a field, she was ragged, she had no shoes.

  • When you looked in her eyes, any girl at the age of eleven

  • is looking forward to the future,

  • but there was an unreachable sadness in that girl’s eyes

  • and if I could have translated that to the rest of the world for that moment,

  • I believe that all the work that it had done for the global HIV/AIDS fund

  • would be rewarded by people being prepared to make donations.

  • We must then build a proper relationship between the richest and

  • the poorest countries

  • based on our desire that they are able to fend for themselves

  • with the investment that is necessary in their agriculture,

  • so that Africa is not a net importer of food, but an exporter of food.

  • Take the problems of human rights and

  • the problems of security in so many countries around the world.

  • Burma is in chains, Zimbabwe is a human tragedy,

  • in Sudan thousands of people have died unnecessarily

  • for wars that we could prevent.

  • In the Rwanda Children's Museum,