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EVENT REPORT

Kofi Annan Speaks at Ultra-Secure U.N.

October 26, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

United Nations Correspondents Association media awards United Nations Delegates Dining Room Tuesday, 10.23.01, 6 PM onward
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The United Nations building isn't easy to get to, and since the September 11 attacks, it's been even harder. A one-block radius has been blocked off around the sprawling building on First Avenue, which required guests at the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) dinner to go through three checkpoints (one included an ID verification) before even getting to a tent where they walked through metal detectors and their bags were X-rayed. But we're sure these guests were used to the high-security protocol at the U.N.--after all, many of them work there. And while it might not be so exciting to attend an event at your place of work, you can't have Kofi Annan, the secretary-general of the U.N. (and recent Nobel prize winner), schlepping all over town for speaking engagements in less secure venues.

The event, held to honor the winners of the UNCA's annual media awards and Ranan Lurie Prizes for Political Cartoons, was hosted by Ian Williams, chairman of the UNCA awards committee, and produced by Carla Capone of the Carla Capone Company. More than 200 U.N. correspondents, diplomats and friends of the UNCA eagerly socialized all night in the U.N. Delegates Dining Room, so much so that it took some cajoling from Williams to actually proceed with the awards program. The highlight of the evening was, of course, Annan's speech, followed by a speech by 60 Minutes' co-host Mike Wallace, who fondly reminisced about the first time he met Annan.

Musical entertainment and dancing, with music by the Culture Vibes Band, followed the awards presentation. Good vibes reverberated throughout the room, both from the great speeches and the bottles of Macallan single malt scotch whiskey that were pre-set at each table, which event chair Williams told us is always one of the keys to a successful UNCA awards dinner.

--Suzanne Ito

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