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The idea that nations and peoples could come together in peace to solve their disputes and advance a common prosperity seemed unimaginable. It took the awful carnage of two world wars to shift our thinking.
The leaders who built the United Nations were not naive. They did not think this body could eradicate all wars. But in the wake of millions dead and (inaudible) rubble, and with the development of nuclear weapons that could annihilate a planet, they understand that humanity could not survive the course it was on.
And so, they gave us this institution, believing that it could allow us to resolve conflicts, enforce rules of behavior and build habits of cooperation that would grow stronger over time.
For decades, the United Nations has, in fact, made a difference from helping to eradicate disease to educating children to brokering peace. But like every generation of leaders, we face new and profound challenges, and this body continues to be tested. The question is whether we possess the wisdom and the courage as nation states and members of an international community to squarely meet those challenges, whether the United Nations can meet the test of our time.