May I wish you and your loved ones a Happy New Year. I have taken this opportunity to write to you with some reflections on 2015 and thoughts for the year ahead.
Nearly a century ago, the Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote:
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
He wrote these words amid the violent upheavals that followed the end of the First World War, but they can provide an alarmingly prescient prism through which to view the year just ended.
In 2015 we have seen the scourge of terrorism, the agonies of Syria’s civil war and the barbarities of Da’esh/Islamic State, and the sexist violence of Boko Haram in Nigeria – all vivid examples of the “passionate intensity” of the worst aspects of humanity. Equally, the international community has yet to demonstrate it really has the conviction to address the root causes of conflicts and defend human rights.
2016 will be a year heavy with its own centennial commemorations of conflict and division, but it is our collective challenge to look to the future, abjure historical recriminations and determine policies that uphold social and economic justice for all.