. . . Summer 1999
As ceremonies began before a throng of 35,000 in Michigan Stadium, President Lee C. Bollinger told the audience that Annan had just taken part in lengthy negotiations in Moscow over the Yugoslavian crisis. Annan could have canceled his appearance to catch up on rest, Bollinger noted, but "chose otherwise, and through a long and difficult flight, chose to be with you."
As two planes circled the stadium overhead carrying banners protesting NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Annan said that the UN was "committed to the maintenance of national sovereignty and territorial integrity ... [and] equally committed to protecting universal rights, regardless of frontiers."
Annan, who received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, praised the University for being committed "to tolerance and dialogue, " the absence of which, he said, was a key factor in the political and humariitarian crisis in the Balkans.