The former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan is one of the world’s most widely-travelled statesmen, but he will rarely have received a welcome anywhere as warm as that which awaited him in Hull.
His arrival to deliver the annual Wilberforce Lecture this morning is another coup for Hull, in what has proved to be its spectacularly successful year as the UK City of Culture.
It is entirely fitting that Mr Annan should be speaking to young people during his visit, for they have been central to Hull’s celebrations.
How appropriate it is that Mr Annan, whose tenure at the UN was marked by an unwavering commitment to the causes of justice and freedom, should be in Hull as the city reflects on its own historic role in pursuit of those same goals.
The world could wish in these dangerous and uncertain times that Mr Annan still headed the UN, because his integrity and gravitas are much missed.