Seeking to tap the world's top talent, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked all living Nobel Prize-winners if he might sometimes consult them for "advice and ideas," the U.N. said Friday.
Annan sent letters to laureates who won the prize in their personal capacities, U.N. spokesman Fred Eckhard said. This excludes the few instances where the prize was awarded to organizations rather than individuals.
This year's Nobel laureates, whose names have been announced only in the past few days, are also being approached, as will future winners.
In his letter, Annan said he hoped the United Nations would be able to "draw upon the great intellectual resources you personally and collectively represent."
"As we approach the turn of the century, it is abundantly clear that the many challenges facing humanity require new and innovative strategies," he wrote.
Nobel Prizes were first awarded in 1901. They are currently given in six categories -- Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Economics, for which the prize was first awarded in 1969.