Wednesday, 20 January 2021

UN in your language

“You are leaders of today already. Raise your voice and claim your right!” says UNSG to youth


28 May 2015 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended a variety of events in Brussels, including the unveiling of a carved message of peace and answering questions from young people.

The events were set amidst Mr Ban’s first visit to the new European Commission.

This visit included meetings with Mr Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission), the College of European Commissioners, Ms Federica Mogherini (EC Vice-President and High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), Mr Martin Schulz (President of the European Parliament) and Mr Donald Tusk (President of the European Council).

The Secretary-General also addressed a plenary session of the European Parliament.

A message of peace signed by Ban Ki-moon

In the morning, Mr Ban unveiled a carved message of peace for the One World Bridge of the Tomorrowland festival.

At the event, the Secretary-General stated: “I hope this [message] will remind many people of the work of the United Nations, working as one to promote and protect human dignity for all people.”

He continued, “This bridge – and indeed, the Tomorrowland festival in general – symbolizes some of the core values the United Nations strives to uphold every day around the world: dignity, respect, diversity and solidarity.”

“In that spirit, I have decided that my message for the bridge will be this: “Let’s work as one towards dignity for all.”

SG Meets Tomorrowland

“What kind of future do you want?”

In the afternoon, Mr Ban was welcomed with great applause at the BOZAR, where he addressed hundreds of young people.

The Secretary-General poignantly set the stage in saying “I believe in the power of young people. That is why I am here.”

He emphasized that 2015 is a crucial year: a year for global action. In the year that the world decides on the post-2015 development agenda, Mr Ban underscored the vital role of young people in this process, saying: “The world needs you to stand up this year for people and the planet. There is no Plan B, as there is no Planet B”.

At the same time, the Secretary-General recognized the issues young people are dealing with, asserting, “You have been disproportionately affected by economic crises and recession”.

Moving beyond the European scale, he also addressed the severe issues for young people elsewhere, especially those of young migrants fleeing conflicts.

In summing up the role of youth, his audience at the event, Mr Ban emphasized “Let’s make the world better for you and our succeeding generations, where nobody will be left behind”.

#AskBanKimoon goes trending!

Whilst the hashtag #AskBanKimoon trended on social media, Mr Ban was asked a number of questions by a number of young people.

“How can we get prosperity for developing countries – which requires a huge amount of energy – and, at the same time, limit climate change?”

“How can a woman who is being abused or discriminated against in India and another woman who is being abused or discriminated against in New York cooperate?

“How do we replicate the acceptance of the LGBT community in African countries?”

In answering these questions, Mr Ban underscored his commitment to having gender equality by 2030, adding, “Before that, we must eradicate violence against women. That is a firm commitment”.

Turning to the UN itself, the Secretary-General declared he has taken action to make the UN the best workplace LGBT people can go, without any discrimination or harassment.

Addressing the crowd in a final statement, the Secretary-General asserted: “You are leaders of today already. Raise your voice and claim your right, whether human, political, social, economic or educational.”

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