Ban Ki-moon Centre’s First Global Citizen Scholars – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens sponsored four scholars to attend European Forum Alpbach in Tyrol, Austria. These “Global Citizen Scholars” were nationals of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.

To be selected, each scholar had to show that they were active as global citizens in their communities. Whether founding their own NGOs or participating in leadership roles in already established youth and women’s empowerment organizations, the selected scholars displayed outstanding dedication to the principles of global citizenship.

During the Forum, the scholars had a busy schedule, including opportunities to engage face-to-face with the Centre’s Board and Co-chairs. One event was dedicated to the scholars sharing their stories and plans for their future work as global citizens. After their presentations, they each received a certificate of achievement.

 

The Scholars:

Alhassan is Ghanaian and pursuing his Master’s degree in a joint international MSc program in Sustainable Development, majoring in Energy and Material Resources. Alhassan is also a co-founder of Recycle Up! Ghana (RUG), an NGO working to educate and empower Ghanaian youth to develop local solutions to waste problems. To learn more about this initiative, check out their website!

Loan is Vietnamese and enrolled in a joint program for her European Master’s in Social Work with Family and Children. Loan is a trained Social Worker and recently served as the Manager of “Alumni Hands-on Mentorship,” a partnership with the US Embassy in Hanoi that connects undergraduate alumni from rural communities with alumni mentors from the Vietnam-US Alumni Club.

Mohammad is Lebanese and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. After experiencing life as a refugee first-hand, Mohammad was empowered to pursue his higher-education by the United Lebanon Youth Project (ULYP). Today, Mohammad gives back to his community as a volunteer with ULYP and is a passionate advocate for education for all. To learn more about ULYP, check out their website!

Juliana is Palestinian and is enrolled in a Master’s degree in Human Resource Counselling. She recently served as the Vice-President of the local Youth Council in Bethlehem-Palestine. The Youth Council creates opportunities for its members to implement initiatives that serve the city and to represent Bethlehem in many local and international events. To learn more, check out their work here.

Stay tuned for more updates on the Centre’s Global Citizen Scholars! These four change-makers are now alumni and ambassadors of the scholarship program and the Centre looks forward to watching them continue their journeys as global citizens!

Photo: Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Premiere of “Not Our Fate” – European Forum Alpbach 2018

This past August at European Forum Alpbach in Austria, Nour Barakeh premiered her theatre piece “Not Our Fate,” a powerful play about the societal dynamics that perpetuate conflict and the pursuit of peace. Ban Ki-moon Centre Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer as well as Board members joined the audience at the premiere.

Barakeh is a young playwright who has experienced life as a refugee firsthand. To create the play, Barakeh conducted interviews in her native Syria, gathering firsthand accounts of life during war and the stages of mutual accusation, estrangement, and finally, shared awareness. The characters in the piece are portrayed by youth of different nationalities and backgrounds, underscoring the universality of the topic.

The play opens with Doaa, a character portrayed by Doaa Al Zamel, real-life subject of the book “A Hope More Powerful than the Sea: One Refugees’s Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival” by Melissa Flemming. In the play, Doaa speaks about her experience of war, loss, and of her survival.

After Doaa, other characters share their stories and slowly begin pointing fingers at one another, blaming others for their fates. This climaxes in anger and accusations coming from all sides. Suddenly, the room falls silent and the characters turn their backs on one another.

Zina, portrayed by Barakeh, seeks to mediate by explaining the circumstances that led to their current plight, calling for cooperation and understanding. Slowly, the actors turn one by one to face one another, taking hands. This final symbol of unity and peace is profound and moving.

When asked about her experience premiering the play in Alpbach, Barakeh stated,

“’Not Our Fate’ is a real revelation from the heart and a rational analysis seeking methods to build peace among youth in conflict situations. Together with my colleagues from different continents we worked and represented diversity at European Forum Alpbach 2018.”

Having former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former Federal President of Austria Heinz Fischer in the audience was particularly meaningful for Barakeh,

“As the Syrian problem symbolizes our world’s interrelated problems, I was honored to perform this piece in front of the man who looked at the core of our interrelated problems and said, ‘leave no on behind.’ Dr. Ban Ki-moon and former Austrian President Dr. Heinz Fischer honored us with their presence.”

 

To learn more about the play, check out the video produced by the ORF Akademie 18’ at European Forum Alpbach (German).

Photo by Laurent Ziegler / European Forum Alpbach

Press Release by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on the passing of Mr Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna, together with its Co-Chairmen Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and its Board Members are deeply shocked and saddened about the sudden and unexpected passing away of Kofi Annan, the 7th Secretary General of the United Nations. His lifelong dedication for world peace and human rights will not be forgotten and his work towards achieving these goals will last on through the extraordinary work of his whole lifetime and the continued work of the Kofi Annan Foundation.

In these difficult times our heartfelt condolences go out to Nane Annan, his family and friends.

Today the World has lost a great human being and an extraordinary mind.

Ban Ki-moon & Heinz Fischer

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens saddened by the death of Advisory Board Member H.E. Hans Kyrle

Vienna 16 January 2018 – The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens regrets to report the death of H.E. Dr. Hans Kyrle, a member of the Advisory Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. The two co-chairmen of the Centre, Mr. Ban Ki-moon and Dr. Heinz Fischer, the fellow Board members and the Centre´s staff are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Hans Kyrle, who was a strong supporter of the Centre for Global Citizens since its inception.

Johannes Kyrle had a long and distinguished career. He had served as Secretary-General of Austria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years and had been a member of the National Security Council, advising the Austrian Federal Government on principal matters of foreign, security and defense policy. From 1997 to 2002 he was the Chief of Protocol at the Austrian Foreign Ministry and the Austrian Ambassador to the Principality of Liechtenstein with residence in Vienna from 1991 to 2002.

He was an appreciated member of the Advisory Board of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. He will be missed and thoughts are with his family and friends in these challenging times.