Global Citizenship Initiatives (GCI) Portal is finally launched!

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens finally launched the Global Citizenship Initiatives (GCI) Portal on its website today! The portal lists fellowships, academic programs, and on-going initiatives for global citizenship world-wide. The portal is for anyone interested in getting to know about global citizenship by taking academic courses and/or by getting involved in the existing initiatives. The users can search for initiatives in different countries and discover how to engage as global citizens. After selecting a country of choice or an online course, one can sort out the programs that fit his or her age group or profession.

As the GCI Portal is an active platform to which the users can add other existing initiatives in the world by submitting a feedback form which button is located on the bottom of the portal page. When suggesting an initiative to be included on the portal, the users should fill out the name of the entity, the program name, the location (country), and the website address of the initiative as well as the email address of the contact person or the program’s executive office.

With the contributions of global citizens from all over the world, the GCI Portal will grow bigger and bigger and will lead aspiring all the global citizens out there to be more active in achieving the Global Goals and be responsible for making the world better for all.

Discover the GCI Portal here: https://bankimooncentre.org/projects/gci-portal

Global Citizen Festival gathered global citizens in New York and urged them to “Be the Generation!”

Global Citizen, a partner of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, held “Global Citizen Festival” in New York, the US last week! The festival featured renowned artists such as the Weekend, Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, and Janelle Monäe with a special guest John Legend. Doborra-lee Furness and Hugh Jackman hosted the stage.

Around 60,000 global citizens attended the festival after taking actions on raising awareness and urging leaders to make changes on the global issues we have faced, including but are not limited to poverty, refugee crisis, environmental disaster, health and wealth, and discrimination and inequality. Free tickets to the festival were given to the ones who shared and promoted the important messages on their social media account, sent out emails to the relevant people and/or organizations that can contribute to making changes in policy, and so on.

These actions of the public are essential in helping to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which further information can be found here. According to Global Citizen, the action initiators throughout the world have generated commitments and policy announcements from leaders valued at over $37.9 billion that are set to affect the lives of more than 2.25 billion people. In 2018 alone, the campaign secured 29 commitments totaling over $2.9 billion that would positively affect more than 501 million people by 2030.

Anyone can be involved in the campaign and earn a free ticket for the next Global Citizen Festival that will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 2, 2018. For more information, refer to this link: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/festival/south-africa/

Photo: Mengwen Cao for Global Citizen

Three Young Refugee Women Share Their Inspirational Stories at the BKMC

A multimedia event on “Global Citizenship in a Time of War” organized by Heather Wokusch, an educator who works in the field of women and youth empowerment through education and promotes the SDGs, was hosted at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens on September 27th, 2018. Having gained international attention while addressing the plight of refugees, three young refugee women shared their experiences and inspirational stories during the event.

  • Nour Barakeh: With a background spanning scientific studies and artistic work, she supports the establishment of sustainable educational projects focused on empowering people to transcend the effects of war. She wrote a theater piece “Not Our Fate” that has been recently performed at European Forum Alpbach as well as at the Weltmuseum Wien hosted by Österreichisches Parlament. She also acted in the play herself.
  • Dooa Al Zamel: She is one of a few survivals from crossing the dangerous #sea from Syria to Europe relying on a boat filled with hundreds of migrants most of whom were killed when attackers sank the vessel. While surviving days alone at sea, Al Zamel also saved the life of an infant and became the subject of a best-selling book “A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea.”
  • Suad Mohamed: From Somalia, she has lived in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, and Austria. She speaks five languages and is currently learning her sixth: German. As a pharmacist, Mohamed works as an Assistant Consultant in the Österreichisches Rotes Kreuz and as an interpreter at Diakonie Österreich. Her aims are to spread awareness about refugee and migration issues, to improve the healthcare and pharmaceutical systems in developing countries, and to empower women.

An excerpt of the video “Escape from Syria: Rania’s Odyssey” was screened during the event to show a journey of Rania Mustafa Ali who filmed her flee from Syria to Austria. On the way, Ali was cheated by smugglers, teargassed and beaten at the Macedonian border. She also risked drowning in the Mediterranean, travelling in a boat meant to hold 15 people but stuffed with 52. Mustafa was also supposed to deliver keynote at the Centre’s event but could not make it due to unexpected flight issues.

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler delivered welcome remarks and also facilitated a Q&A session. Guests from various different sectors such as media, international organization, NGO, etc actively involved themselves in the conversations on the refugee crisis and sought for ways to solve the global issue and to empower those in need of help. A ‘female empowerment’ segment of a video filmed during the European Forum Alpbach capturing “Not Our Fate” was also screened and touched the audience.

Watch the full video of Rania’s Odyssey here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDHwt-ooAi4

Ban Ki-moon underlines healthcare is a “human right” and should be “for the people”

On September 25th in New York, the US, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon made comments on the US healthcare system at an interview with the Guardian. As Ban has worked on promoting the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as a member of the Elders, he urged the leaders in the US to enact publicly-financed healthcare.

Having the most expensive healthcare system in the world, the US citizens have to bear more than 10,348 USD for their health insurance that accounts for nearly one-fifth of their GDP.

“Why such a country like the United States, the most resourceful and richest country in the world, does not introduce universal health coverage,” said Ban.

He expressed his concerns that “almost 30 million people are not covered by insurance” in the US and emphasized that a healthcare system is a “human right” and thus it should be “for the people.” Ban suggested that the UHC could be introduced either in California or in New York, which then may encourage other states to follow.

He said, “leaders are elected because they vowed that they would work for the people” and “they are abandoning people because they are poor, then these poor people cannot find a proper medical support.”

Read the original article here: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/sep/25/ex-un-chief-ban-kioon-says-us-healthcare-system-is-morally-wrong

Photo: Ali Smith for the Guardian

Ban Ki-moon pays tribute to the late Former UNSG Kofi Annan

“As a life-long civil servant, as a devoted family man, as the head of the United Nations turning a turbulent decade, and as my friend, I’ve always had tremendous respect and animation for Kofi Annan.”

“Let us carry on the legacy of Kofi Annan for humanity, peace and development, and I’m sure that the flame of his legacy will continue to burn in this world brighter and brighter.”

On September 21st, 2018, Ban Ki-moon paid tribute to the late Kofi Annan, who was Ban’s predecessor as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations. Watch a video recorded lively at the 73rd Session of General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, the US.

Ban Ki-moon stresses the importance of the Universal Health Coverage

A day before the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, the US, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon—who is also a member of the The Elders—delivered a keynote speech on the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and addressed climate change issues at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG).
“Universal health coverage is built on principles of equity and fairness, with health services allocated according to people’s needs and the health system financed according to people’s ability to pay. It means that healthy wealthy people subsidise health services for the sick and the poor, recognising both their own interest and the common benefits in a healthy society,” Ban said.
He continued, “global evidence shows that the only way to reach truly universal health coverage is through switching to a health financing system that is dominated by public financing – either through general taxation or progressive social health insurance.”
 
Watch the full speech: https://bit.ly/2QOk1cs

Read more about the event in the original articles:
Photo: The Elders

New York Times Posts Ban Ki-moon’s Opinion on the Refugee Crisis

In 1951 a young boy and his family fled their burning village during a brutal war that brought immeasurable death and destruction to their country. He witnessed pronounced human suffering that would continue to haunt him in the days and years to come.

This child uprooted by conflict was me — the same boy who would grow up to be elected as the eighth secretary general of the United Nations in 2006.

As secretary general, I met so many children around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, who reminded me of my own wrenching experience of displacement. Seeing myself in each of them, I have remained determined to elevate the plight of refugees to the top of the global agenda today.

As of the end of 2017, a record 68.5 million people around the world had been forced from their homes, including 25.4 million refugees, according to the United Nations refugee agency. Only 102,800, less than 1 percent of the total number of displaced, were admitted for resettlement in 2017. Furthermore, data from the Missing Migrants Project shows that nearly 2,000 refugees and migrants died during the first six months of 2018 as they made perilous journeys across borders and high seas.

Despite the scale of the refugee challenge, we need to think of it first and foremost as a crisis of solidarity. Whether the world can come together to effectively support these vulnerable groups will be a true test of our collective conscience.

An increase in political will is urgently needed from our world leaders, as is a readiness to partner with others. This political will must be guided by an enhanced sense of our common humanity, rather than a belief in barriers and barbed wire.

Faced with images of unthinkable suffering from the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, or with evidence of gross human rights violations in Myanmar and elsewhere, too many leaders have lacked the necessary courage to respond with generosity and support. Some leaders have gone so far as to actively encourage prejudice against refugees and migrants simply to win votes.

Countries in the developing world — Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Lebanon, Iran, Bangladesh and Sudan — are host to among the largest numbers of refugees, while the prosperous nations of the global north have failed (with the exception of Germany) to share the burden fairly. This needs to change.

Wealthier countries must admit and resettle significantly more than the less than 1 percent of the world’s refugee population resettled in 2017. Such equitable sharing of responsibility is critical to ameliorating this crisis of global solidarity.

In September 2016, I convened the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York to confront the refugee challenge head-on. At this historic gathering, world leaders committed to developing a Global Compact on Refugees and a Global Compact for Migration, an international negotiation process overseen by the United Nations until its conclusion this past summer. Together, these agreements — which will likely be adopted by the United Nations later this year — will help ensure the dignity and protection of refugees, migrants and host communities alike.

In particular, the Global Compact on Refugees will allow for better burden-sharing among host countries, while elevating the voices of refugees and civil society groups.

Despite the hard work undertaken by the international community in support of refugees, we must recognize that the global political environment has changed dramatically in recent years. In a number of countries, the global compacts were negotiated in the shadow of populist backlashes that have tapped into and stoked nativist fears about immigrants and their descendants. Some politicians feel that they must be tough toward immigrants, that they must protect their country’s borders and national identities. In the United States, the resulting policies have taken on increasingly cruel forms, with children detained and separated from their asylum-seeking parents in violation of the best interests of the child.

The United States’ decision to withdraw from the migration pact, announced in December 2017, is a deeply regrettable step that undermines international solidarity. It also hampers efforts by nation-states, international agencies, nongovernmental organizations, multinational corporations and others to increase partnership efforts.

Such partnerships are crucial in easing the suffering of refugees. For example, the United Nations refugee agency and the Ikea-supported company Better Shelter have come together to provide thousands of innovative temporary housing structures for refugees and displaced families in Iraq, Greece and elsewhere. The Japanese government generously supported Better Shelter’s housing efforts in Iraq.

In Lebanon, Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the nongovernmental organization Save the Children to provide refugees displaced by the crisis in Syria with access to early childhood development services.

I fondly remember when, in 2016 — my last year as secretary general — I witnessed the entry of the Refugee Olympic Team at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. For the first time, refugees were allowed to compete in the Olympics as a stand-alone team. The refugee athletes said to the world: We are young people, just like scores of others, and although we are refugees, we can compete at the highest level.

The huge crowd gathered at Maracanã Stadium felt the same way: Tens of thousands of people gave the refugee team an extended standing ovation. It was a beautiful moment, full of pride, solidarity and hope.

This is the same spirit in which we must address the global refugee crisis. Only by standing together — with each other and with refugees — can we succeed.

Original publication with photos: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/16/opinion/politics/ban-ki-moon-refugee-crisis.html

Photo: Ali Dia/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva to head the Global Commission on Adaptation

On September 10th, 2018, Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) announced the inauguration of the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s Co-chair Ban Ki-moon as Chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation, which will take place in The Hague, the Netherlands on October 16th, 2018. Three global leaders, Ban Ki-moon, Bill Gates, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva will head the commission which will be co-hosted by the GCA and World Resources Institute.

The GCA will gather experts and professionals from various different sectors to discuss solutions to the climate pressures increasing casualties and economic loss around the world, Ban said. “This Global Commission will play a vital role in elevating the political importance of adaptation, and also in making the case that greater resilience is achievable – and that is in all our interests.”

The commission planned to deliver a flagship report at a UN climate summit this month to make the climate change adaptation receive international and political attention it deserves. The commission addresses the need of more necessary funding for the climate adaptation that could help the world keep the pace with reaching global solutions for climate change. In a 2017 report, the Climate Policy Initiative said emissions-reduction activities accounted for an average of 93 percent of climate finance from 2015-2016. Looking only at public sources of funding, adaptation received just 16 percent.

The GCA brings together governments, the private sector, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and relevant institutions that can address the obstacles slowing down adaptation action. The challenges the center stipulates are:

  • Scaling up ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Integrating climate adaptation into financial decision-making
  • Measuring effective adaptation
  • Creating climate resilient cities
  • Leveraging deltas to address climate change

CEO Patrick Verkooijen of the GCA said his organization would promote “much bolder, bigger approaches.” He emphasized on the importance of sharing expertise and knowledge in the field and having it implemented in correct methods that can be used in every place throughout the world. He mentioned that new technologies and funding options were also needed to meet challenges at the local level.

“That will happen when there is a push to put adaptation on the global agenda equal to other critical issues,” said Verkooijen.

The Global Commission on Adaptation, thus, should be able to include the perspectives of marginalized people living in vulnerable regions affected by natural disaster and to address their issues, including but not limited to lack of fund and expertise to the international community. The commission will roughly consist of 20 commissioners, including some world leaders, and 10 convening countries, which will be unveiled on October 16th, 2018.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climatechange-adaptation/ban-ki-moon-gates-lend-muscle-to-help-world-weather-climate-change-idUSKCN1LT290

Source: https://gca.org/home

Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech on “The UN and Global Citizenship” at the 3rd Asia Leadership Forum

The third Asia Leadership Forum was held by the LIU Institute for Asia & Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, the US on September 12th, 2018. The Centre’s Co-chair Ban Ki-moon presented on “the United Nations and Global Citizenship” at the forum. Below is the script of his keynote address.

 

Thank you for your kind introduction.

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C, President of the University of Notre Dame,

Mr. R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the University of Notre Dame,

Dear Students, Faculty Members, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world is going through pronounced changes and this is resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks.

Challenges to the post-Second World War international order and our multilateral institutions are being felt in a variety of spheres.

Tariffs and protectionism are threatening free trade, conflicts between the US and its traditional allies such as Canada are growing, and US trade wars with China and the EU are expanding.

Human rights are under threat as nationalism and xenophobia spreads. Development and humanitarian funds are being slashed. Our climate is changing as well, and this is bringing dire risks to our ailing planet.

At the same time, new technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of AI, blockchain, biotechnology, and robotics will alter the future of our countries, cities, businesses, and interpersonal relationships.

Under this backdrop of waning internationalism and dizzying change, we must continue to work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation. We must also forge ahead through a driving commitment to global citizenship to help cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

However, despite these challenges, we have made progress in key areas and I am confident that we also have invaluable opportunities to change the world for the better.

Much of this progress is grounded in the power of partnerships and cooperation to achieve our development and climate goals. And much of this hope is driven by my belief in education, youth empowerment, and action.

Therefore, I firmly believe that we must remain committed to our international system anchored in multilateral institutions such as the United Nations.

Solving the problems of our changing world, which are intrinsically global in nature, will continue to require robust cooperation and global solutions.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my global leadership duties by leveraging the power of partnerships. This is important since the UN and its Member States can no longer bear these responsibilities alone in our rapidly changing world.

That’s why young people and universities are such a crucial part of the ultimate success of the UN’s efforts to ensure a more peaceful and sustainable world.

In 1945, as the ashes of war lifted, the UN was born to provide an international forum for maintaining global peace and security. Its critics were numerous then, but the UN offered all nations and peoples an alternative to the bombs, guns, and destruction of the Second World War.

This alternative was based on the guiding belief that diplomacy and cooperation offered the international community a better way of resolving conflicts.

And so, 74 years later, the UN remains the preeminent forum for every country in the world to address serious global issues together. During this time, the UN has tirelessly pursued its three interconnected pillars of peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights. But challenges remain.

Today, I will speak to you about how we can advance and also flourish in this era of increased global uncertainty and insecurity. We can achieve this goal through sound policies, the power of cooperation and partnerships, and a driving sense of global citizenship.

But we must all play our part in this process, particularly young people such as you and leading academic institutions such as Notre Dame, if we are to succeed in creating a better world for all.

Having said this, let me touch upon three key areas. First, I will discuss the great necessity of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Second, I will address the most serious challenge we currently face: climate change.

And third, I will speak about the need for expanded youth participation and the role of global citizenship in forging a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous future.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have taken significant leaps forward in the field of global development in recent years. The international community, guided by the landmark United Nations Millennium Development Goals, has undoubtedly improved human welfare around the world.

Extreme poverty rates have been cut in half by 2010. This represents over 1 billion people and is truly an incredible achievement. During this period, the under-five mortality rate has been halved and rates of maternal deaths have been reduced by 45 percent.

And since 1990, 2.1 billion people have benefited from access to improved sanitation and over 2.6 billion people now have improved sources of water.

But there is still much work to be done. Nearly 10 percent of the world’s workers and their families still live on less than $1.90 a day. Over 6 million children perish each year before they reach their fifth birthday.

And 663 million people remain without drinking water. This figure is in danger of worsening as a result of climate change-accelerated droughts.

Inequality is also growing, both between and within nations. Since 2000, 50 percent of the increase in global wealth has only benefitted the top 1% of the world’s population.

Even more jarring, a recent report indicated that just 42 rich individuals hold as much wealth as the 3.7 billion people who comprise the poorest 50% of the global population.

During my two terms as UN Secretary-General, I am proud to have prioritized and expanded the importance of the Organization’s global development efforts.

The 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals is one of the UN’s most significant achievements. It builds on the Millennium Development Goals and provides humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.

Adopted by 193 countries in New York in 2015, the SDGs offer us a way forward to confront the most critical issues of our time. These include poverty, education, inequality, climate change, public health, and gender equality.

However, three years since the SDGs were adopted, progress remains uneven and some sectors and geographic areas are moving faster than others.

For example, according to the 2018 SDG Index and Dashboards Report, while most G20 countries have started SDGs implementation, visible gaps remain. Additionally, no country is currently on track towards achieving all of the SDGs.

Furthermore, conflicts around the world are leading to reversals in SDG implementation, and progress towards sustainable consumption and production patterns is too slow overall.

At the regional level, countries in East and South Asia face persistent challenges related to SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health & Well-Being), 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), 14 (Life below Water), and 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).

With this in mind, global partnerships, including the active participation of universities and students like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on our development commitments. Goal 17 of the 2030 Agenda clearly highlights the prominent role that academic institutions, alongside the private sector, civil society, and others, should play to help achieve the SDGs.

It calls for “multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries.”

In this regard, I am proud to have expanded the UN’s partnership efforts with academic institutions. In 2010, I launched United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). It aligns institutions of higher education with the UN to actively support and contribute to the realization of the SDGs and other global efforts.

Educational institutions and research centers are essential partners in our quest to achieve the SDGs. They serve as launch pads for new ideas and incubators to forge solutions to the seemingly insurmountable problems that we face.

And the academic community, including universities such as yours, has stepped up to the plate to help with these efforts to achieve the SDGs and our climate goals.

I am proud to have expanded and mainstreamed the UN Global Compact, which ensures that business is done both sustainably and responsibly. The UN Global Compact does this by bringing together over 12,000 signatories from 170 countries in a public-private partnership to help achieve the SDG’s.

Notre Dame’s efforts to this end are a shining example of the power of partnerships in action. But we must maintain our forward momentum, together.

In this regard, I would like to introduce my engagement in the implementation of the SDGs in Korea. Last year, the Institute of Global Engagement and Empowerment and the Ban Ki-moon Center for Sustainable Development were established at Yonsei University, a prominent private university, and the oldest in Korea.

I assumed the position of Honorary Chairman of the Institute and hosted a “Global Engagement and Empowerment for Sustainable Development Forum.” The Forum featured many nationally and internationally recognized persons including Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Prime Minister of Korea, the President of the UN General Assembly, and Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba, the most successful businessman in China.

It is my great hope that the Institute of Global Engagement and Empowerment and the Ban Ki-moon Center for Sustainable Development can help Asia take on an even more prominent role in the field of global development.

All of these elevated efforts, borne out of partnership and propelled by the spirit of global citizenship, will not only help improve human development around the world, they will also help fortify the protection of our vulnerable planet.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Climate change is altering the character of our planet and creating dire risks and instability. We must increase our collective efforts to protect ourselves, our communities, and our world from the existential threats that this will bring. The play clock, however, is counting down.

From record-breaking heat waves and wildfires, to hurricanes and flooding of historic intensity, climate change is no longer a debate. It is clearly here right now.

Here in Indiana, a warming planet could render this scenic state starkly different in the coming years. Hotter summers and volatile rainfall and flooding could upend the state’s $31 billion dollar a year agriculture industry and the livelihoods of its proud farmers. Extreme weather conditions and a warming climate, if left unchecked could severely affect crops, livestock, and local ecosystems.

The recently released “Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment” warned that state temperatures are projected to rise from 5 to 6 degrees by the middle of this century. This could make Indiana’s climate feel more like the Deep South rather than the Midwest if we fail to act.

And elsewhere, the extreme weather events of just the last few months alone point to a bleak and dangerous future. 2018 is on track to be the fourth hottest year on record globally, with the three previous years the only ones hotter.

This summer, California has been engulfed in flames and smoke from historic wildfires. Intense and prolonged heat waves claimed dozens of lives in Japan and Korea. And near Greenland, the Arctic’s thickest sea ice broke up for first time on record. These events no longer seem like anomalies; rather they appear to be the new normal.

So we must immediately take the necessary steps to combat climate change, or these turbulent shifts will continue to bring dangerous scorching heat waves to our cities and rural areas. They will cause sea levels to rise higher and lead to deadly flooding. They will make hurricanes and typhoons even more frequent and intense. They will drive displacement and seriously threaten entire communities and countries.

With this reality in mind, we must step-up our collective efforts to implement the Paris Agreement. The bottom line is that we don’t have a plan B, simply because we don’t have a planet B either.

The Paris Agreement, signed by 197 countries in 2015, offers us a clear game plan to confront these serious threats to our planet. It sets viable targets to impede rising temperatures, constrict greenhouse gas emissions, and spur climate-resilient development and green growth.

During my time serving as United Nations Secretary-General, this is one of my most significant achievements. And I truly believe that the Paris Agreement offers us our best hope to persevere over the serious threats to our ailing planet. But to achieve this goal, we need to keep working together.

However, I must take this opportunity to communicate my deep disappointment regarding the current US government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

This isolates the US from literally every other country in the entire world on climate policy, including even North Korea and Syria. It is scientifically wrong, economically irresponsible, and President Trump will be on the wrong side of history. I greatly hope that this decision is reconsidered and reversed.

But, despite this, there are still many reasons for optimism.

I am impressed by the “We Are Still In” actions of the many cities, states, and companies in the US who have joined together to ensure implementation of the Paris Agreement despite the unfortunate decision of the US government. This includes cities in Indiana such as South Bend, Carmel, Gary, and Bloomington.

These actions will help fill the vacuum and work towards reducing this nation’s carbon footprint and Paris implementation. And this is another inspiring example of the utility of catalyzing public-private partnerships, anchored by the spirit of global citizenship, in helping us achieve our climate goals.

Asian countries have a prime opportunity to take the lead on climate issues. China’s growing climate leadership in these difficult times for our planet has the potential to positively affect the Asian region and the world more largely. China’s decision to set a deadline to completely phase out sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles is a sterling example in this regard.

At the same time, other countries such as Korea, India, Japan, and Indonesia must continue to lead by example in the fight against climate change for the betterment of their countries, Asia, and the world.

There are individual actions we can all take as well, and young people like you can lead these efforts. Don’t waste water or electricity. Be aware of your consumption and carbon footprint. Learn more about supply chains and buy sustainable products. Recycle, compost, and avoid single-use plastic. Take a sustainability pledge. Talk with your family and friends about the dangers of climate inaction.

We are all in this together, and we simply must continue our momentum forward, together.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this era of division and uncertainty, I strongly believe that fighting climate change and achieving the UN’s SDGs are two efforts that must unite all nations and global citizens through cooperation and partnership. Quite plainly, our collective existence moving forward depends on it.

But this urgent and historic undertaking can create opportunities as well. We can cultivate essential partnerships, spur economic growth, expand social inclusion, and work for the greater good. And I am confident that leading academic institutions such as the University of Notre Dame and young people like you will be central to these unified efforts.

During my time as UN Secretary-General, I understood that young people and women are absolutely essential to solving so many of the world’s biggest challenges. This includes achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, and building peace and resolving conflicts.

Indeed, the active engagement and empowerment of the youth and women is critical in ensuring the success of the international community. Consider the fact that young people and women comprise at least 75% of world’s population.

So we must do more to engage and empower these two groups as they are the enablers to achieve our sustainable development and climate goals. By doing so, we can help unlock their unbridled potential as the agents of change and dynamic global citizens of tomorrow.

Global citizenship is an important concept that can serve as a unique tool to help solve some of our most pressing challenges and assist us in reaching our global goals.

Global citizens are those who identify themselves not as a member of a nation, but instead, as a member of humanity more largely. They are understanding and tolerant of other people and cultures.

They fight for the protection of our planet and human rights. They are committed to service and helping others, including refugees. They build bridges rather than construct walls. They look beyond the narrow prism of national and personal interests and work for a better world.

And to establish long-term solutions, we need inclusive and participatory action from young global citizens as an essential ingredient to leverage the great potential of partnerships that I spoke of earlier.

So for these reasons, I’ve been trying my best to help elevate global citizenship as a driving vision for young people around the world.

In this regard, I am proud to inform you that I recently launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens to continue my work as UN Secretary-General and help forge a brighter future for the next generation. Based in Vienna, Austria, the Centre aims to help provide young people and women with a greater say in their own destiny, as well as a greater stake in their own dignity.

Alongside the UN, the private sector, and other key stakeholders, I see the University of Notre Dame, Yonsei University’s Institute of Global Engagement and Empowerment and Ban Ki-moon Center for Sustainable Development, and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Austria as natural allies in our partnership efforts to engage the next generation and advance policy-oriented research to achieve our global goals.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please allow me to conclude my remarks by saying that despite the challenges we currently face, if we join together in strong partnerships and move forward as global citizens, we can achieve our global goals and create a brighter future for all.

But to do this, I humbly ask you to harness your vision, studies, and work to prioritize global action. Look outside your immediate surroundings, your state, and your country. Think beyond yourselves. We need to ensure that the global goals are local business; here in Indiana, in Asia, and beyond.

Students, you hold the keys to unlock a more sustainable, peaceful, and prosperous world. You are the innovators, the change-makers, the leaders, and the global citizens of both today and tomorrow.

Play your part in helping advance the United Nations global development and climate goals. Hold politicians and leaders accountable. We only have one planet, and our ability to sustain it will ultimately dictate our collective future. Your voices are more powerful than you know.

I will leave you with the eloquent words of Pope Francis who, in his encyclical Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home, said: “We require a new and universal solidarity…We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.”

So please, work hard in your life and future careers heeding these resonant words alongside a driving outlook rooted in global citizenship. Include the excluded and act with both passion and compassion to help humanity, and our planet, move forward.

I have no doubt that you can change the world.

I thank you for your attention. /End/

 

Photo: Zachary Yim

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gets awarded “Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award”

“I believe that we all share a common destiny. We are all in this together. There’s not a single country or single individual, however powerful and however resourceful, that can do it alone. We all have to work together. We have to pool our wisdom and energy. So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s work together to make this world better. And I count on your leadership and global vision,”
said Ban Ki-moon, Co-chair of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens at the “Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award” ceremony hosted by The Asia Foundation on September 11th, 2018.

The annual award honors the legacy of the late Dr. Chang-Lin Tien, an immigrant from Asia who rose to become a prominent engineer, educator, and internationalist, chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, and chair of The Asia Foundation’s board of trustees. Co-chair Ban received the award from Chang-Lin Tien’s son, Dr. Norman Tien.

Ban was presented with the Chang-Lin Tien Distinguished Leadership Award in recognition of his leadership in international development. He accepted the honor before political leaders, philanthropists, diplomats, and heads of business in San Francisco, the US.

During the ceremony, Ban added, “The Asia Foundation’s ongoing commitment to strengthening local communities and organizations, as well as empowering women and young people like the development fellows here, is harmonious with what I have just said. Indeed, these impactful efforts will secure better outcomes for Asia and our world. And the leadership and memory of Chang-Lin Tien is fully in line with these values and this spirit.”

Read more about the event and the speech here: https://asiafoundation.org/…/ban-ki-moon-accepts-chang-lin…/

Source & Photo by the Asia Foundation