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 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

Alpbach-Laxenburg Group retreat at EFA 2018

During European Forum Alpbach 2018, Alpbach-Laxenburg Group hosted a retreat where partners and potential partners of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens gathered, including IIASA, to discuss potential future collaboration. The meeting was attended by some of the Centre’s Board members Jeffrey Sachs and Kim Won-soo, and CEO Monika Froehler.

Potential topics of collaboration include developing thematic and political frameworks to link the Agenda 2030, the Paris Agreement, and other international conventions to create integrated implementation frameworks. The Centre’s partners will work together to develop a global school of excellence in sustainable studies in line with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Academy and SDSN Youth directed by Jeffrey Sachs.

Source and photo: http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/events/20180826-Alpbach.html

A trilateral MoU is signed by the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s affiliated offices

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC for GC) and its affiliated offices, the Ban Ki-moon Center for Sustainable Development (BKMC for SD) in Seoul, Korea and the Ban Ki-moon Institute for Sustainable Development (BKMI for SD) in Almaty, Kazakhstan, signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during European Forum Alpbach on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

The BKMC for SD was established under the Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University in September 2017, and the BKMI for SD was established at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in May 2018.

At the signing ceremony, the pre-signed MoU by Executive Director Sohn Myeongsei of IGEE was signed by Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer of the BKMC for GC and Rector Galym Mutanov of the BKMC for SD. The three parties in different countries will strengthen their partnership to cooperate on empowering youth and women through education and other areas to effectively implement the SDGs worldwide.

 

The Ban Ki-moon Centre signs MoU with IACA

During European Forum Alpbach 2018, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens (BKMC) and the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

The MoU was signed by BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and Martin Kreutner, Dean and Executive Secretary of IACA. Upon the agreement, both parties will cooperate to provide a framework to fight against corruption and work together for empowering women and youth towards the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BKMC Co-chair Ban commented:

“Educating global citizens to help make the world safer and more sustainable for current and future generations is a vital part of the Centre’s mission. I am confident that our new partnership with IACA, a global hub for anti-corruption education, will make an important contribution in this regard.”

BKMC Co-chair Fischer continued:

“Major global challenges such as corruption require us all to work together to seek solutions. Today’s agreement, between two Austria-based organizations with a shared global outlook, represents a significant further commitment to this inclusive approach.”

IACA Dean/Executive Secretary Kreutner concluded:

“Investing in anti-corruption education and empowerment is essential if we are to realize the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IACA is extremely pleased to be joining forces with the Ban Ki-moon Centre, and we look forward to working together to prevent and fight corruption across the globe.”

Source: https://www.iaca.int/1088-iaca-and-ban-ki-moon-centre-join-forces-against-corruption.html

 

BKM Centre Board members featured at breakout sessions during EFA 2018

Some of the Board members of the Ban Ki-moon Centre were featured with other world leaders and experts at different breakout sessions of the political symposium during European Forum Alpbach 2018 on August 26, 2018.

A session co-hosted by the Centre and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) had a discussion focused on “Women and Youth Empowerment – the Sustainable Development Goals in Practice.” The featured panelists were:

  • Márcia Balisciano, Director of Corporate Responsibility, RELX Group in London
  • Michael Sheldrick, Global Director of Policy and Advocacy, Global Poverty Project, Global Citizen in New York
  • Karin Kneissl, Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Österreichisches Außenministerium
  • Martin Ledolter, Managing Director, ADA
  • Nour Barakeh, a youth representative

Other youth representatives including a Syrian refugee, Doaa Al Zamel, also presented their thoughts during the panel discussion. The panelists listened to their concerns and ideas regarding various social issues and proactively shared their expertise.

The live-streamed videos of this session can be found on the Centre’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Another breakout session was hosted by Bertelsmann Stiftung and Environment Agency Austria with the topic on “Implementing the SDGs: the challenges countries face and the solutions they offer.” During this session, BKM Centre Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gave comments and the featured panelists were:

  • Aart Jan De Geus, Chairman and CEO, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Christian Kroll, Senior Expert, Bertelsmann Stiftung in Gütersloh
  • Susan Myers, Senior Vice President, UN Foundation in New York
  • Monika Mörth, Managing Director, Environment Agency Austria in Vienna
  • Herbert Ritsch, Director of Business Ethics, Bankhaus Schelhammer & Schattera AG in Vienna
  • Jeffrey Sachs, Director of SDSN and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, Professor of Economics; Special Adviser to the UNSG on SDGs; Bestselling Author; Syndicated Columnist based in New York

 

 

Ban Ki-moon speech at the EFA 2018 Opening Session

Your Excellency President Van der Bellen,
Your Excellency President Pahor
Your Excelleny President Vučić,
Your Excellency President Thaci,
Your Excellency President Fischler,
Your Excellency Commissioner Hahn,
Your Excellency Minister Kneissl,
Your Excellency Minister Köstinger,
Dear Heinz,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Global Citizens,
Gruess Gott! Good Afternoon!

I am pleased to join you today on the occasion of the opening of the Political Symposium of the European Forum Alpbach 2018.
This year marks the third time I have had the pleasure to be part of the vibrant and truly global atmosphere which everyone can experience year after year in Alpbach. In fact, this should be my 4th time, had I not cancelled my participation in 2013 because of the Syrian Crisis. Now, I am here to pay my overdue

Today, the values of mutual understanding and tolerance – so deeply embedded in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – celebrating its 70th Anniversary this Year – are facing profound tests around the world.
Diversity in the form of an open and inclusive society continues to be challenged by walls, closed doors, prejudice and fear. People are targeted because of their origins, culture, faiths and traditions.
Today, too many decision makers and politicians use cynical math and biased messaging to steer fear.

In times of fear and growing hate and discrimination towards people of different beliefs, nationalities, and sexual orientations, promoting tolerance through diversity and resilience should be of fundamental importance for decision-makers worldwide.
Therefore, resilient and thus more inclusive and diverse societies that can draw on the ideas, creative energy and talents of each of their members, are profoundly encouraged by tolerance, acting as a lever for sustainable development.

Already as Secretary-General of the United Nations I underlined that the Sustainable Development Goals are our only chance to put our planet on the right path. We do not have a Plan B or a Planet B – we only have one world and one plan. The SDGs are the people’s agenda, a plan of action for putting social conflicts to a rest, for reaching equality in all its dimensions, irreversibly, globally.
The SDGs and the Paris Climate agreement need to be our guiding principles to leave no one behind. We owe this to the billions of children, women and men who, through their courage, vitality, dreams and engagement help make our global society a more prosperous, resilient and diverse one.

Ladies and gentlemen,
I have special ties to Austria. As many of you know I have opened a small humble Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna in January this year and I am leading it together with my dear friend, Heinz Fischer. Thanks to you, President Van der Bellen, Chancellor Kurz and the whole Austrian government and many others who supported us on this journey so far.

Since the beginning of this year, we have worked to build the Cente up. It is still a small start- up enterprise. We created it to help to continue to address some of the challenges the world faces today. The Centre is just a small contribution to the worldwide ongoing efforts and we are still in the process of raising adequate funding for putting our plans into practice. We cannot do this alone, so we need all your help.

Let us act as Global Citizens. Let us look beyond national borders and empower each other to thrive in a peaceful and prosperous world. For the first time in history we can end poverty, for the first time in history we are all interconnected and have the knowledge of humankind at our fingertips. We have more tools at hand than ever before. Particularly the young need to be given the right opportunities to build “their tomorrow.”

Let us therefore see the world and all its possibilities through the prism of “we the people” and let us – at the same time – reject the failed mindset of “us” versus “them.”
We are all in this together.

I believe in a world of justice and peace for all. A world where girls can grow up free of fear of abuse. A world where human rights are respected, and women are treated with the respect and dignity. A world where poverty is eradicated. A world where economic growth and sustainable development are not mutually contradictory. A world where young people have a voice and a chance for a prosperous tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen,
As the leaders of tomorrow, I urge you all to remain engaged, not only during this year’s European Forum Alpbach, but also beyond: You have the passion and energy and commitment to make a difference. Exchange experiences and lessons learned and encourage each other to go faster and further. Have a global vision. Go beyond your country; go beyond your national boundaries and act as a truly Global Citizen.
We can build this world – together – to leave no one behind.
Thank you.

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens Featured at European Forum Alpbach 2018

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chairs, Board members, and all its staffs participated in European Forum Alpbach (EFA) 2018. President Franz Fischler of EFA welcomed the BKM Centre during the opening plenary session of the political symposium, at which Co-chair Ban Ki-moon delivered a keynote speech on sustainable development and the future of the world. The full text of the keynote speech can be found here.

EFA is an international forum where experts from different fields such as arts, culture, economics, legislation, financial market, health, politics, etc. gather to freely share their expertise, knowledge, and ideas. Given the fact that it is hosted in a rural area surrounded by mountains, the forum provides a rather unique experience to its participants to network in relatively more open-minded setting.

Some of the Centre’s Board members were featured in breakout sessions and discussions at the forum where hundreds of professionals and aspiring youth leaders gathered to learn and expand their knowledge.

More information about the sessions held for the political symposium can be found here: https://www.alpbach.org/en/event/pol18/
Pictures of the BKM Centre’s engagements during EFA are available here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/141786750@N06/albums

Photo: Laurent Ziegler / European Forum Alpbach

Finance Meeting of the Ban Ki-moon Centre Held in Paris

(from the left, Kim Won-soo, Daniele D. Bodini, Jean Todt, Irina Bokova, Ban Ki-moon, Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, Monika Froehler, Sungeun Chi, Youngsuk ‘YS’ Chi)

Last Saturday, some Advisory Board members of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens met for finance and fundraising considerations in Paris, France. Jean Todt, the President of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Road Safety, hosted the meeting at FIA Headquarters.

During the meeting, the previous work and the on-going projects of the Centre were discussed. The participants also shared their ideas on possibilities and strategies for financial cooperation for the Centre with its partners, including the governments of Korea, Kuwait and Austria, and international organizations, foundations, philanthropy and private sector.

The second regular annual Advisory Board meeting – with the complete Advisory Board present – will take place on August 27th during the European Forum Alpbach 2018, Austria. The Advisory Board members will participate in the Forum´s panels, workshops, and/or seminar sessions with members of government, high-level dignitaries, experts, businessmen and youth participants from all over the world.