Ambassador Anderson of Peru and Director Guessel of the Council of Europe visit the Centre

On January 14th, 2018, H.E. Ambassador Eric Anderson of the Embassy of Peru in Austria and Mr. Alexandre Guessel, Director of Political Advice of the Council of Europe visited the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. They respectively had a meeting with the Centre’s Co-chair Heinz Fischer who served as the 11th President of the Republic of Austria from 2004 to 2016.

Learn more about the work of the Council of Europe here: https://www.coe.int/web/portal

Amb. Friedrich Stift, Amb. LI Xiaosi, and Prof. Gerd Kaminski visits BKMC

On January 8th, 2019, Co-chair Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens welcomed Ambassador Friedrich Stift of the Austrian Embassy in Beijing, Ambassador LI Xiaosi of the Chinese Embassy in Vienna, and Professor Gerd Kaminski of the University of Vienna to the Centre.

The Ambassadors and former President of the Republic of Austria discussed ways to develop the international relations between Austria and China and to achieve sustainable development under the consultancy of the Professor. Professor Kaminski is a Chinese affairs consultant to the Austrian Foreign Ministry who has also been the head of the Austro-Chinese society since 1971 and of Boltzmann institute for Chinese and southeast Asian research in Vienna since 1978.

 

The Ban Ki-moon Centre sends its sincere appreciation to all its friends, partners, and supporters

During the last days of the year 2018 and the first days of the year 2019, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler met with the supporters, donors and potential partners of the Centre in Vienna, Austria. Among them was Sauli Niinistö of Finland during his visit to Austria.

Some of the Board members of the Centre residing in Austria, Ambassador Sadiq Marafi of the Kuwaiti Embassy and Ambassador Shin Dong-ik of the Korean Embassy, hosted a BKMC get-together at their residence where Senior Advisor Andrea Pfanzelter at KAICIID was also present as a Board member of the Centre. The Ban Ki-moon Centre took the opportunities to show its gratitude to both the Republic of Korea and the State of Kuwait as well as individual Board members that have continuously shown their greatest support to the Centre last year.

The Co-chairs also expressed the Centre’s appreciation to CEO Jongbum Park of Youngsan Group that is one of the few private donors of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens with a commitment to make annual donations to empower women and youth. Youngsan, based in Vienna, has achieved steady growth every year in the fields of production, trading and distribution and has become a responsible company that fulfills social responsibilities and duties through various social contributions.

CEO Monika Froehler said, “the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens has just celebrated its first anniversary. Thanks to all of our partners, friends and collaborators for their support on our journey. A global citizen mindset is essential for the implementation of the SDGs. We are eager to work with you and build on what we achieved.“

The Ban Ki-moon Centre sends its wishes for the best of luck and lots of happiness to everyone for the new year 2019.
Watch Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s season’s greetings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENAEuGpSd-E

 

Launch of the “Orange the World” Campaign at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

Since 2015 the “Orange the World” campaign takes place during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based violence. From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day the world’s most prominent monuments and buildings light up in the color orange to raise awareness and to represent a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls.

In Austria, the campaign is executed in a collaborative effort by the UN Women National Comittee Austria, Soroptimist International Austria, and HeForShe Graz. During the 16 days over 70 famous buildings and monuments will be illuminated in orange, ensuring that every region of Austria pays tribute to the cause. This year, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens joined forces and hosted the launch of the campaign on 21 November.

Co-Chair Heinz Fischer opened the event with a keynote about the history of women’s rights activism in Austria. 2018 is a symbollic year for the status of women for Austria, as it marks the 100th anniversary of female suffrage. Furthermore, our Co-Chair stressed that the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence serve to prepare ourselves to stand strong against violence against women during the entire year.

Co-Chair Ban Ki-moon surprised the guests of the event, congratulating them on their contributions to the campaign in a video message:

Violence against women and girls takes many forms and is still widespread throughout the globe. It includes rape, domestic violence, harassment at work, abuse in school, female genital mutilation and sexual violence in armed conflicts. It is predominantly inflicted by men.

He continued,

It fills me with joy and pride that Austria, my second home, will shine bright in orange during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and will stand strong in the fight against violence against women.

Subsequently, Desiree Schweitzer, president of the Austrian UN Women National Comittee and Head of Development Cooperation in the Austrian Foreign Ministry, and Marcella Sigmund-Graff, president of Soroptimist International Austria, empasized the importance of continued activism against violence against women, pointing to the fact that every thrid woman world wide suffers from sexual or physical violence at least once in her life.

In the end, Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Fröhler interviewed Anja Weisi-Michelitsch and Dr. Matthias Beitl, who will participate in the campaign by illuminating the Vienna based Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art and several smaller museums in the rural areas of the Austrian region Styria.

Guests were also able to enjoy musical interludes by violinist Sophia Hahn and pianist Richard Reiter.

This year, the theme of “Orange the World” is #HearMeToo. UN Women writes:

in recent months we have reached a tipping point, in large part due to the determination and bravery of grassroots activists and survivors and global social media conversation such as “#MeToo”, “#TimesUp”, “#BalanceTonPorc” “#NiUnaMenos”, #MetooIndia and “HollaBack!”. At the same time, we are experiencing a concerted pushback against women’s rights, human rights defenders and a shrinking civic space that threatens the progress achieved so far. Both trends point to one reality: no country, no organization is immune to sexual harassment and violence, and women and girls from all corners of the world still experience gender-based violence and abuse.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre is looking forward to an impactful campaign, not only in Austria, but worldwide. Only together we can achieve a gender-just world.

Photo: © Yazan Majananini

The Global Fight against Corruption and the Notion of Global Citizenship

colloquium on the topic of “The Global Fight against Corruption and the Notion of Global Citizenship” was co-organized by the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and its partner International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) in Laxenburg, Austria this morning. The event attracted more than 70 attendees from students to professors in academia, delegates from the Embassies, and other stakeholders from different sectors.

BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and IACA Dean & Executive Secretary Martin Kreutner delivered a keynote during the event moderated by Senior Coordinator Richard Eames of IACA. During the Q&A session, the participants actively engaged themselves in the discussions, bringing up questions and sharing ideas. Co-chair Ban said that “anti-corruptions and global citizenship go together hand in hand,” emphasizing that organizations from all different sectors must cooperate.

He added that transparency and accountability is important for any type of organization or company, following the 10 principles that the United Nations Global Compact has set. Co-chair Fischer said that for a state or an organization to be stabilized based on the Rule of Law, they have to “fight corruption.” He added that “corruption is a poison for democracy and for Economic Growth” of any country, emphasizing that it must be cleaned up for a country to prosper.

“There is still a way to go in addressing issues of corruption. What’s important is extending knowledge, focusing on implementation, and encouraging ownership. We need to have the courage of using our own understanding to achieve the common good,” Kreutner concluded. On the margins of the colloquium, BKMC Co-chairs and CEO Monika Froehler also had a bilateral meeting with Kreutner.

President Alexander Van der Bellen invites BKMC to the 100th Anniversary of the Republic of Austria

On November 12th, 2018, the Republic of Austria celebrated its 100th anniversary, and Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens attended the event upon the invitation of President Alexander Van der Bellen.

A hundred years ago on this day, Austria was reborn as a republic state from the embers of World War I and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Austrian government marked this special day with an official ceremony at the State Opera House which was attended by distinguished guests, including the political, economic and cultural elite.

President Van der Bellen as well as Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Vice-Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache made speeches calling for democratic consensus and for the respect of differing political opinions.

“Only a liberal democracy fights for joint solutions that benefit all… democracy means civilized debate and confrontation,” said the President.

With the Centre’s strong relationship with the Austrian government, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon together with Madam Yoo Soon-taek also had a bilateral meeting with the President and First Lady Doris Schmidauer on November 15th, 2018, following up their previous meeting held in August in Alpbach, Austria.

“Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?”

The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA) co-organized a forum titled “Are International Treaties in Jeopardy?” in Vienna, Austria on November 13th, 2018.

Prior to the forum, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler had a meeting with Minister Karin Kneissl, Ambassador Andreas Riecken, Cabinet Karl Ehrlich of the Minister, and Deputy Spokesperson Peter Guschelbauer at the Ministry.

The forum facilitated discussions on international treaties and rapidly changing status quo of the global society to seek for global solutions for global challenges impacting international relations. Both Co-chairs of the Centre delivered a keynote.

Co-chair Fischer, former Austrian President, said that

“The commitment solves challenges and problems like migration through cooperation.”

He continued,

“there is still a long way to go, and we have learned that we must work this way together, respecting each other, compromising our own national benefit in order to sustainably pursue this project of humankind.”

Co-chair Ban, former United Nations Secretary-General, highly criticized that Austria has recently withdrawn from the global compact on migration.

“Ever since the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties was signed almost fifty years ago,” Ban said, “commitments are eroding, treaties are disrespected, and agreements are ignored.”

He emphasized that political leaders should approach global issues with moral perspective rather than following their political will.

“World leaders, they led global visions, global citizenship; they always speak loud and clearly that “I work for humanity.” But, when they go back to national governments, they all become national leaders. That is why I really want to foster global citizenship. We need to work together. Nothing can be done alone.”

In order to solve the global issues, Ban said that it is important for the states to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that must be owned by the member states who should prioritize supporting “women, young people, and the least advantaged.”

During the panel discussion, Co-chair Fischer also pointed out that the international rule of law should be the final goal for a state to reach and that one has to rely on international treaties and agreements.

Minister Kneissl, Deputy Spokesperson Guschelbauer, and Head Thomas Hajnoczi of Disarmament Department of the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also featured on the panel as well as Ms. Mona Ali Khalil, former Senior Legal Officer with the UN Office of the Legal Counsel, and Professor Gerhard Hafner for International Law at the University of Vienna.

Watch Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s keynote: https://youtu.be/dNlaAP0nP2s
Watch Co-chair Heinz Fischer’s keynote: https://youtu.be/JqaFieHNevM

Photo: Ashraf Mahmoud / BMEIA

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

Ban Ki-moon Centre featured at a plenary session at EFA 2018

Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens’ Co-chair Heinz Fischer, who is also Honorary Chair of Alpbach-Laxenburg Group and the Centre’s Board member Irina Bokova, Former Director General of UNESCO featured at a plenary session during the political symposium held at European Forum Alpbach on August 28th, 2018.

The session was hosted by Alpbach-Laxenburg Group in cooperation with IIASA and had a panel discussion on “reconciling (bio)diversity protection and effort to mitigate climate change.” On the panel, also featured were David Nabarro, who served as Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Professor of Sustainability Science at the University of Iceland.

 

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