BKMC welcomes all parties of the Austrian Parliament to discuss joint events for youth in Austria

Today, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens welcomed representatives of all parties of the Austrian parliament (Österreichisches Parlament) to the Centre.

The visitors included Mr. Andreas Schieder, Mr. Hubert Koller, and Mr. Maximilian Unterrainer from SPOE, Mr. Werner Amon, Mr. Nikolaus Berlakovich, and Mr. Josef Lettenbichler from OEVP, Ms. Petra Wagner from FPOE, Ms. Stephanie Krisper from NEOS, and Ms. Alma Zadic from JETZT.

The Ban Ki-moon Centre’s CEO Monika Froehler introduced the mission and the work of the Centre to the delegation. The group discussed possible collaboration for joint events in the parliament regarding youth in Austria.

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.

 

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

“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

President Hashim Thaçi of the Republic of Kosovo Visits Ban Ki-moon Centre

President Hashim Thaçi, First-Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Behgjet Pacolli, and Ambassador Sami Ukelli of the Republic of Kosovo visited the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens for a meeting with Dr. Heinz Fischer, the former Austrian President and the co-chairman of the Centre. Ardian Arifaj and Blerim Shala, the two advisors to the President, and Faruk Ajeti, the Secondary Secretary to the Ambassador, were also present at the meeting.

President Thaçi and Fischer discussed the current situation in Kosovo and the Balkan region and the way forward. While in Vienna President Thaçi also met with the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the former Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel to discuss the expansion of the economic cooperation between the two states in political, economic, educational, and cultural fields. The final stage of the dialogue on normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia, process facilitated by the EU was also covered at the official meetings.

Source: http://www.president-ksgov.net/en/news/president-thaci-departs-for-an-official-visit-to-austria-received-by-chancellor-sebastian-kurz