Co-chairs Ban and Fischer say: “The UN can not do anything without solidarity”

At the European Forum Alpbach 2019, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer were interviewed on August 25th by Der Standard, an Austrian daily newspaper published in Vienna.

Journalist Christoph Prantner asked why multilateralism is essential to meet the major global challenges. The two agreed that the international community must find new unity and that otherwise the big global challenges such as the climate crisis can not be overcome.

Ban stressed the “importance of

multilateralism in solving global challenges,” giving examples on the trade war between the USA and China and the rise of populism in Europe. He said that “regional issues were solved through solidarity and diplomacy in the past.”

Fischer added, “leadership alone is not enough, global challenges are always politicalecological
and ideological.”
He used the Paris Agreement as one of the solutions for current issues.

Giving the World War II and the subsequent creation of the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU), Fischer pointed out that “sometimes we need a shock/crisis to be able to move towards a bigger goal.”

 

Read more (GER): https://bit.ly/2k03s1O

© Eugenie Berger

The 2019 Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen scholars present their project ideas to the BKMC Board members!

The new batch of the Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen scholars of this year met with the Ban Ki-moon Centre team and its Board members in Alpbach on August 25th. A total of 6 scholars were chosen this year respectively from Rwanda, South Korea, Ghana, Jordan, and Nigeria.

The scholars presented their innovative ideas and projects aimed to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in front of the Centre’s co-chairs and Board members and received some suggestions and advice on how to move forward with strategic plans to make the most impact.

Salahaldeen Alazaizeh, who is a Business & Innovation Designer at مؤسسة فاي للعلوم Phi Science Institute introduced “Xi Education” which is a social enterprise that aims to educate undergraduate students, equip them with advanced skills and give them an interactive experience to enhance their knowledge in research, applied science and innovation. He stressed the importance of advancing the SDG 4: Quality Education and creating a solid scientific community of young multi-disciplined youth in Jordan.

“Presenting my project in front of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens team, listening to the inspirational story from Co-chair Heinz Fischer and getting structured feedback from Co-chair Ban Ki-moon himself was one of my best experiences here in Alpbach!” – Salahaldeen Alazaizeh

Eun Ji Scarlett Park from South Korea presented her project idea on “Rain Water Harvesting” by using rainwater jars that are environmentally friendly, cost-efficient, and sustainable. She tackled the issues of increased population and pollution as well as other impacts of climate change.

“I have truly learned to acknowledge myself as a global citizen. As an individual with passion, we can be a good leader; but with the drop of compassion, you can be a global one.” – Eun Ji Park

Oyindamola Adegboye from Nigeria introduced “Common Futures Conversations” initiated by Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs where she serves as a Country Representative of Nigeria. The program’s objectives are to address the disconnect between young people and traditional policy-making processes at both a national and international level; to use digital dialogues to give young people to opportunity to enhance their understanding, connect with peers and develop their own ideas; to make their voices heard; and to foster more global cooperation on controversial and highly-debated issues. She suggested the digital hub and the CFC communities as solutions.

“I was mostly inspired by the work of the other young scholars who are doing amazing things towards a more equal and sustainable world. The passion and innovation were evident in the atmosphere and I was privileged to be in the midst of such people. They give me hope for the future of the world.” – Oyindamola Adegboye

The “Light to Read” project was initiated by Samuel Afadu who is the founder of Light My World International. In Ghana, “over 6 million people are living without electricity in their homes,” he said.

“Providing solar-powered lamps to school children in communities with no access to electricity in Ghana will enable students to study at night, improving their education and knowledge level while reducing the expense of money used by their parents to provide light for the family.” – Samuel Afadu

Belinda Isimbi Uwase, Founder of the Girls Light Our World (GLOW), explained her project which supports young girls who have recently graduated or are still in high school in Rwanda. She said the group intends to provide a platform for female students to freely express themselves, learn new skills and contribute to their community through volunteering and taking actions.

After presenting her project, Uwase said,

“Having the honor of presenting my project to such influential people was a dream come true. I felt an overwhelming feeling of pride and gratitude, and I am so thankful to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens for giving me this opportunity. I have never felt so proud to be a global citizen.” – Belinda Isimbi Uwase

Daniel Park from South Korea presented his idea of connecting directly with farmers through an online platform in order to empower farmers and to have them have a 100% profit from their products. To execute the project, Park said that there needs to be some support from volunteers and NGOs and that sharing knowledge with others is crucial.

After sharing his project ideas, Park expressed his appreciation for having an opportunity to share his ideas and to learn from the other change-makers and leaders from all over the world.

“It was a truly amazing experience in Alpbach where I had an opportunity to see and listen closely to many global leaders such as former SG Ban Ki-moon.” – Daniel Park

One of the scholars from last year Alhassan Muniru, Co-founder of Recycle Up! Ghana, also participated in the meeting to share his experience and his own project ideas with the new scholars. The BKMC Board members, including the co-chairs, congratulated the scholars on their progress made and encouraged them to continue their impact while applying a global citizenship mindset. At the end of the presentations, the scholars were awarded the “Ban Ki-moon Global Citizen Scholarship” certificate.

Learn more: https://bankimooncentre.org/projects/global-citizen-scholars-fellows

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

Co-chair Heinz Fischer joins meadow talks with young global citizens at the European Forum Alpbach!

On August 25th, Co-chair Heinz Fischer and Mrs. Margit Fischer of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens had the pleasure of speaking to young scholars of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA), including the members of Club Alpbach Vorarlberg and Club Alpbach Steiermark.

Co-chair Fischer shared his experiences as a former President of Austria as well as the vision and mission of the Ban Ki-moon Centre with the young scholars. He emphasized on the importance of empowering youth in approaching global issues and tackling the challenges with a global citizenship mindset.

The EFA is an extraordinary forum that provides a comfortable, natural atmosphere for people, regardless of their background, age, expertise, etc., to meet with others from all over the world and freely share their thoughts and knowledge. The gathered participants also enjoyed listening to a live music performance.

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

Meeting with Federal Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein of Austria

At the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) 2019, BKMC co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer had a meeting with the Federal Chancellor of Austria Brigitte Bierlein on August 25th.

Chancellor Bierlein expressed her appreciation for the Ban Ki-moon Centre’s cooperation for making Austria one of the leading countries in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing advice and expertise with the Centre’s leadership.

At the EFA 2019, the Centre and the Austrian Chancellery successfully co-hosted the breakout session “Promoting the SDGs in Europe with a Global Mindset.”

Delivering a welcome remark at the session, Chancellor Bierlein said:

“By conviction, Austria is actively engaged in multilateral matters. One could certainly emphasize that in terms of the implementation of the United Nations’  Sustainable Development Goals, Austria ranks among the top 5 countries worldwide.”

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger

Meeting with the UNGA President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and CEO Monika Froehler had a meeting with the President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa on the margins of the European Forum Alpbach (EFA) on August 24th, 2019.

President Espinosa mentioned that she is “delighted to learn more about the work that the Ban Ki-moon Centre is doing to educate Youth 2030 on global citizenship and multilateralism.”

During the meeting, the leaders agreed on the shared vision of the SDGs as a roadmap for development and a world government programme for all. They also expressed concerns about the most pressing global challenges such as climate change. Having seen young people protesting for climate change outside at the Forum, they stressed the strong need for prompt and collective actions from political leaders.
Hearing the youth raising voices to fight climate change and to solve the global issues at the Forum, President Espinosa said, “our planet is literally on fire … we need to act collectively,” echoing the concerns.
At the opening of the Political and Legal Symposia of the Forum, Espinosa concluded:

Multilateralism may be a difficult word, but easy to explain: greater international cooperation and action. And just when we need it the most, it is being questioned. Multilateralism is the best foundation for liberty and security, and the only hope we have for the future.” – María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés

Ⓒ BKMC / Eugenie Berger & EFA / Andrei Pungovschi & UNPGA Twitte

Opening of the Political and Legal Symposia at EFA 2019

The opening of the Political and Legal Symposia of the European Forum Alpbach kicked off on August 24th.

Together with President Alexander Van der Bellen of Austria, President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés of the United Nations General Assembly, Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein of Austria, and a number of other world political leaders, BKMC Co-chairs Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer and their spouses attended the welcome and opening ceremony.

The welcome ceremony took place outside with various cultural and traditional performances and was followed by the indoor opening ceremony. The opening featured local, national and international leaders as its key speakers:

  • María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of Austria
  • Brigitte Bierlein, Federal Chancellor of Austria
  • Franz Fischler, President of the European Forum Alpbach

© BKMC / Eugenie Berger
© EFA / Andrei Pungovschi, Bogdan Baraghin, Iryna Yeroshko