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

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

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.