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Co-chair Ban, former United Nations Secretary-General, highly criticized that Austria has recently withdrawn from the global compact on migration.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

 

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

Online course with Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer on the SDGs

Our co-chairmen Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer teach an online course on Coursera, and now registered students can access the videos and readings. Anyone from any part of the world interested in familiarizing themselves with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development is invited to take the lectures. Throughout 7 weeks, students will be directed to learn about the SDGs through five foundations: people. planet, prosperity, peace & partnership, and youth & SDG implementation. These interconnected foundations then will lead students to tackle problems and encourage them to make changes and take part in integrating the SDGs in all countries.

Following the introductory session for the 17 goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, every week there are 8 to 13 lecture videos along with 5 to 8 readings to complete. Weekly quizzes and the final project will be graded if one decides to take the course whereas auditing the course is also an option. Check out the course on Coursera and register now.

https://www.coursera.org/learn/sustainable-development-ban-ki-moon

Photo: Porapak Apickodilok

 

Former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Joachim Gauck visited the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna

Co-Chair Heinz Fischer welcomed the former German President Joachim Gauck (President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 2012 – 2016) at the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens. Joachim Gauck visited the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens as part of his program in Vienna, after he delivered a speech on the topic of democracy at the University of Vienna, to which Heinz Fischer contributed an introductory speech.

While visiting the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens former President Joachim Gauck underlined the importance of the Centre´s mission and congratulated Ban Ki-moon and Heinz Fischer on their initiative in the international city of Vienna.

Photo: Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens

“Be a global citizen – act with passion and compassion”

Ban Ki-Moon and Heinz Fischer launch a new Centre for Global Citizens to empower young people

Vienna, 3 January 2018

Today Ban Ki-moon, (UN Secretary-General from 2007 – 2016) and Dr. Heinz Fischer, (Federal President of Austria from 2004 – 2016) officially inaugurated the Ban Ki-Moon Centre for Global Citizens in Vienna at a ceremony at the Federal Chancellery of Austria, at the invitation of the Chancellor of the Republic of Austria, Mr. Sebastian Kurz.

Continue reading ““Be a global citizen – act with passion and compassion””