Ban Ki-moon’s Keynote Address
Opening of the Inaugural Model United Nations Conference
GEMS World Academy – Dubai
January 9, 2020
I am delighted to be here at the inaugural GEMS World Academy, Dubai Model United Nations conference. It is energizing to see so many individuals and schools represented.
To be an Ambassador of GWA MUN is a great honour and privilege for me. One of the main reasons I accepted this position from Mr. Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education, was because I knew it would give me incredible insight into the way youth are thinking.
You are the world’s future leaders, and by being here it shows that you are committed to the world we live in and your passion to make a difference. I commend you all for that.
The theme of the conference, “Challenges of intervention in a complex world”, is so important. It gives you all the opportunity to explore global issues and look for solutions that perhaps world governments, NGOs, and many others haven’t thought of.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting the GEMS World Academy Secretariat who organised this conference. I was impressed with the leadership of the entire Secretariat team led by their Director-General Lihong Wang, and Deputy General Aditya Joshi. Without them this conference would not have been possible. Their passion, enthusiasm, and their drive to make a change gives me great comfort.
Like all of you, they are so committed to the MUN concept. This fills me with so much pride.
You may ask “why?”
You are our future and I am confident that you will have prudent solutions to real 21st century problems.
But, this conference is about more than that… and I hope that when the conference is over you will realise that you have personally grown and have met inspiring people and that you will have learned a lot.
The conference will train some of your skills that will help you shape your future in many ways; from developing key leadership abilities to researching, writing and public speaking.
Some of you will learn
Moreover, finding realistic solutions to real world problems that are acceptable to a majority of representatives requires incredible skills of negotiation, conflict resolution and cooperation. This is easier said than done!
I hope that the biggest take away for your all will be OWNERSHIP. Ownership of the world we all live in. OWNERSHIP for the Sustainable Development Goals. OWNERSHIP of the Agenda 2030. OWNERSHIP of the principle of leaving no one behind.
When I ended my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations, I knew that there was much more work to be done… So, I founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens along with Heinz Fischer, the former President of Austria. The Centre is based in Vienna and focusses on empowering women and the youth in the framework of the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.
You might ask why we chose to focus on Gender Equality and Quality Education because half of the world is women and half the world is under 25 years of age.
And, despite best efforts, in many developing countries, primary, secondary and tertiary education for girls STILL remains a challenge. We cannot ignore this.
Currently 264 Million children are not at school, a majority of them are girls.
In matters of access to education, professional opportunities, pay and representation there is no gender equality…yet!
Women are still under-represented in top positions…
1 in 3 women in the world have experienced physical or sexual violence…
And trafficking women and girls is still happening around the world.
Child marriage is still practiced and women and young people are the hardest hit in any conflict, war or crisis.
This has to stop!
The world is currently home to the largest generation of youth ever – with 1.8 billion young people worldwide. Nearly 90 per cent of which live in developing countries.
More than 70 million youth are currently unemployed and around 40 percent of the world’s active youth are either jobless or living in poverty – despite working.
As we know, unemployment breeds many problems from inequality, crime to terrorism.
And this has to be addressed.
Yes, progress is being made. But it is not enough. The Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens puts emphasis on decreasing youth mortality, supporting education, women and youth entrepreneurship – and raises awareness for global citizenship issues.
We want to make sure that all young people know about the SDGs and become agents of positive change. This is important given today’s challenges globally.
I am often asked: ‘but what can I do as an individual?’ believing that your contribution won’t make a difference. That is wrong! And if you think that it is someone else’s responsibility, then the world will continue to suffer.
It doesn’t matter how small your contribution to society is, as long as you are contributing in whatever way you can – within your capability.
We all know that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are each mammoth tasks… but they are achievable if each and every one of us plays our part.
One of the biggest challenges is mobilising sufficient financing to effectively pursue the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.
But, it is also about human-power.
This brings me back to ‘what is achievable’ for an individual? You should never think your contribution won’t be enough to be a catalyst for change. Everyone can make a difference. And I want to give you a real example from within GEMS Education.
I was delighted to learn that many GEMS teachers are United Nations Climate Change certified – with one school, The Kindergarten Starters, recently becoming the World’s first fully-accredited UN:CC school with all 300-plus of its teachers and support staff certified.
I am even more pleased to hear that other teachers across GEMS Education schools are following suit.
This was all made possible after ONE single teacher from GEMS First Point – The Villa – Candice Wright – discovered that accreditation was ONLY possible for teachers in the United Kingdom. However, she questioned the process and now as a result of her perseverance, the qualification is available to everyone around the world.
This has now resulted in hundreds of teachers becoming UN:CC certified in less than a year. And, it is evidence – within your own network of schools – that one person CAN make a difference.
I would like to leave you with this.
Be inspired to go out into the world and to work not only for the betterment of your own country, or the country you live in but for the betterment of humankind.
Be a global citizen! Act with passion and compassion!
Together, we can make the world safer and more sustainable for today, and for generations to come.
This is our moral responsibility as human beings.
On January 8th, 2020, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon and CEO Monika Froehler had a meeting with the GEMS World Academy Student Executive Committee in Dubai. As Model UN Ambassador of the GEMS World Academy schools, Ban encouraged the students to act as global citizens.
“Whatever leadership you may take, you should have a global vision,” said Ban.
He stressed that aspiring leaders should have compassion and think outside their community and country and added,
“It is critical that today’s youth take on responsibility for the world we live in from an early educational platform, and it is essential that educators empower students to talk about issues such as the environment and sustainability so that we can limit any adverse effects on our future generations.”
Before the opening ceremony of the annual GWAMUN, the BKMC leaders also met with the Korean students at the GWA and had a Q&A session about global citizenship and the SDGs. Ban also shared his experience as the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Learn more about GEMS World Academy: https://www.gemseducation.com
On May 22nd, 2019, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens signed an MOU with the GEMS Education in Berlin, Germany.
Our collaboration with the pioneering education company will specifically focus on the promotion of SG4, quality education and GCED. BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon also accepted the ambassadorship for the Model United Nations (MUN) at GEMS World Academy schools, including GEMS World Academy – Dubai.
The former Secretary General will hold this position for 3 years, where he will share his knowledge and expertise with students form all around the world.
Co-chair Ban and CEO Monika Fröhler were happy about the outcome of the fruitful meeting and meeting with representatives from the GEMS: Chairman Sunny Varkey, Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Asad Zafar and Shanta Retnasingam, Special Advisor of the Chairman.
Chairman Varkey is also the founder of the Varkey Foundation and the Global Teacher Prize. We’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to the Varkey Foundation that announced to make annual voluntary contributions to the Centre.
Learn more: http://www.gemseducation.com/
- GEMS World Academy Dubai students to receive valuable input and advice from statesman
- Appointment complements existing innovative initiatives at GEMS World Academy, the UAE’s leading IB education school, including its Entrepreneurship Centre – GEMS X, Careers and Counselling Hub, and Student-led Innovation Committee
BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, is appointed the official Ambassador for the Model United Nations (MUN) at GEMS World Academy schools, including GEMS World Academy in Dubai. Ban will hold the position for the next three years, giving students the unprecedented opportunity to gain valuable insights from one of the world’s most admired leaders.
The UAE’s leading International Baccalaureate (IB) school, GEMS World Academy Dubai hosts the MUN as part of its curriculum. An education simulation activity in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations, MUN is designed to develop students’ skills and shape their worldview. Serving as Ambassador for the MUN, Ban Ki-moon will be invited to open the MUN’s annual conference, where GEMS World Academy Dubai students will be able to participate in simulated sessions of the General Assembly or Security Council and get advice on diplomacy skills and learn about key issues that impact the 21st century.
Ban said, “I am delighted to join hands with GEMS Education as the Ambassador for the Model United Nations at GEMS World Academy schools. It is critical that today’s youth take on responsibility for the world we live in from an early educational platform, and it is essential that educators empower students to talk about issues such as the environment and sustainability so that we can limit any adverse effects on our future generations. In partnering with GEMS Education, the UAE’s leading K12 education provider, we can reach a far-reaching audience to instil change for the betterment of humankind.”
Sunny Varkey, Founder and Chairman of GEMS Education, said: “Ban Ki-moon is a true statesman who has impressed the world with his diplomatic skills and his decisive stance on a variety of pressing issues faced by humanity. We are honoured that Ban Ki-moon has graciously accepted to be the official Ambassador for the Model United Nations at our GEMS World Academy schools. With several student-led innovations, GEMS World Academy Dubai has set benchmarks for academic excellence and underlined its position as the leading IB education school in the country. With the generous support of Ban Ki-moon, our students have an unrivalled learning opportunity to take notes from such an inspirational figure. They can develop a stronger understanding of diplomacy and gain a clearer worldview on current issues, helping them become truly global citizens.”
Ban Ki-Moon has also agreed to contribute to the Global Education Skills Forum, the annual event in Dubai that brings together leaders from the public, private and social sectors around the world and culminates with the Varkey Foundation’s $1M Global Teacher Prize. GEMS Education will play a key role in supporting donations to the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens.
For further information about GEMS Education, visit: http://www.gemseducation.com
Photo: Peter Lechner