Ban Ki-moon Centre Annual Report 2019

Ban Ki-moon Centre 2019 Annual Report is Out!

We are thrilled to share the 2019 Annual Report of the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens with you. We hope to inspire you with what we have accomplished together in 2019 and with what we will build on it in 2020 and beyond with your place in our valuable global network. Read our report hereshare it and join us in supporting global citizens around the world.  
“To every single member of our Ban Ki-moon Centre family who showed their support with social media posts and likes, donations and collaborations, thank you. Our dedication to supporting global citizen mindsets and empowering youth and women around to world with education and participation is at the heart of who we are.“ Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler

Ban Ki-moon speaks of peace and security through sports at the PyeongChange Peace Forum 2020

During the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, South and North Korean athletes entered the opening ceremony together and formed a joint women’s hockey team, creating momentum that led to bilateral talks between the South and North. Maintaining that legacy and peacebuilding, the PyeongChang Peace Forum 2020 “Peace! Here and Now” took place from February 9th to 11th in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The three-day conference attracted around a thousand participants, who were global leaders, scholars and/or experts from 25 countries, featuring the theme “Action Plan: End the Korean War” and topics related to sports, economy, ecology and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of the key goals of the forum was to deliver an action plan for officially ending the Korean War, said Choi Moon-soon, the governor of Gangwon Province, where Pyeongchang is located.
“We want to bring out a concrete action plan and to make it a global agenda,” said Choi at a press conference on Sunday. “This year we want to put an end to the Korean War and to forge a peace agreement.”
In his keynote address to start the forum, BKMC Co-chair Ban Ki-moon echoed the need to carry forward the diplomatic momentum from the Olympic Games.
“The [peace] process was kickstarted here in beautiful Pyeongchang during the Peace Olympics,” said Ban. “Even though it may be fading a little bit at this moment, we should never be deterred by the setbacks we have now. Only through mutual dialogue and respect will we be able to overcome the current impasse between North and South Korea. We need all global citizens to come together.”
This three-day forum, which is being held for the second time, featured sessions on topics such as inter-Korean tourism, developing the DMZ as a peace zone and sports diplomacy. The Korean War ended in 1953 with a ceasefire agreement but not a permanent peace treaty, which has left the neighbors technically still at war for almost 70 years. The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang became the starting point of a renewed period of detente on the Korean Peninsula and led to a series of inter-Korean summits as well as a pair of summits between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ban emphasized that the world is facing shared challenges such as a climate crisis and urged countries to work together to tackle global issues by adopting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“Sustainable development cannot be achieved without peace and security,” said Ban.
Gangwon Governor Choi said,
“Despite difficulties including the stagnant dialogue between North Korea and the US and continuing sanctions against North Korea, the historic efforts for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which started with the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, must continue ceaselessly.”
In addition to the forum, in its second edition, PyeongChang and Gangwon Province hope to continue to use sports events as peace-building tools. Such efforts paid off in January when the International Olympic Committee chose PyeongChang to host the Winter Youth Olympics in 2024. South and North Korea are seeking to co-host the Olympics in 2032. Source: The Korea HeraldUPI © Yonhap News, Daehan News, Thomas Maresca / UPI, Lee Seokyung / Penta Press, Lee Soo-gil / Newsway

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s acceptance speech for Sunhak Peace Prize

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Sunhak Peace Prize 

Seoul, Korea

5 February 2020

 

Thank you for your warm introduction.

Dr. Hak Ja Han, Universal Peace Federation Founder,

Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

It is my great privilege to stand before you this evening and humbly accept the 2020 Sunhak Peace Prize.

I’m incredibly grateful for this esteemed honor, and it is quite meaningful to follow in the footsteps of the previous luminary awardees you have bestowed this honor upon.

My special recognition goes to Dr. Hak Ja Han for her visionary patronage of this award, as well as for her longtime advocacy efforts in support of world peace, global citizenship, and sustainable development issues.

I also take this opportunity to commend the impressive work and forward-thinking vision of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation.

The critical efforts by the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation are essential as we collectively strive to expand essential understanding, cooperation, and tolerance on the road to world peace and global sustainability.

In this connection, I simply couldn’t be more proud to receive this award intended to further the ideals of such a pioneering individual who so firmly believed in the importance of peace, human development, coexistence, and environmental protection.

My deepest gratitude goes to the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation Members for this very special honor.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Our world is changing and this is bringing many new challenges and uncertainties to the geopolitical and economic order.

Multilateral cooperation is viewed with increasing skepticism just as the world needs it the most. Human rights are under threat as nationalism spreads. Development and humanitarian funds are being slashed.

And our climate crisis is deepening as wildfires burn, sea levels rise higher, and temperatures continue to surge.

Under this backdrop of instability and waning internationalism, I firmly believe that we must work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation, as well a driving commitment to global citizenship, to cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges.

During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my leadership duties by leveraging the power of partnerships and promoting the spirit of global citizenship.

This was critical in bringing the entire world together to agree to the UN’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Climate Agreement.

These were two of my biggest achievements leading the UN as they provide humanity, and our planet, with a collaborative blueprint to ensure the future we want.

And global partnerships, including the active participation of nonprofit organizations, civil society groups, religious organizations, philanthropists, and other key stakeholders like you, are necessary if we are to deliver on the United Nations’ development and climate commitments.

But to establish long-term solutions, achieve world peace, and save our rapidly warming planet, we need inclusive and participatory action from all global citizens.

This includes, especially, young people, as they are absolutely essential to solving so many of the world’s challenges such as achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, and building peace and resolving conflicts.

As such, I’ve been trying my best to help elevate global citizenship as a driving vision for young, transformative leaders to help us forge a more peaceful and sustainable world.

In this regard, two years ago I launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, based in Vienna, Austria to help provide young people and women with a greater say in their own destiny, as well as a greater stake in their own dignity.

 

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The actions we take in the next ten years will be critical to ensure the future viability of both humanity and our planet. So we must work hard to illuminate true peace.

What type of peace? I am reminded of the words of President John F. Kennedy who said, “I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and hope and build a better life for their children …not merely peace in our time, but peace for all time.”

In 2020, the year of the rat, and beyond, we all share a common destiny grounded in sustainability, peace, and prosperity. Let’s expand our unified efforts to realize this shared destiny for all global citizens in the years to come.

I thank you for your attention and this great honor.

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gives a special lecture at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

“Nature is sending us a strong warning: we must listen to its voice. Nature does not negotiate; it does not wait for us. Unless we work together as one, we will never be able to fight climate change.”  – Co-chair Ban Ki-moon
On January 31, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon gave a special lecture on the topic of “Addressing Climate Change and Air Pollution in Asia-Pacific” as a part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)’s Distinguished Person Lecture Series. The special lecture was opened with UN ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Alisjahbana’s opening remark.
“In Asia-Pacific, it is our historic opportunity to consider how we can be a solution-provider, raise ambition and take transformative action in response to the climate crisis.”
In his lecture, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon expressed his concerns on the gravity of climate change. To warn that we are running out to time, he referenced the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s report, which reported that we are left with only 12 years to make a massive and unprecedented change to mitigate the consequences of global temperature rise to its moderate levels. Moving on, Co-chair Ban underscored the deadly health hazards resulted from air pollution as a global challenge. He said,
“There is clear evidence that links particulate matters to various illnesses such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even cancer.”
He also referred to the findings of the World Health Organization (WHO) that 92% of the Asia-Pacific population – roughly 4 billion people – are already exposed to high levels of air pollution. He noted how these two serious matters are linked together and are like two sides of the same coin. He said,
“Not only they share similar emission sources, but they also influence and exacerbate each other.”
Despite the complexity of these issues, Co-chair Ban showed a sense of optimism.
“Fortunately, the close link between the two challenges means that collective action can maximize impact effectiveness. The intertwined nature of the two challenges also means that effective action cannot be pursued separately. Joint action is an absolute must.”
During his speech, Co-chair Ban commended the efforts and actions taken by the UN ESCAP in adopting the resolution on ‘strengthening regional cooperation to tackle air pollution challenges in Asia and the Pacific’. Moreover, he spoke highly of Italy for taking the first step in making climate change mandatory in early education, and said,
“Last year, we witnessed the power of a single young person. After hearing Greta Thunberg, I’m emphasizing quality education on environment for young people. When they are educated, they will be equipped with leadership and ready to take action.”
As he concluded his lecture, Co-chair Ban said,
“This decade will be the final decade where we can turn the tide against the irreversible destruction of our climate. If we miss that deadline, ALL of us will meet the consequences. A ‘me versus you’ mentality has no meaning in climate action. Remember, that it should be ‘us versus climate change’.”
  Watch the full lecture Source Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future  © UN ESCAP

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon’s speech during opening session of PMAC 2020

Speech by Co-chair Ban Ki-moon

Prince Mahidol Award Conference (PMAC) 2020

Bangkok, Thailand

January 31, 2020

  Your Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, Your Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, Prince Mahidol Award Laureates, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to speak to you today at the opening ceremony of the Prince Mahidol Awards Conference, which has become one of the most important events on the global health calendar. This conference has had a profound impact in shaping the global health agenda – most notably through initiating and spearheading the campaign for Universal Health Coverage. Leading health activists and policy makers have been championing UHC at PMAC for almost a decade now and your collective efforts helped ensure that UHC was incorporated into the Sustainable Development Goals. I congratulate you all for this tremendous achievement. This year, PMAC is taking place at a time of acute public concern about the global health risks posed by the corona virus in China, which has already spread to other countries and continents. As with SARS and avian flu, this epidemic highlights the critical importance of achieving UHC through resilient health systems that can protect all citizens, regardless of income or background. The WHO has just declared corona virus to be a global health emergency. The way to overcome the corona virus is through countries working together in a spirit of solidarity and coordination. This is the same spirit that informs the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, of which UHC forms an integral element. Ladies and gentlemen, today I am speaking to you as the Deputy Chair of The Elders. The Elders believe that the best way to achieve the health SDG is though UHC, where everybody receives the quality health services they need, without suffering financial hardship. By 2030, there should be no one dying needlessly from preventable diseases; no one should be left behind. That is the philosophical motto of the SDGs. Three times over the last decade, all countries have committed themselves to achieving UHC at the United Nations –most recently at the High-Level Meeting on UHC in September 2019. At this, dozens of heads of state said that they would ensure that their countries reach UHC by 2030 and made bold announcements about the health reforms they will implement to achieve this goal. But if we are being honest, we have to acknowledge that since the signing of the SDGs, progress towards UHC has been inadequate and uneven. The latest WHO and World Bank UHC Monitoring Report shows that although health service coverage has been improving, levels of out-of-pocket health spending have been rising, meaning that more people are being impoverished because of health costs. This shows that governments are not meeting their obligations to finance UHC properly – too much of the burden is falling on households. This not only undermines achieving UHC, it is also a threat to global health security, because out-of-pocket-spending on medicines is one of the main drivers of anti-microbial resistance. High private health spending also inhibits progress towards other SDGs including eliminating poverty, reducing inequality and achieving gender equality. Women and their children often suffer most when health services are underfunded, as they have higher healthcare needs but often lower access to financial resources to pay for services themselves. This is why, when implementing UHC reforms, countries must prioritize delivering the health services women and children need most and provide them free at the point of delivery. With the clock ticking to the SDG deadline in 2030, it is therefore appropriate that the theme of this year’s PMAC is “Accelerating Progress Towards UHC”. To achieve this target, many countries will require massive investments in their health systems and radical changes in policies to improve access to care for the poor and vulnerable. The good news is that, by learning from UHC success stories from around the world, including Thailand, we know what works and what doesn’t. Take for example the tricky issue of how to finance UHC. As my fellow Elder, Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO, highlighted at the United Nations High-Level Meeting in September: there was a time when some development agencies and Western countries used to discourage higher government spending on health and instead promoted private voluntary financing like user fees and private insurance. But thankfully across the world political leaders, and the heads of international financial institutions and lenders, have now listened to the needs of their people. They have rejected these failed policies and instead switched to a health financing system dominated by public financing – either through general taxation or compulsory social health insurance. This is the only way to ensure that healthy, wealthy members of society subsidize services for the sick and the poor, so that nobody gets left behind. As Dr. Brundtland said in New York:
“If there is one lesson the world has learned, it is that you can only reach UHC through public financing.”
Therefore one of the simplest ways we can hold political leaders to account in reaching UHC is tracking how much public financing they allocate and disburse to their health systems. Transitioning from a health system dominated by private out-of-pocket financing to one mostly financed by public financing has become one of the defining steps in achieving UHC. It’s a transition my own country, the Republic of Korea, made in 1977 and was also seen as the key step to bringing UHC to the United Kingdom in 1948 and Japan in 1961. And of course one of the most celebrated and impressive transitions to publicly financed UHC happened right here in Thailand in 2002, with the launch of the Universal Coverage scheme. It’s worth remembering that this was implemented in the immediate aftermath of the Asian Financial Crisis, when the World Bank advice was that Thailand couldn’t afford to increase public health spending to cover everyone. But as my good friend and former World Bank President, Jim Kim, said at the World Health Assembly in 2013, the Thai Government wisely ignored this advice and in one year injected around half a percent of GDP in tax financing into its health system. In the process, the country swiftly moved from around 70% coverage to almost full population coverage – a shining example of how to accelerate progress towards UHC. In fact, during my time as Secretary-General, I have introduced this story every time we talk about public health and UHC. What Thailand, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the UK and many other countries have also shown is that UHC reforms are so effective and so popular, they can become part of a nation’s identity and prove resilient in the face of changes of government. So what are the implications for the theme of this year’s PMAC: accelerating progress towards UHC? On a global level, we need to prioritize helping countries that are still to make the transition to a universal publicly financed health system. Here our focus should be on countries with low levels of public health spending, often less than 1% of GDP, where up to three quarters of health spending is in the form of user fees. These countries need to double or triple their public spending on health over the next decade and prioritize funding a universal package of services, focusing on primary care services provided free at the point of delivery. These low-spending countries tend to be in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia but there are already shining examples of countries in these regions using public financing to extend health coverage –  for example Sri Lanka in South Asia and Rwanda in Africa. Also, it is perfectly feasible to increase public spending on health this quickly, if there is political will, as shown by Thailand and China. This reinforces the point made by the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros that UHC is a political choice. Your Royal Highnesses, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude. The focus of our UHC program at The Elders is to encourage political leaders to make this choice, by helping them appreciate the health, economic, societal and political benefits of achieving UHC. Some of my fellow Elders have spearheaded successful UHC reforms themselves, like former President Ricardo Lagos of Chile and former President Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico – so we are speaking from experience. In doing this we are very keen to work with you, the UHC community, to identify opportunities to promote UHC reforms at the highest level of government. We have already engaged with political leaders in Indonesia, India, South Africa, Tanzania and the United States to promote UHC and are always on the lookout for windows of opportunity to champion UHC to the next generation of global leaders. So if you feel political commitment to UHC is lacking in your country and we can be of assistance, do please let us know, as we want to play our part in accelerating UHC as a means to deliver the SDGs. UHC makes medical, economic, political and social sense. But as the founder of The Elders, Nelson Mandela, so powerfully stated:
“Health cannot be a question of income; it is a fundamental human right.”
At the start of a new decade which also marks the 30th anniversary of Mandela’s freedom from prison, let us commit to work together to realize his vision and make UHC a reality for all. Let us join our hands together to help make the world healthier and stronger Thank you. Source: The Elders  

Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attends Brookings’ Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum

“We must educate the next generation in global citizenship. We must increase their understanding of climate change because they are our future leaders.”
On January 24, Co-chair Ban Ki-moon attended and spoke at the Alan and Jane Batkin International Leaders Forum hosted by Foreign Policy at Brookings Institute. During this occasion, Co-chair Ban addressed the climate threats and its implications, climate justice, and climate leadership. In his international leadership roles, Co-chair Ban has been a prominent advocate of bringing climate change to the top of the global agenda, promoting sustainable development and highlighting how environmental degradation has disproportionately affected people in developing countries, especially women. Stressing the importance of multilateralism, Co-chair Ban said,

“A ‘me vs. you’ mentality has no place in climate action. It is about ‘all of us vs. climate change’.”

He also said,
“If we do not solve the problem of climate change we will all be losers. I urge President Trump to return to the Paris Agreement.”

“We need disruption. We need to get urgent on climate. We need a new sense of global citizenship”

He also called world leaders and young generation to harness the mindset of global citizenship to cope of global challenges. Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former President of Ireland, said,
“The climate crisis must be the top priority for all leaders in 2020. It is not hyperbole to say that the fate of humanity as a whole rests on decisions taken this year.”
The event was opened with Brookings Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Bruce Jones’ introductory remarks. Following remarks by Co-chair Ban and Chair of The Elders Mary Robinson, Brookings Senior Fellow and the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies Jung H. Pak joined them on stage for a conversation on climate change, human rights, adaptation measures, and global leadership in the face of a climate emergency.

Climate threats and climate justice: Action and adaptation for sustainable development – Part 1

Climate threats and climate justice: Action and adaptation for sustainable development – Part 2

© Ralph Alswang / Alswang Photography

BKMC CEO Monika Froehler Attended SDG Forum 2019

On November 29, BKMC CEO Monika Froehler attended SDG Forum 2019 held in University of Vienna. Organized by SDG Watch Austria, the forum was dedicated to discussing Austria’s progress in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals together with all relevant actors in politics, administration, science and industry. At the forum, Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Maria Patek opened the SDG Forum highlighting the pioneering role of the Ministry of Sustainability in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
She said, “In the summer we presented our SDG Action Plan 2019+, which summarizes all initiatives of the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. If we all persistently and committedly implement the measures in our sphere of influence, we will reach our goal more quickly. The realization of the UN SDGs is a shared responsibility that we must take on for the next generations.”
Thomas Alge, CEO of ÖKOBÜRO – Alliance of the Environmental Movement and co-founder of SDG Watch Austria, also a gave a welcome remark and said,
“The climate crisis, species extinction, poverty and inequality are highly interconnected. Climate change particularly affects agriculture. It leads to harvest losses and intensifies insect killing. Drought and other climate catastrophes are forcing people from the most affected regions of the world leave their country. The new government must therefore quickly face these challenges and make the implementation of the 2030 Agenda a top priority. Coherent implementation of the Global Sustainable Development Goals can effectively address many of the big challenges of the time.”
Sami Pirkkala, Advisor to Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, also presented about Finland’s efforts in implementation of the SDGs: launching a voluntary commitment platform towards the SDGs and gathering more than 1,600 commitments from companies, education sectors, cities and individuals. Chairman of Austrian Partner Universities Uninetz, Franz Fehr illustrated strategic goals, milestone and daily work of Uninetz and indication of which university leads which subject area of the SDGs.  A panel discussion on “Where Do We Stand on the SDGs in Austria,” focusing mainly on ways in which Austria’s new administration can adopt the 2030 Agenda and take a leap toward the SDGs implementation, was moderated by Nina Thüllen and featured stellar panelists including: Parliamentarian Michael Bernhard; Parliamentarian Josef Moser; Ambassador Sylvia Meier-Kajbic; Councilor for Environment and Women Judith Schwentner; Secretary-General Thoams Weninger; Managing Director Anja Appel. © SDG Watch Austria 

Ban Ki-moon receives Honorary Doctorate in Global Peace and Sustainable Development from the UKM

On November 27th, Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Global Peace and Sustainable Development by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). He received the honorary doctorate from UKM Chancellor Yang Dipertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir, in a ceremony held in conjunction with UKM 47th Convocation. In his lecture entitled “Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change”, Ban expressed his disappointment over the United States’ decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, which he regarded as the world’s best hope to confront climate change:
“I cannot quite express my deepest disappointment and even anger at the decision of US government to withdraw from the Paris agreement on climate change,” said Ban, adding that the decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw from the agreement was politically associated, economically irresponsible and scientifically wrong.
Ban stressed that climate change was a global challenge, which demanded global solutions, and no country no matter how powerful or resourceful could address the issue alone. He said the Paris agreement, signed by 197 countries in 2015, offered a clear game plan to confront the serious threats to this planet and set viable targets to impede rising temperatures, constrict greenhouse gas emissions, and spur climate-resilient development and green growth.
“Climate change doesn’t respect any border, our action must transcend all the frontiers. I strongly and sincerely hope that US will come back and return to our joint efforts to address this climate change,” he said.
From record-breaking heatwaves and wildfires to typhoons and flooding of historic intensity, Ban said climate change was no longer a debate and was clearly here right now.
“With this reality in mind, we must urgently step-up our collective efforts to implement the Paris Climate Agreement. The bottom line is that we don’t have a plan B, simply because we don’t have a planet B either,” he said.
Source: Malay Mail Photos: Bernama pic & UKM

WEP GCC Certificate Ceremony Held in Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

On November 22, WEP GCC fellows were awarded with certificates for the completion of Women’s Empowerment Program – GCC that kicked off on November 11 and lasted for two weeks. Co-chair Heinz Fischer opened the ceremony with congratulatory remarks and said that the fellows should construct stronger network to support and stay in touch with each other. Deputy Director of Diplomatic Academy of Vienna Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger also congratulated the fellows for their hard work and thanked their commitments to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. Director General Adnan Shihab-Eldin of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences also delivered a congratulatory remark to the ladies. He said,
“Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences will remain as a partner for the SDGs.”
Lastly, the Ban Ki-moon Centre CEO Monika Froehler said,
“Never say what you cannot do, say what you can do and will do.”
She also thanked BKMC Program Officer Viola Christian for her endeavors and efforts to put together this amazing program. On behalf of all the WEP GCC fellows, Nourah Aloseimi from Kuwait delivered remarks and expressed gratitude for such inspiring and meaningful opportunities the Ban Ki-moon Centre has provided together with Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Before the graduation, the WEP GCC fellows presented about their My SDG Micro-Project proposals, which they will implement in their own communities after the completion of their trainings. Visit BKMC gallery for more photos. © BKMC / Eugenie Berger

WEP GCC Fellows Participate in a Round Table: Effective Women Leaders

“I don’t want you to lower your expectation, but I want you to lower your self-criticism.”  – Helena Zimmerdahl from the Embassy of Sweden
Women’s Empowerment Program (WEP) is in its full swing! As a part of BKMC’s Women’s Empowerment Program, WEP GCC fellows participated in a Round Table hosted in Diplomatic Academy of Vienna on November 19. At this Round Table, Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger, Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, featured as a moderator at the Round Table. Speakers were: Lulua Asaad from UNODC, Maggie Childs from Metropole and Austrian Startups, Mona Ali Khalil from MAK Law International, and Helena Zimmerdahl from the Embassy of Sweden to Austria. Lulua Asaad asked the fellows a critical question: “What does leadership mean to you?”

“It is important to have support from women within your network, while not neglecting the role of men.”

She also added that leadership is not about a position one is in, but responsibility leaders are capable of taking in their world. Regarding women’s empowerment, Mona Ali Khalil said,

“Empowerment of women requires men who are enlightened and women who are willing empower each other.”

As an international lawyer, she stressed that gender parity policies should be actual actions rather than lip service and should effectively address sexual harassment/sexual discrimination issues that still exist everywhere across the sectors. Minister-Counselor Helena Zimmerdahl pinpointed ‘transparency’ as an important trait of a good leader and said we must “speak up” for ourselves to make our voices heard. Zimmerdahl also advised the fellows to

“look at yourself and your accomplishments from the outside” in order to empower themselves.

Maggie Childs emphasized the need for getting help from mentors, friends and other experts when necessary and said,

“You don’t have to know everything before you do it… It is lonely at the top. You need to have your private space and friends who just listen to you. Having those friends would make you feel less lonely.”

A follow-up workshop was facilitated by WEP Project Coordinator Viola Christian from the Ban Ki-moon Centre. The fellows were grouped into 5 and discussed advice and points made from the Round Table, which they created their own manifesto with. © BKMC / Eugenie Berger For more photos of the event, visit BKMC album.