Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the vital role played by young people in tackling the many global challenges of the day, as he sought to enlist students at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) to support the goals and mission of the United Nations.
“You need to look beyond your life here, and think about what you can do to help others. We need you to help transform our world,” Mr. Ban said in a lecture delivered yesterday at the University, which bestowed on the UN chief the UCLA Medal.
Established in 1979, the medal – the highest honour bestowed by the campus – is awarded to those who have made extraordinary and distinguished contributions to their professions and to society.
Mr. Ban spoke about the challenges the UN faces, particularly the climate threat, the fast-approaching deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the globally-agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline – and the need to empower the world’s women.
He also touched on the UN’s work in places from Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Haiti.
“I am here today to enlist you in our mission,” he told the students. “I am here to focus your great imagination and creativity on the global issues of our day.”
On Monday, Mr. Ban met with key members of the creative community in Los Angeles to mobilize support for the UN’s work, including its efforts to deal with climate change, global hunger and the financial crisis.
The UN has collaborated with the entertainment industry on a number of projects under the Secretary-General’s Creative Community Outreach Initiative (CCOI), which aims to raise the profile of critical global issues in partnership with the international film and television industries.
The Secretary-General exhorted the students to work with the UN for common prosperity, and for security and peace for all the world’s people.
“I ask you to join us. Be a global citizen. Help us mobilize the global citizenry. Help us build the conditions for peace,” he stated.