Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to young people to help the United Nations deliver a greener, more prosperous and safer world for all amid a “new generation of threats” unlike any that have been seen before.
“These are testing times. People everywhere live in growing anxiety and fear. There is near-universal loss of trust in institutions and leaders,” Mr. Ban said in an address at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.
“Amid such uncertainty, our future depends on how we work together. Our future depends on a United Nations that can and does deliver.”
Mr. Ban, who received an honorary degree from the University, spoke about the challenges facing the UN, which he called the “pre-eminent global institution for our global era,” and the contradictory demands and expectations from the international community.
“The United Nations today leads what seems at times like a double life,” he told the gathering. “On the one hand, pundits criticize the United Nations for not solving all the world’s ills.
“On the other hand, UN Member States and people around the world are asking the Organization to do more … in more places … than ever before. And on top of all this, we face a whole new generation of threats … threats unlike any that have come before,” he stated.
The Secretary-General highlighted what he termed the “Big Three” – climate change, the fight against poverty, and assisting people in crises such as in Pakistan and Haiti.
He stressed to the young people that their engagement and commitment can make a difference in these efforts.
“You here today are not spectators. You are a crucial part of this story. You come from all over, and you live in a country of immense opportunity. You attend a distinguished institution of higher learning, and you are good neighbours of the United Nations. That means you have what it takes to help us deliver…
“I appeal to you: Keep working with us. Keep pushing us. Keep inspiring us. Help shape the world. Help us to deliver what the world needs at this crucial moment.”