Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on student leaders gathered at a United Nations forum in the Republic of Korea to make a difference and actively engage in tackling global challenges such as defeating poverty and creating a more sustainable world.
“Help shape our world for the better; help us meet the collective tests of our times; and help the United Nations deliver what the world needs at this crucial moment,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks to the Third Global Model United Nations Conference, held in the city of Incheon.
Organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), the conference has brought together hundreds of university students from more than 60 countries to simulate the General Assembly plenary and deliberate on economic, social and political issues.
The theme for the 10-14 August meeting, the third in a series that were held previously in Geneva and Kuala Lumpur, is Sustainable Development: Advancing Human Progress in Harmony with Nature.
“Your experience in this conference will give you a full taste of the complexity of international relations, the intricacies of negotiations among diverse peoples and perspectives, the challenges of achieving consensus and the patience required to win progress,” Mr. Ban told the students.
“The United Nations needs your engagement on the challenges that will shape the world you leave to your children,” he said, urging delegates to use the knowledge and skills they gain from the conference to advance UN objectives such as ridding the world of nuclear weapons, tackling climate change and standing up for human beings in crisis.
“You are an important part of the solution,” stated Mr. Ban. “The world needs your active engagement. Twenty years from now, my generation will largely have left the scene. You, here today, will stand in our place, very soon.”
Also addressing the students today was Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyo Akasaka, who noted that the conference afforded young people a “paramount opportunity” to learn about the complexities of international diplomacy as they work to resolve real world challenges.
He said he was confident that their work over the coming days will inspire everyone who is preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development – also known as Rio+20 – in June next year.
Also today, the Secretary-General spoke to the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the capital, Seoul, and later to a packed audience of school and university students in Incheon. He told the students to look beyond their own borders and to become global citizens.
At the Chamber of Commerce, he urged major Korean corporate leaders to help support the work of the UN, and urged the Government to boost its overseas development assistance to be more commensurate with the country’s economic prowess.
Tomorrow Mr. Ban will speak to the diplomatic corps and visit the Foreign Ministry. He will also take part in a Korean Red Cross event to help children in Africa and meet the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Seoul.