Honorable Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, Universal Peace Federation Founder,
Chairman Dr. Hong Il-sik and His Excellency President Macky Sall, President of Senegal represented by His Excellency Amadou Ba Foreign Minister of Senegal,
And also Rev. Munib Younan,
Distinguished guests, former heads of state and government, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to receive this Sunhak Peace Prize.
I’m incredibly grateful for this esteemed honor. It is quite meaningful to follow in the footsteps of the previous luminary awardees you have bestowed this honor upon.
I receive this with a humble mind. This is a very honorable, special peace award of Sunhak on behalf of so many people around the world who are still yearning, hoping that the United Nations will do much better, much more for all the people who really need our support at this time. I am deeply humbled that I only receive this honor.
Thank you, again, for your recognition.
My special recognition goes to Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon 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 and recognition of my modest contribution for world peace and development. Thank you very much again.
Excellencies, 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. Multilateralism represented and symbolized by the United Nations is under great threat. Multilateralism has been the basic guiding framework of this world, particularly, after the Second World War. Those countries who are leading this world have benefitted the most from multilateralism. They are now speaking about protectionism, unilateralism, individualism, isolationism. I am deeply concerned as a former Secretary-General of the United Nations who has to continue to uphold the guiding principle of the United Nations and multilateralism.
At the same time, 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. There is no country, no individual, however resourceful, however powerful one may be, who can do it alone. We have to put all our hands on the deck together. This has been my consistent, continuing message, even after my retirement from the United Nations. And I am deeply honored and deeply encouraged by so many people who are here, who are peace-lovers, who are loving, respecting human dignity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During my ten-year tenure as United Nations Secretary-General, I strived to execute my global leadership by leveraging the power of partnerships and promoting the spirit of global citizenship.
I have met so many world leaders, so many business leaders, so many civil society leaders. I have seen very few leaders who are possessed with global citizenship with a global vision. We have to foster our youth, young generation, women and young so that they can become global leaders with a global vision. That is my earnest hope.
As you have seen in the video, I am proud that during my time as Secretary-General, I have prioritized the two most existential threats. One is climate crisis. Another one is the Sustainable Development Goals. 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 what the United Nations has promised to the world.
The United Nations, by adopting Sustainable Development Goals on September 25, 2015, where all the leaders of the world were gathered in the General Assembly, promised that by the end of 2030, there will be nobody who should suffer from poverty, there should be nobody who should die needlessly from preventable diseases, there should be nobody whose human dignity should be not respected.
These are the promises of the world leaders. These are the promises of the United Nations.
Sustainable Development Goals also include young people as they are absolutely essential to solving so many of the world’s challenges such as achieving the SDGs, tackling climate change, building peace and resolving conflicts.
As such, I’ve been trying my best efforts, even after my retirement from the United Nations, for almost the same things that I used to do at the United Nations – promoting human rights, promoting civil society’s participation, climate change and Sustainable Development Goals.
In this regard, two years ago I launched the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens based in Vienna, Austria, and in Seoul, I established the Ban Ki-moon Foundation For a Better Future. We must work together that all the people in this world should be able to enjoy a better future.
Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The actions we take in the next ten years until 2030 will be critical to ensure the future viability of both humanity and our planet. So, we must work hard. We must work together to illuminate the true peace, harmony and reconciliation among people.
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, the white rat, and beyond, we all share a common destiny grounded in sustainability, peace, and prosperity. It is our moral duty and it is the political leaders’ political duty to realize this shared destiny for all global citizens in the years to come. With this, I am committed to work even harder to make this world better for all of you.
Lastly, this is quite coincidence I have found today sitting at this podium. Please look at that picture of me. I am wearing the same necktie. This is quite a coincidence. This is what my wife has chosen for me today, knowing that I am receiving a peace prize. This is the United Nations symbol. On every September 21, the United Nations International Day of Peace, I have been wearing this one. So, let us work together, ladies and gentlemen, to realize peace in this world.
Thank you very much.