18 April 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

At Event for Film, Secretary-General Says Nurturing the Minds, Releasing


the Potential of Girls ‘Will Create an Unstoppable Force for Progress’


Following are the remarks of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as prepared for delivery, at a special event on Girl Rising in Washington, D.C., 18 April:

What a wonderful gathering.  I am delighted to join World Bank President Kim; My Special Envoy on Education, Gordon Brown; Secretary of State Justine Greening; the talented actress Freida Selena Pinto; Shabana Basij-Rasikh, from the 10x10 [“ten by ten”] initiative; Holly Gordon, the producer of Girl Rising; and all of you.

I am very grateful to those who made Girl Rising possible.

The stories you are about to see speak for themselves.  I will only add that the United Nations is doing everything possible to help the world’s girls.

As Secretary-General, I launched last year the global Education First initiative, which, among other things, aims to ensure every single girl has a chance to go to school.

In Haiti, UNICEF and UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] have provided three quarters of a million schoolkits to girls and boys.  The United Nations global “Stop Rape Now” campaign aims to end sexual violence.  And when emergencies hit around the world, the United Nations Population Fund distributes “dignity kits” to women and girls.

These are just some of our life-saving activities for girls.

It is important to raise funds and awareness.  But above all, we have to change attitudes.  Everyone can be part of this effort.  If you have a mobile phone or a Twitter account, if you have a blog or a Tumblr, you can speak out.

One of the girls in this film calls herself a “superhero”.  I quite agree that she is a superhero.  And even though she is extraordinary — she is not alone.  There are millions of other outstanding young women in our world.  When we nurture their minds, protect their bodies and release their potential, we will create an unstoppable force for progress.

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For information media • not an official record