20 September 2013

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

Secretary-General Hails ‘Universal Language of Music’ at Concert


Marking Opening of Sixty-eighth General Assembly Session


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Basel City Police Brass Band’s concert marking the opening of the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly, in New York on 20 September 2013:

Your Excellency Mr. Paul Seger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear people from Basel, I am very happy that you came to New York[spoken in the dialect of Basel].

Ambassador Seger, when you invited me to this concert, you asked whether there was any better way to start the General Assembly session than with music.  The answer is no:  this is just perfect.

The United Nations may be known for long-winded speeches.  So perhaps it is fitting that we mark the opening of the General Assembly with long-winded instruments.  Many may want tips on how you fill your lungs to keep on going.

Today, we will hear the universal language of music at the universal organization, the United Nations.  We will hear harmonies as nations strive to work in concert.  I thank Switzerland for literally “blowing the horn” for the United Nations. 

One year ago, we had the pleasure to celebrate 10 years of Swiss membership in the United Nations.  Switzerland continues to be a major United Nations Headquarters and a Member State that is active across all of our agenda.

We have important work ahead, from the immediate crisis in Syria to the long-term challenge of sustainable development.  I look forward to strong Swiss support and good results from all the Member States.

I thank the Basel City Police Brass Band — or as they might say here in New York, Basel’s Finest — for playing here today.  Now let the Alphorns serenade us with a blast of good cheer to start a new cycle of work.  Thank you, Basel.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record