Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks at the annual Peace Bell ceremony

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 21 September 2007

Mr. President of the General Assembly and Mrs. Kerim,

Mr. President of Security Council

Ambassador Takasu, Permanent Representative of Japan,


Distinguished guests and colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. I am delighted to see so many of you here for this annual ceremony. Let me offer a special welcome to the Messengers of Peace and the many children joining us today.

The annual ringing of the peace bell is always a deeply moving occasion. This year it is even more so, because of the recent loss of one of the UN's great friends: our Messenger of Peace Luciano Pavarotti, whose heart was even bigger than his voice.

But even as we remember Mr. Pavarotti, we welcome others who will carry forward the work for peace. I am happy to announce, as our newest Messengers of Peace, the appointments of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya of Jordan, Mr. Daniel Barenboim, Mr. Paulo Coelho and Ms. Midori Goto.

Dear friends,

Peace is the highest calling of the United Nations - and for me personally. We were scheduled to have this Peace Bell ceremony six years ago, on September 11, the day the General Assembly was to begin. Peace was destroyed because of the terrorist attacks on September 11. Of course, this Peace Bell ringing ceremony was cancelled, could not be held. I am very happy that with the strong participation and the efforts of the international community to eradicate and to fight international terrorism, we are able to have this annual Peace Bell ceremony. I am very much moved personally, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to administer the Peace Bell ringing ceremony, and I am grateful for your efforts to preserve peace and security.

Peace defines our mission. It drives our discourse. It draws together all of our worldwide work, from peacekeeping and preventive diplomacy to development and human rights.

This work for peace is a constant work in progress. In countless communities across the world, peace remains an elusive goal. From the displaced person camps of Chad and Darfur to the byways of Baghdad, the quest for peace is strewn with setbacks and suffering.

Over the next few days, I will be convening high-level meetings on Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, to seek to advance our quest for peace in those troubled lands. And I will be convening a high-level event on climate change. If we are to build enduring peace around the world, we need to protect the one and only planet we all share.

So on this International Day of Peace, let us take stock of our efforts to promote peace and well-being for all people everywhere. Let us nurture what we have already accomplished. Let us dedicate ourselves to all we have yet to do.

I call on people around the world to observe a minute of silence at noon today.

And I call for a day of global cease-fire: a twenty-four hour respite from the fear and insecurity that plague so many places. I urge all countries and all combatants to honour a cessation of hostilities. I urge them to ponder the high price that we all pay because of conflict. I urge them to vigorously pursue ways to make this temporary cease-fire permanent.

On this International Day, let us promise to make peace not just our priority, but our passion. Let us pledge to do more, wherever we are in whatever way we can, to make every day a day of peace.

And, now, let us demonstrate our resolve with a minute of silence.

Thank you very much.