Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Remarks at the United Nations Day concert

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly, 24 October 2007

Happy United Nations Day, everyone, and welcome to our common House, the United Nations! I am glad that so many of you could make it. Surely, there could be no better way than music to commemorate this Day –- United Nations Day. Because this is a day when the UN family comes together not only as nations, but as human beings united in our quest for a better world.

Let me say a special welcome to the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra and Maestro Chung Myung-hwun. I am proud that they have come to help us celebrate this evening. My gratitude also goes to the Government of the Republic of Korea and the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea, as well as the Metropolitan Government of Seoul, for helping to make this concert possible. And I welcome the visiting delegation of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Korean National Assembly.

As I am sure all my Korean compatriots will agree, this concert is a chance to mark the special relationship between the Republic of Korea and the United Nations. Korea is a vivid example of a UN success story, as we can see in the country’s journey from the ashes of war to a prosperous and democratic nation. Indeed, the Korean people used to celebrate United Nations Day as one of their own national holidays. By the same token, tonight’s concert is a way for the Korean people to express their appreciation to the United Nations, for supporting the country’s coming of age on the international stage.

Dear friends, as we commemorate United Nations Day, we know we have cause for grave concern as we look around us in the world today. From climate change to extreme poverty, from Darfur to the Middle East, the challenges are complex and profound. Let us use this Day to pray for strength in confronting them.

Let us also take this Day to send a special message to our colleagues who serve in field missions around the world, in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances. Let them know that we remember them. They deserve our respect and our gratitude and support.

But let us also use this Day to celebrate. More and more, in this world of the twenty-first century, people around the world understand that global problems demand global responses. More and more, people see that going it alone is not a viable option. More and more, the United Nations is in demand. Multilateralism is back.

Let us show the world we are equal to the task. On this United Nations Day, let us renew our commitment to achieving results. May the music we hear tonight inspire us in that mission.