United Nations Headquarters
New York, 21 September 2007

and Friends,

On behalf of the President of the General Assembly, welcome to the United Nations.

As you know safeguarding and promoting international peace is the main purpose of the United Nations. It has been integral to our mission for the past 60 years. It is what we work for every day of the year.

On this special day each year, as agreed by all the Member States of the General Assembly, we try to do more. We take stock, and we look back to see what we have accomplished, and, we look forward to what needs to be done. We measure our collective contributions – what we have achieved as an international community, and as Member States.

But this Day is also one of reflection, for each and every one of us can promote peace in our daily lives – within our families, our local communities, nationally and internationally.  

Today’s events and ceremonies – the solemn ringing of the peace bell, and this encounter with you – are a reminder to the General Assembly of the important responsibility it has to promote international peace and security.

I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the importance of initiatives to promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures, religions and peoples. These are ways of strengthening rapprochement, tolerance and mutual understanding of values, languages, history and culture. Standing before you – the next generation – I am even more reminded of our moral obligation to pursue our work with more vigour and determination to ensure a more peaceful world for future generations.

We should also take heart and encouragement from your presence here at the United Nations. It demonstrates your devotion to the goal of a more peaceful and prosperous world. I know we can count on you as partners in this common endeavor.

It is especially heartening to have among us a number of United Nations Messengers of Peace, distinguished individuals, using their own personal time and persuasive powers to carry forward the message of peace.

The International Day of Peace reminds us that, every day, we can, and we must all become messengers of peace.

It is on this note that I wish you – the young messengers of peace – the greatest success in your future work.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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