USE YOUR VOICES, SOCIAL NETWORKING TO MAKE MAJOR DIFFERENCE, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES YOUTH AT STUDENT OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY

19 September 2008
SG/SM/11798-OBV/726

USE YOUR VOICES, SOCIAL NETWORKING TO MAKE MAJOR DIFFERENCE, SECRETARY-GENERAL URGES YOUTH AT STUDENT OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY

19 September 2008
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11798 OBV/726
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

USE YOUR VOICES, SOCIAL NETWORKING TO MAKE MAJOR DIFFERENCE, SECRETARY-GENERAL

URGES YOUTH AT STUDENT OBSERVANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE DAY

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the student observance of the International Day of Peace, in New York today, 19 September:

I go to many meetings, especially at this time of year, but believe me when I say this is one of my favourites, meeting young people -- the leaders of our future generations.  By meeting in this way, you are sharing ideas across the planet.  You are asking questions that are focused on results.  “What can I do to make this world a better place?”  “How can I help?”  “When do we start?”

These are the kind of questions I would like to hear more of in the UN.

You may not be in positions of power -- yet -- but you have a very powerful weapon: your voice.  By speaking out, by raising awareness, by mobilizing around the issues that you feel passionate about, you can make a major difference in our world.

The fact that you are here shows you are already aware and active.  I bet that, by the end of today’s meeting, you will be even more inspired by the energy of your fellow students.

We need to build on this momentum.  Your generation has powers of social networking that my generation can hardly comprehend.

I use electronic communications all the time, but honestly -- this is a little embarrassing -- I have zero friends online.  But you -- collectively -- can reach tens of thousands of people in an instant.  You can mobilize way beyond your clique, beyond your community, even beyond the borders of your own country.  That is the power you have and I count on it -- your power to make this world different when you become leaders, and even before.

The ideas you generate at this conference deserve to be heard by the policymakers, diplomats and officials who normally meet in this room.  I am sorry I cannot attend your whole conference.  But my aides will provide a full report afterwards.

This is a very important day, a day of peace.  We just observed this very important and meaningful day of peace.  I hope not only today, but every day throughout the world, will be a day of peace and harmony.  So please use this chance to speak out about what concerns you most and think about your future and the future of this world.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.