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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Unofficial transcript of Q&A after the Secretary-General's encounter with Mrs. Libba Patterson in San Francisco

San Francisco, 26 July 2007

Q: Good afternoon.

SG: How are you?

Q: Good. How was your visit? How does it feel to be here with her again?

SG: It's very exciting. I'm very touched to be able to visit this place – my second home where I had my [inaudible] to meet the audiences of San Francisco and California. This is a part of my ongoing effort to promote a strong partnership between the United States and the United Nations. The United States' active participation and support for the United Nations is crucially important. In fact, the United Nations activities have not been much appreciated by most of the people in the United States, even though the United Nations has been playing an instrumental role in keeping peace and security, human rights and development around the globe. I need the strong participation of the people of the United States, and my visit to the historical birthplace of the UN Charter gave me quite sentimental symbolism.

Q: What are the memories, what are the things that come back to you?

SG: In 1962, during the summertime, around this time, I stayed eight days in this home with love and affection – they showered me with love and affection – Mr. and Mrs. Patterson, and I'm sorry that Mr. Patterson has passed away a few years ago. I visited many places, local chapters of the Red Cross and also the air force base here, and I met many high school students who were engaging in Red Cross volunteer activities. I met many of them here. [It was a good learning process.]

Q: There is a lot of skepticism in America about the UN and cynicism about it. How do you turn that around and eliminate that suspicion and help people appreciate what the UN does?

SG: I know that there are some mixed perceptions of the United Nations among American people. Some people still -- a lot of American people believe in the relevance of the United Nations and the effectiveness and contribution of the United Nations. You should know that the United Nations is an intergovernmental body composed of 192 countries. Sometimes it may take time. Some people complain that when the UN takes action, this action is slow but we have been making great contributions for the last 62 years for the maintenance of peace and security and we cannot find any other alternate organization at this time. Therefore, it is very important for the world community to nurture and support the United Nations' activities for the promotion of human rights, for development of the economy. There are still billions and billions of people suffering from abject poverty and we need to act collectively. Thank you very much.