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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 22 October 2014 - Secretary-General's remarks at UN Foundation/UN Association Global Leadership Dinner [as prepared for delivery]

It is a pleasure to join you.  What a wonderful gathering.

I am a huge fan of Ted Turner, and not just because of his visionary philanthropic contributions to the United Nations. 

We both love classic movies! You might think I spend time at my residence reading reports and briefing papers.  In fact I am tuned to the Turner Classic Movie channel, catching up on “Shane”, “Casablanca” and “Gone with the Wind”!

For the United Nations, Ted Turner is a real-life action hero. 

That means Kathy Calvin must be Superwoman, able to leap high political hurdles in Washington, D.C., in a single bound!

Thank you both, and all the staff of the UN Foundation, for supporting the United Nations here in the United States and around the world.

I would also like to acknowledge the presence of my distinguished predecessor, Kofi Annan, and all the other good friends, colleagues and former colleagues who are here tonight.  Thank you all for everything you do for the United Nations and for me personally.

I join you all in congratulating tonight’s honorees.

Some are advocates for the vulnerable and oppressed.  Others are fighting for the rights of women and young people.  Still others are trying to steer the world away from climate catastrophe and toward a world of prosperity, good health and dignity for all. 

The honourees come from different walks of life.  But they all recognize the immense value of the United Nations.  And all are planting seeds of hope in our troubled soil of a turbulent global landscape.

The world faces multiple crises, from armed conflicts to extremism to the outbreak of Ebola.  Too many people continue to face exploitation -- from factories to farms, from bonded labour to sexual slavery.

The United Nations is addressing today’s emergencies.  At the same time, we are striving to seize tomorrow’s opportunities.

Last month we reported that child mortality has been cut in half since 1990.  This is huge progress -- and just one sign of the remarkable global mobilization behind the Millennium Development Goals.

Even on Ebola, earlier this week we were able to declare Nigeria and Senegal free of the virus.  This shows that the outbreak can be contained -- with partnership and investments in health systems.

The key year of 2015 is just weeks away.  Crucial discussions are under way to achieve a universal climate agreement and a bold post-2015 development agenda.  Next year also marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

The founding of the Organization was a solemn pledge to the world’s people to end assaults on human dignity, and lead the way to a better future.  This vision can be realized if concerned global citizens step up and speak out. 

I see that constituency here tonight.  You – the UN Foundation and the UN Association – connect people and the United Nations. You explain why the UN matters. And you help individuals contribute to our global mission. I am very encouraged by the poll results announced today that once again show very strong American support for burden-sharing and problem-solving through the United Nations. 

There have been setbacks, and today we see many dark clouds. But I am convinced that we can stand up for UN principles and achieve the transformation we seek – the future we want. 

Let us work together to press all those in power to live up to their political and moral responsibilities.  And let us be inspired by the honourees and other leaders here tonight to build a better world for all.

Thank you.

Statements on 22 October 2014