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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 24 October 2014 - Secretary-General's remarks ar UN Day Concert

Welcome to this celebration of United Nations Day. Happy UN Day! I expect you to call “Happy UN Day” to me!  Can you do that? (crowd cheers) One more time! (crowd cheers) Thank you; thank you very much for your support.

In these times of despair, a lot of conflicts and troubles, tonight’s concert sounds a note of hope.

The outbreak of the Ebola virus is just the latest proof that our fates are linked. All together, we are living in a small world, totally.

Global challenges demand a global response.

That global response is forged here in the United Nations, in this General Assembly Hall.

It is carried out by the UN and others around the world.

And it succeeds thanks to partnerships with experts, activists and global citizens joining forces for a better future.

One of our best champions is my Messenger of Peace, Lang Lang. Will you just give him a big hand? (applause)

I am especially grateful that tonight, he has brought together talented young people from around the world. I thank our Conductor, Maestro Manuel López-Gómez, and all the performers. (applause)

We are very much pleased to welcome Lang Lang’s special guest, Sting.  (applause) It is wonderful to see him back at the United Nations. People are still talking about his performance here in 2012. I am sure tonight will be just as memorable.

All of us are fortunate to be a part of this special evening.

But this celebration is much bigger than the audience in this room.

United Nations Day is a chance to pay tribute to our hardworking staff around the world.

They rush to danger zones. They shelter refugees, feed the hungry people, educate children and foster peace. They defend the vulnerable and demand justice.

Tonight we kick off the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.  We will have a much bigger ceremony and celebration next year, today next year. That will be the 70th birthday of the United Nations. I hope you will all join us that day next year.

For seven decades, our UN blue flag has flown over some of the toughest places on earth.  It is the flag I saw as a young child when my own country, Korea, was ravaged by Korean war.  It gave me hope. The United Nations was a beacon of hope, to me and to all the Korean people.  And we were able to survive only with the United Nations’ help.  I am very much humbled, even these days, whenever I travel around the world, many people around the world, they see the UN as a beacon of hope.  Let us give them all that they need. (applause)

Tonight, as we enjoy this concert, let us think of our colleagues in the world’s hot spots and all the people they serve – and let us resolve to advance a life of dignity for all. Let us work together  to make this world better for all.

I thank you. Enjoy the concert!

Statements on 24 October 2014