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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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New York, 20 September 2011 - Secretary-General's remarks to Appeal of Conscience Foundation Annual Awards Dinner [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency, President Lee Myung-bak, My good friend, Rabbi Schneier, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening to you all.

Rabbi Schneier, I want to thank you and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for your leadership.

At a time of too much division in the world, too much discord, you stand strong for our most cherished values: Religious freedom. Human rights. Human dignity. Tolerance and understanding.

That is what our world needs. You give them life each and every day.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a time of great churning, challenge and change. I believe that world leaders recognize the gravity of the moment. Leaders like President Lee Myung-bak.

As a Korean, I am especially pleased to see President Lee receive this prestigious Appeal of Conscience Foundation Award tonight. I applaud President Lee's leadership in building an ever stronger and more advanced nation.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am even more proud of his commitment to building a Global Korea – a Korea that reaches out and engages deeply with the wider world.

As challenges grow, we need the Republic of Korea across the full spectrum of our UN agenda – from advancing sustainable development to building sustainable peace.

Often when I travel, Korea is held up as a model – especially in Africa. The story of my country is one of change and inspiring transformation – from poverty to prosperity, and from repression to robust democracy. This gives Korea a special obligation to help poorer nations have the same opportunities and a better future.

President Lee embodies that Korean spirit of resilience, compassion and hard work. Along with so many millions of Koreans, he grew up in poverty in a Korea destroyed by war.

Today he presides over one of the leading economies of the world and hosted the most recent G-20 Summit of global economic powers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me also thank all of you for your commitment.

We cannot build a world worthy of our children's dreams unless everyone does their part.

Governments, yes. But leaders ? doers ?people of conscience everywhere.

Thank you for summoning the best in each of us to build a better world for all of us.

Thank you.


Statements on 20 September 2011