24 October 2008


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek travelled from United Nations Headquarters to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the morning of Tuesday, 21 October, arriving in the early afternoon at Harvard University, where the Secretary-General was to deliver a speech entitled “Securing the common good in a time of global crises”.

The Secretary-General and Madam Ban were greeted by Professor Graham Allison, Director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Upon that encounter, the Secretary-General said, “Nice to be back at my school.”  He was referring to the fact that, in 1984, he earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

At a luncheon and subsequent briefing in the Belfer Center, the Secretary-General discussed with faculty experts the importance of securing global goods, including global financial stability.  He also held a meeting with Professor Allison and David Ellwood, Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The Secretary-General then delivered his speech to the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, which regularly hosts Heads of State; leaders in politics, government, business, labour and the media; academics; community organizers; and artists.

The purpose of the speech was to discuss the importance of securing global goods such as disarmament, climate change solutions, global health and action against terrorism, and to highlight the particular challenge of addressing these at a time when they are put at risk by concurrent global crises -- including those related to finance, food, energy, and development.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that the same threads of globalization that united us in the good times are now biting deep in the bad times, especially for those who can least afford it.  He added, “We have to crisis-proof our agenda, especially in the area of development.  In particular, we cannot allow the financial crisis to turn into a prolonged human crisis.  That is why the race to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, by the target of 2015, has become even more pressing.”

Following his speech, the Secretary-General took seven questions from students in the audience on topics ranging from Lebanon and Myanmar to climate change and the Millennium Development Goals.

The Secretary-General and Madam Ban returned to United Nations Headquarters later that same afternoon.

For information media. Not an official record.