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21 March 2016

Nowruz ‘Breaks Down Barriers, Builds Bonds of Trust’, Says Secretary-General in Remarks Commemorating International Day

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a ceremony marking the International Day of Nowruz, in New York today:

Happy Nowruz, everyone.

This is a wonderful occasion to celebrate together.  Today we join hundreds of millions of people around the world marking Nowruz.

Everyone can take inspiration from this joyous holiday.  It is part of our global cultural heritage.

Nowruz is an ancient celebration that predates today’s borders and divisions.  It is a reminder that national boundaries, religious faiths and other superficial differences are not as important as our common humanity.  In that way, Nowruz breaks down barriers and builds bonds of trust.

The United Nations is proud to mark this holiday because it stands for many of our values:  solidarity, friendly relations and respect for the environment.

The Spring Equinox is celebrated in many ways across many cultures as a new dawn.  Nowruz is renewal.

This year’s commemoration comes at an important time for our world.  We are at the start of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — our plan to achieve dignity for all people — as well as the Paris Agreement on climate change.

To rise to this moment in history, we have to come together as one human family.  That means embracing our differences and combining our strengths.

Families celebrating Nowruz have a huge range of traditions — with fire, foods, green shoots and other rituals.  In this rich variety, there is a shared sense of new beginnings.

Nowruz is a perfect example of unity in diversity.  Let us take inspiration from this meaningful holiday to make a fresh start on our journey to a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

For information media. Not an official record.