United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Madam Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Los Angeles from Argentina on Wednesday morning, 10 August.
He participated in a conversation with television producers and writers to encourage the increasing collaboration between the creative community and the United Nations, which has been extremely valuable, allowing the United Nations to reach millions of viewers worldwide with messages about the role of the Organization and global issues, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition, the Secretary-General participated in a dialogue with Congressman Ed Royce of California, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He thanked the Congressman for his leadership on a wide range of global issues. During a bilateral meeting, they had an opportunity to discuss the situations in South Sudan, Myanmar and the Korean Peninsula. (See Press Release SG/SM/17976.)
He also met with a group of recently arrived refugees from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East at an event co-sponsored by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), The Annenberg Foundation and the UN Foundation. In his discussions with the refugee families, the Secretary-General said the United Nations would be there for them as it had been there for him when he was a displaced young boy in war-torn Korea. And in a message to communities that had seen a recent influx of refugees, the Secretary-General said that these newly arrived families needed to be welcomed, embraced and integrated into their new communities. He expressed gratitude to the authorities in California as it is the top state in receiving resettled refugees in the United States. (See Press Release SG/SM/17975.)
On Wednesday evening, he attended a creative community outreach event and dinner hosted by the film director and producer, Brett Ratner. He talked to attendees about how he strongly believed in the ability of the industry to be a power for social good.
The Secretary-General left Los Angeles on Thursday morning for San Francisco. In San Francisco, he visited the woman he calls his “American mother”, Libba Patterson. Mrs. Patterson, who is now 99, and her family hosted a young Ban Ki-moon in 1962 when he was in the United States as part of a Red Cross-sponsored programme.
He later met with Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, Jr., of California to thank him for his and his state’s support for the fight against climate change.
The Secretary-General departed California for Calgary, Canada, early on Friday morning, 12 August.