New York

25 October 2006

Secretary-General's remarks at United Nations Day Concert

Dear friends,

This is a very moving occasion for me, since it is the last time I celebrate United Nations Day with you. I have spent almost my entire working life in the UN family. So this day, and the values that it stands for, will always be special for me.

Let me say a word of gratitude to the Government of Greece and the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation for helping to bring us together at this concert. What better way than music to mark this day?

Celebrating UN Day energizes us. It strengthens the bonds between us. It makes us stop for a moment and realize how thrilling it is to work alongside people from every corner of the earth who share the goals of the Charter.

So I thank all of you for coming to celebrate this evening. Thank you for understanding that this is your United Nations. And I think it is important that you feel that way.

Thank you for understanding that it is up to all of us to make the most of this indispensable instrument.

It is just like with some of the instruments in the orchestra behind me. One of the violins, for example. Individually, all the strings make different sounds; but when they are played together, guided by the right composition, they begin to make sense.

So, guided by the Charter, we work together to seek to ensure that our instrument -- the United Nations -- is as harmonious and resonant as it can be, in the interests of the people it exists to serve.

That is what I have sought to do during the 10 years that I have served as conductor –er, I mean, Secretary-General.

And all of you have played an invaluable part. I thank every one of you for your support during these unforgettable years. I couldn't have done it without you and without your support. Please continue to take care of our precious instrument.

Thank you very much.