New York

22 May 2008

Secretary-General message to the Annual Meeting of the Association of Former International Civil Servants [Delivered by Netta Avedon, Chief of Staff Development, Office of Human Resources Development]

I am delighted to convey my warmest greetings to this Assembly of the Association of Former International Civil Servants.

This annual gathering is a highlight of your association's calendar. It provides an opportunity to exchange notes with former colleagues and to reconnect with old friends. It is also an occasion to renew ties with the broader UN community, and brush-up on the Organization's current activities.

But your visit is equally exciting for all of us as well. To us, you are former international civil servants on paper only; in practice you remain valued members of the UN family. Your presence today simply confirms your active and engaged participation in our community, and in the UN's work for a more peaceful and prosperous world.

This support and engagement is needed now more than ever. The demands on today's UN are unprecedented both in size and in scope. From climate change to food security, peacekeeping to peacebuilding, the world is turning to our Organization for solutions to the international community's most intractable problems.

I am sure you will be proud to know that that the present generation of UN staff is proving worthy of these tasks. They have risen to the challenge and are driving our progress. However, there is much that they can learn from all of you. Your accumulated wisdom and institutional memory complement their own youthful energy and dedication. That is why I welcome and encourage regular contact between us. Indeed, I see you as ideal mentors and guides to a whole new generation of international civil servants.

At the same time, my colleagues and I count on you to be strong public advocates for the United Nations. Many of your already defend and explain our Organization through speeches, talks, articles and other outreach efforts. I am grateful for this support and encourage every one of you to contribute to this effort. In that spirit, I wish you a most successful Annual Assembly.