New York

22 September 2009

Secretary-General's message to the Appeal of Conscience Foundation Annual Awards Dinner

It is a great pleasure to greet all the participants in the annual Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner. I thank my good friend, Rabbi Arthur Schneier, for organizing this event and for his valuable work in support of the United Nations and our shared goals of tolerance and peace.

I warmly congratulate tonight's honorees: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown; Bernard J. Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH Mo√ęt Louis Vuitton; and Mr. Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company.

You meet as world leaders gather at the United Nations for the annual general debate. In addition to today's unprecedented summit on climate change, we will also, at this session, seek to focus attention opportunities for progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, on the continuing fallout of the global economic crisis and on various matters of peace and security. I will also attend a meeting devoted to the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative which Rabbi Schneier and many of you in attendance tonight have done so much to support.

This is a critical moment for the international community, requiring decisive movement on many fronts and a renewed multilateralism that delivers for real people in real time. Human rights and conflict resolution, so central to your work, are key components of this endeavour, especially given the potential of the global economic downturn to foster social unrest. Your efforts to counter rising tensions and promote mutual understanding will continue to provide valuable support to the United Nations as we work for a sustainable recovery that benefits all people.

Thank you again for your engagement, here in New York and at the grassroots. Please accept my best wishes for a memorable evening and great success in the years ahead.