New York

20 September 2011

Secretary-General's remarks to Appeal of Conscience Foundation Annual Awards Dinner [as prepared for delivery]

Your Excellency, President Lee Myung-bak, My good friend, Rabbi Schneier, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening to you all.

Rabbi Schneier, I want to thank you and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for your leadership.

At a time of too much division in the world, too much discord, you stand strong for our most cherished values: Religious freedom. Human rights. Human dignity. Tolerance and understanding.

That is what our world needs. You give them life each and every day.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is a time of great churning, challenge and change. I believe that world leaders recognize the gravity of the moment. Leaders like President Lee Myung-bak.

As a Korean, I am especially pleased to see President Lee receive this prestigious Appeal of Conscience Foundation Award tonight. I applaud President Lee's leadership in building an ever stronger and more advanced nation.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I am even more proud of his commitment to building a Global Korea –a Korea that reaches out and engages deeply with the wider world.

As challenges grow, we need the Republic of Korea across the full spectrum of our UN agenda –from advancing sustainable development to building sustainable peace.

Often when I travel, Korea is held up as a model –especially in Africa. The story of my country is one of change and inspiring transformation –from poverty to prosperity, and from repression to robust democracy. This gives Korea a special obligation to help poorer nations have the same opportunities and a better future.

President Lee embodies that Korean spirit of resilience, compassion and hard work. Along with so many millions of Koreans, he grew up in poverty in a Korea destroyed by war.

Today he presides over one of the leading economies of the world and hosted the most recent G-20 Summit of global economic powers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me also thank all of you for your commitment.

We cannot build a world worthy of our children's dreams unless everyone does their part.

Governments, yes. But leaders ? doers ?people of conscience everywhere.

Thank you for summoning the best in each of us to build a better world for all of us.

Thank you.