New York

06 June 2012

Secretary-General's remarks to the special cultural event supporting UN Women and celebrating the sixty-sixth presidency of the General Assembly

We are here tonight for a great cause – to support UN Women and celebrate this dynamic General Assembly session.

I thank the Government of Qatar and the Qatar Foundation for their generosity.  I extend a warm welcome to the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. This is their first time with us.  What a treat.

With so many different instruments playing in harmony, an orchestra is the perfect example of unity in diversity.

And our guests carry it even further by embracing both western and Arabic music – reminding us of our common humanity.

As they say in Arabic: Music is food for the soul.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Think of the important women in your life. Personally, I picture my wife and mother, my daughters and granddaughters. Professionally, I count on many women in my cabinet and across the United Nations for expert advice and excellent work.

Now think of this: more than half of all women will be victims of violence in their lifetime. Beatings. Sexual abuse. Even murder.

Often the perpetrator is someone close to them – a husband, partner or family member.  The very person she should be able to trust the most.

But there is something else we should picture. 

The many dedicated individuals and groups who fight every day to protect women … in shelters and in courts … in homes and in war zones.

They have the ideas and the energy … but too often they do not have the funds.

That is why I am so grateful to the President of the General Assembly for dedicating this concert to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

The Fund supports projects in more than 120 countries – helping victims of rape overcome their trauma … working to outlaw attacks against women … changing attitudes in society for lasting results.

Dear Friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

This celebration is also dedicated to the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

It has been an historic year.

President Al-Nasser and I carried out two important visits: first in November to Libya, immediately after the liberation, while the embers of conflict still burned.

And then in December to Somalia to show our solidarity with the Somali people.

The President and I share a deep faith in the UN’s ability to help people. And we share a strong resolve to make the most of the United Nations, together.

I thank President Abdulaziz Al-Nasser for his strong leadership and commitment.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let us now enjoy this beautiful concert … and draw inspiration for the work ahead.

Thank you.