New York

4 September 2012

Remarks at the opening of the exhibit of the Chinese artist, Wu Weishan

Mrs. Ban and I are honoured to attend this opening ceremony.


I thank the Government of China and Mr. Wu Weishan for bringing this enlightening exhibit to the United Nations.


The sculptures embody not just the soul of a nation but of all humanity.


I look at the figures of girl children and I think immediately of the girls and women who look to the United Nations to be their champion -- for dignity, equality, opportunity.


And when I see the busts of Confucius I recall my own childhood.


I was brought up in the tradition of Confucius.  It has informed my personal growth throughout my life.


Confucius taught that, “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”


These words are as true today as ever.


Here at the United Nations we deal with issues of global scope.  To many eyes they may seem too huge to resolve.


But any problem can be broken down into small steps and individual actions.


Any problem can be solved when the heart is set right.


This exhibit highlights the importance and the role of the individual.


It says to me that by respecting each other and working together we can create the future we want.


Mr. Wu Weishan, I thank you for the wisdom in your hands, and for sharing it with the world.


Thank you.