New York

23 October 2012

Secretary-General's remarks to Award Ceremony for UN "Art for Peace" Contest 2012

It is a great pleasure for me to participate in this very moving event. This is an inspiring event.

I spend a great deal of time urging governments to create a nuclear-weapon-free world for the sake of children and youth.

Today, I get to see how children and youth themselves envision a nuclear-weapon-free world.

As was introduced by Angela Kane, more than six thousand and six hundred young people from 92 countries shared one message for this project – a call for peace.

I am delighted to be here with our first-place winner, 17-year old Haruka Shoji.  Congratulations.

Her beautiful painting is called “Someday.” We see a young woman looking into the distance to a better future.

I am presenting this painting to the Permanent Mission of Japan. I know they will treasure it.

Haruka said, “Maybe it is your child, or your grandchild, or [a] much later [generation] who says bye to nuclear weapons.”

I hope that leaders around the world hear this message. I hope they stop to consider what young people have told us through this contest.

One girl said, “Under the threat of nuclear war, the world cries day and night. For those who love peace, let us demolish nuclear weapons.”

A young boy said, “With no threat of nuclear war on the planet, there will be smiling children everywhere.”

All of the contestants said they want peace.

They inspire me to fight even harder for a safer world. They inspire me to keep insisting that spending on education and health care is much more valuable than spending on tanks and missiles. They inspire me to keep demanding that everyone work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

Ms. Shoji,

Today we honour you. You have enormous artistic talent. But I am even more impressed by your vision and your idealism.

You have a wonderful future ahead of you.

I promise I will do everything possible to make your beautiful painting a vision of the present, not the future – so that you can be the one waving bye to nuclear weapons and entering a safer world.

Congratulations on winning this year’s Art for Peace contest. I am pleased to present you with this award certificate and cheque. 

Thank you very much.