I am pleased to greet the participants of this Peace Forum as it opens in the beautiful city of Hiroshima. I commend the President of Rotary International, Mr. Sakuki Tanaka, and welcome your theme “Peace through Service” as well as the many activities that Rotarians have already undertaken to put this vision into practice.
Together, you have recognized the importance of engaging a broad spectrum of humanity, including our younger generation who are increasingly assuming the responsibilities of advancing your organization’s ideal of “Service above Self”.
Rotarians everywhere understand well the extent that peace, security, and prosperity depend on the hard work of our fellow citizens. Together, we at the United Nations and you at Rotary International are guided by this shared duty to advance the common interests of humanity.
As you gather in Hiroshima, it is especially fitting to remember that global nuclear disarmament is a global public good of the highest order. I am especially grateful for the interest that Rotarians have demonstrated over the years to advancing this great goal.
As we work to eliminate the most indiscriminate and deadly weapons, so too must we also seek to reduce conventional weapons, limit the diversion for armaments of our human and economic resources, and advance a global prohibition on the threat or use of force in international relations.
As a student, as a government official, and as United Nations Secretary-General, I have learned that the roots of peace extend far deeper than the level of policies of States. They reach down to individual citizens, their families, their religious faiths, their groups and associations, and to virtually all types of social networks to which we all belong.
By promoting a deep appreciation of our common interests and values, education and the work of service organizations like Rotary International offer powerful and effective tools for building and strengthening peace.
Please accept my thanks for what you have already accomplished and my best wishes for success in the years to come.