New York

10 September 2013

Secretary-General's remarks to participants of 2013 Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalists Fellowship Programme [as prepared for delivery]

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to meet you today.

I understand this is your first visit to UN Headquarters in New York and that you will also travel to Geneva. 

I hope you have found the first week of your programme stimulating and informative.

I am so pleased to see such diversity here today.

You represent all regions and a cross section of faiths and backgrounds. 

I am particularly pleased to see the representation of women.

Engaging and empowering the world’s women and young people is a high priority for me.

That is why I pressed so hard for the creation of UN Women, and why I appointed my first ever Envoy on Youth, Ahmad Alhendawi, who you have already met.

As Secretary-General, it is my responsibility to work with Member States on the biggest global issues, from the Millennium Development Goals to climate change, from disarmament to human rights.

More than 100 world leaders will meet in two weeks for the 68th Session of the General Assembly.

You are here at an exciting and critical time for the Organization. 

The eyes of the world are on us as the Syria crisis continues to deepen.

The Middle East peace talks are delicately poised.

Last month I spoke to young people in Ramallah and in Jerusalem.

I told them the same thing: Peace, democracy, development, human rights and human dignity can never be taken for granted. 

We must always be prepared to speak out in their defence, wherever we are in the world.

That is why we rely on a free media to provide critical analysis and information..

I hope your participation in the Reham al-Farra Programme will help you to better understand and appreciate the work of the United Nations.

We count on you to report stories with accuracy, impartiality and fairness using new media, as well as traditional methods. 

Modern communications technology enables you to educate the next generation of decision-makers. 

As young journalists, our future is very much in your hands.

Now, I know you are journalists, so I am sure you have a few questions for me.  The floor is yours.

Thank you.