New York

18 September 2013

Secretary-General's remarks to Student Conference for the International Day of Peace [as prepared for delivery]

I am pleased to be here with Messenger of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall, and UN Foundation ‘Girl Up’ Champion, Ms. Monique Coleman.

Welcome to the United Nations.

Je suis aussi ravi de souhaiter la bienvenue à nos invités de Haiti, les jeunes parlementaires qui se joignent à nous par vidéoconférence.

Dr. Goodall, Ms. Coleman and I have just come from ringing the Peace Bell.

The International Day of Peace is a time for reflection – a day when we reiterate our belief in non-violence and call for a global ceasefire. 

This year we are focusing on “Education for Peace”.

Education is vital for fostering global citizenship and building peaceful societies.

By being here I know you share my passion for peace.

You are my inspiration.

Looking at you I know we can create the future we want.

You have fresh ideas and energy.

You are risk-takers, innovators dreamers.

My message to you is: never be afraid to dream.

If you have passion – and compassion -- today’s dream can become tomorrow’s reality.

That is why I am passionate about education.

I want all children to have the chance to go to school and receive a quality education so they can become global citizens like you.

It is why I launched the Global Education First Initiative last year.

Fifty-seven million children are still denied an education.  Millions more need better schooling.

We need to accelerate momentum in countries with the greatest needs, such as those affected by conflict.

These are home to half of all children lacking education. 

War creates lost generations of children and young people.

In areas ravaged by conflict, the plea is always the same: "Education first".

Education helps to re-establish normal life for children after war has ended, and sets the stage for lasting stability.

When we put education first, we can reduce poverty and end hunger, end wasted potential, and build stronger and better societies for all.

You are central to this effort.

You are tomorrow’s mothers and fathers, teachers, doctors and humanitarian workers, politicians and business leaders.

We need you to help build an enduring culture of peace.

Have passion – and compassion.

Put yourselves in the shoes of others.

Help those in need.

Value human diversity and the natural world that sustains us.

Stand resolute for human rights.

Work together to give the world the best chance for peace.

Thank you.