New York

21 September 2015

Secretary-General's Remarks at International Day of Peace Student Observance [As Prepared for Delivery]

Good morning, everyone!

Welcome to the United Nations.

It is so significant that you are here on the International Day of Peace.

This shows that you are serious about our world.

That gives me hope for the future.

We have wonderful United Nations Messengers of Peace here.

Dr. Jane Goodall is devoted to protecting endangered species – and making a better world for all animals and people.

Mr. Michael Douglas is a Hollywood star – but at the United Nations he is a superstar for global disarmament.

Mr. Herbie Hancock is an icon of modern music – and a humanistic fighter for world peace.

They may be famous, but all of you are just as important.

I was really honoured to meet Ms. Zuhal Sultan on the way in.

She comes from Iraq – a country with many troubles. But that didn’t stop her from founding its National Youth Orchestra.

I wish I could hear from each of you about what you expect from our world.

This United Nations is more open to the views of young people than ever before in history.

I appointed the first-ever Youth Envoy, Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi. I told him: Bring the United Nations to the world’s young people – and bring their concerns and contributions to the United Nations.

We often hear that youth are victims of conflicts – and that is true. We also hear how some young people get caught up in fighting and even hateful ideologies. But those young people are victims too. And they represent just a very small fraction of the world’s youth.

You are 1.8 billion strong – the largest generation of young people in history. I do not see young people as just victims – you have a potentially massive contribution as peacebuilders. It is easy to say “Youth are the leaders of tomorrow” because of course when you are adults you will be in charge. But I say instead: “Youth are the leaders of today.”

That is why I am strongly calling on all governments to empower young people to contribute to peace.

Last month in Amman, Jordan, the United Nations supported an important Global Forum on Youth, Peace and Security.

There were scores of young people around the world with a common message: we want peace. The hashtag is Youth4Peace – and we still use it.

I was really moved when I read the Amman Youth Declaration.

It said young people are committed to building peace – but their efforts are too often unrecognized and even undermined.

These young people have all the talent to fight violent extremists and forge humanistic understanding. But they do not have enough resources. They do not have real political backing.

The older generation has to empower and work with these young people.

Honestly, I think many leaders today are not doing a very good job of ending wars and suffering.

That is why I support the young people who want to build peace.

In fact, I encourage all of you to raise your voices.

Denounce injustice.

Speak out against of all kinds of bullying – in your classrooms and in our world.

When people try to divide communities and spread hate, you should unite with each other in strong solidarity.

We need your energy and ideas.

I call on leaders to invest in young peacebuilders – to give you the resources and power you need to have a giant impact.

Dear friends,

At the beginning of this meeting – and through a note on your seat – I hope you heard about our Snapchat account. Our username is simple: United-Nations [“United dash Nations”] Please follow us. We are open to everyone.

I am going to send out a snap soon – of this meeting, with all of you.

This is my first snap – but it won’t be my last.


You can also contact us on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram.

Most importantly, let’s have heart-to-heart talks.

Our world feels small – we are all just a click away from each other.

But the divisions are still big.

I’m counting on you to lead.

Be a global citizen. Act on your convictions. Rescue this world from past mistakes and create a great new future.

Thank you.