UN role and reform

21 September 2016, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Unveiling Ceremony for Staff Recreation Facility

Dr. Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, 
Ladies and gentlemen, 
Dear Colleagues,

Good morning and welcome. It is a great pleasure to be here with you at this groundbreaking ceremony.

This week of all weeks, getting more exercise may be the last thing on our minds. In fact, this ceremony is providing me with a few precious moments of rest!

But, of course, exercise is a vital part of a healthy work-life balance.

20 September 2016, UN Headquarters

Toast at lunch with Heads of State and Government

This lunch is unique.  At no other time, in no other place, do so many world leaders break bread together.

And this year is unique.  Never before have a President of the United States and a Secretary-General of the United Nations completed their terms at about the same time – within just twenty days of each other.

Mr. President, we need to find something to do. 

I challenge you to a round of golf!  But please don’t challenge me to a game of basketball!

13 September 2016, UN Headquarters

Remarks at Prayer Breakfast

I am pleased to join all of you this morning.  

We are beginning perhaps the most hectic period of the year.  A new session of the General Assembly is upon us.  Leaders from around the world are on their way.  Our agendas are overflowing with meetings and summits and events. 

I can think of no better way to gather strength for this nonstop frenzy than by looking forward together with quiet humility and shared faith in humanity.

We have major challenges before us – conflict, division, insecurity.

13 September 2016, UN Headquarters

Remarks at wreath laying ceremony commemorating the 55th anniversary of the death of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld

I am honoured to join you as we remember the life of Dag Hammarskjöld 
55 years after his death.

Together, we salute his sacrifice and celebrate his extraordinary achievements. 

On this occasion, I also renew my call to the General Assembly to appoint an Eminent Person or Persons to review new information which may exist regarding the circumstances around his death and the loss of 15 others on their mission of peace. 

All these decades after Dag Hammarskjold’s death, we remain just as inspired by his actions and his words of wisdom.

30 August 2016, Singapore

Remarks upon receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters from the National University of Singapore

Your Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of Singapore,
Your Excellency Mr. Goh Chok Tong, Emeritus Senior Minister,
Honourable Madam Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament,
Distinguished Ministers,
Mr. Wong Ngit Liong, Chairman of the National University of Singapore,
Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of NUS,
Distinsguished Faculty,
Dear Students,

Thank you for the honour you have just bestowed on me.

30 June 2016, General Assembly

Remarks at General Assembly Tribute to Mr. John W. Ashe, President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly

I extend sincere condolences to the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda on the passing of H.E. Ambassador John William Ashe.

Ambassador Ashe was based in New York for more than 25 years.

During that time, he served in many important positions.

He was chairman of negotiations during the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, and chair of the 2004 session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

13 June 2016, General Assembly

Remarks on the election of the President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly

Your Excellency Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the General Assembly,
Your Excellency, Mr. Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji, President-elect of the 71st session of the General Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am delighted to offer my warmest congratulations to the new President-elect of the General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Peter Thomson, Permanent Representative of Fiji.

08 June 2016, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the UN Correspondents Association Reception

It gives me great pleasure to attend this annual reception and to receive a copy of the UNCA Directory for one final time as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

When I am relaxing with my grandchildren next year and they ask me, “What did you do when you were Secretary-General?” I can show them the photos in this directory and tell them: “I had to answer tough questions from all these people.”

Tomorrow, I will take your questions at a press stakeout, and I know some of them will be hard to answer.

19 May 2016, UN Headquarters

Remarks at the Wreath-laying Ceremony Honouring Fallen Peacekeepers United Nations Headquarters

Today, we gather at this memorial site to lay a wreath to honour the brave men and women who died while serving under the United Nations Flag.

Last year, 129 peacekeepers from 50 countries lost their lives due to malicious acts, accidents and disease. It was the 12th time in the last 13 years that more than 100 Blue Helmets fell in one year. The tragic total since 1948 is nearly 3,500.

Please join me in a moment of silence in tribute to their bravery.

Thank you.

18 May 2016, New York

Remarks at Columbia University Commencement

Thank you for this great honour. I know that, through me, you are recognizing the efforts of tens of thousands of men and women who work across the world for peace, development and human rights.

The United Nations treasures its partnership with Columbia University. We are not just neighbours in New York; we are allies across the world.

I want to share two simple and short messages.

First, despite the dangers we face, remember that you are graduating into an era of wondrous opportunity.

We are appalled by war crimes in Syria and elsewhere.