Remarks by the UN Secretary-General at the
UNA-NY Humanitarian Awards Dinner




October 22, 2015

Thank you very much to all the wonderful members of the United Nations Association of New York.

We have many UNAs around the world. I should not choose a favourite – but I can say that this Association is quite special. I deeply appreciate how hard you are working to build bonds of trust and understanding in our host city.

New York is the perfect home for the United Nations because it brings together communities from around the world.

New York has a proud history of tolerance and a rich tapestry of diversity.

And New York has won many sports championships – especially in baseball.

And, who knows, perhaps one more will be added very soon.


Ladies and gentlemen,

I just concluded an emergency mission to the Middle East. My plane landed only a few hours ago.

I held intensive meetings with leaders on both sides. I pushed them to lower tensions and prevent the situation from spinning out of control. I made it clear that violence will never bring the just and lasting peace that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve. And I pledged that we will continue to support all efforts to create the conditions for progress.

The United Nations is doing everything possible to respond to instability in the Middle East and elsewhere.

At the same time, we are laying the foundation for lasting global progress.

World leaders have just adopted an ambitious vision for a life of dignity for all people. The Sustainable Development Goals can lead us to this new future.

We are also hoping that countries will reach a meaningful agreement at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. The United Nations welcomes the engagement of all partners interested in making our world better for future generations.

Tonight's awardees are part of this global wave of progress.

I pay tribute to Marco Bizzarri, the President and CEO of Gucci, for his commitment to the empowerment of women and girls.

I applaud UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake for so ably leading the activities of the United Nations to advance the rights and wellbeing of all children.

Your third awardee this evening is my own wife, Mrs. Ban Soon-taek.

As you honour her decades of championing the cause of women and children, I commend her for enduring more than 40 years as my spouse!

I wish I could give her an award myself – but at least she knows she will always have my heart.

Let us take inspiration from all of tonight's awardees and the many other people around the world who are helping to create a safe, sustainable and peaceful future.

Thank you.