Champions for Change




by Lily Khidr | Worldview 2013 Winter

The Worldview Institute was one of six academic organizations cordially invited to attend a special event on February 20 with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, to engage in an open discussion about his latest book Building A Better Future For All. This book is not a publication written about the Secretary-General, nor is it a book written by him. It is as much a book about the United Nations and its mission and core principles, as it is a selection of Ban's speech moments along the way of a six-year tenure, reflecting the implementation of these principles.

With nearly 250 guests housed in the Economic and Social Council Chamber, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, the Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, moderated what turned out to be a very candid questioning of the UN Secretary-General. His diplomatic acumen was surely put to the test, as a natural poise expected in an environment of experienced diplomacy, and one which was completely offered to the audience of young minds present, who all held a passion for facilitating humanitarian change. From being addressed incorrectly as "Mr. Moon," to a criticism of "compromising the security of the 'Holy Land' against nuclear Iran by giving Palestinians non-member state status at the UN," the Secretary-General was able to quell the flames by highlighting a culture of education with clarity and compassion. There was nearly no topic untouched or page unturned.

Winter 2013 Worldview Institute participants who attended the book event

The book's collection of speeches, delivered to diverse audiences ranging from Heads of State to youth groups, and given in over 150 countries, truly illuminate the person behind the position. Some speeches are long, some short, but all of which share this unified vision: to push world leaders to promote and protect the full panoply of human rights. 

His message was clear to this audience as well — igniting the majority of the world, the young generation and women, to tackle the overwhelming breadth of global issues that plague humanity. We are no longer from one country, "we are interconnected" he says, a concept reflecting the gravity of the social and political issues that affect us all, geographies notwithstanding. While there was an appreciated admittance on his part of an inability to solve all the issues, and that right decisions usually take time to emerge, the call was clearly made for this next generation — to implement peace, justice and change.

A full webcast of the event can be found here

Photo by Eskinder Debebe/UN Photo from the book Building A Better Future For All




Lily Khidr, PhD, Elsevier Publishers
Participant in Winter 2013 Worldview Institute