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|Title||Vista Reunion Dinner|
At the outset, I would like to sincerely welcome you all to the Korean Mission this evening to celebrate a truly inspirational and amazing reunion.
In 1962, 50 years ago, a hardworking Korean high school student with big dreams won a Red Cross-sponsored English competition and earned a fortunate trip to the United States. While in the US, he had the rare opportunity to meet President Kennedy, interact with people from other cultures, and develop friendships that would last a lifetime.
At the time, the Republic of Korea was rebuilding from the ashes of war and the country was extremely impoverished. Such a trip to the United States would have been unthinkable then to most Korean people. The young Ban Ki-moon was provided with life-changing experiences and newfound perspective that sparked his career trajectory in diplomacy and his lifelong commitment to public service.
And for the last five and a half years, he has successfully led the United Nations as the world's top diplomat. His day-to-day schedule is extremely busy. He actually works minute-by-minute, crisscrossing the world to solve all of the challenges and missions facing him, and continue to beef-up an era of multilateralism. As a Korean and as a diplomat, I am very much proud to have him as a spokesman for the interest of the world's people on behalf of my colleagues, representing 193 UN Member States.
I welcome from the bottom of my heart the time-honored friends of the Secretary-General and their families. You are and will be valuable sources to the Secretary-General today and tomorrow.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Starting his second term, the Secretary-General announced his five visions in his dynamic Five-Year Action Agenda. They are “Sustainable development”, “Prevention”, “Building a safer and more secure world by innovating and building on our core business”, “Supporting nations in transition” and “Working with and for women and young people.” To achieve these aims, the Secretary-General will make his best efforts under the philosophy of “doing more with less,” as he has been doing for the last five years.
Despite his brutal schedule, the Secretary-General somehow finds time to work alongside with such personalities like Angelina Jolie and Shakira, injure himself playing soccer against UN Ambassadors, and ever perform rap songs about global health and water efforts in front of hip-hop megastar Jay-Z. I simply don't know how he finds time for it all. Well, I guess I understand how he finds a bit of time for Angelina Jolie.
Regardless of his busy schedule, the Secretary-General will be embarking on a visit to Tehran for three days starting Wednesday, to participate in the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement. This timely and important visit to the region shows the Secretary-General’s devotion to peace and security, as well as how seriously he takes his responsibility as a world leader. The Secretary-General’s decisiveness, confidence, and at times sternness are balanced out by his soft-charisma. The Secretary-General is extremely hard working and not afraid to speak his mind, yet so modest and humble – a reflection of true Asian virtues. He is indeed, the living embodiment of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous policy of “speak softly and carry a big stick”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some experiences define and stay with you regardless of the paths you embark on. For Secretary-General Ban and the other 1962 VISTA participants here today, the formative time spent together 50 years ago was most definitely one of those experiences. It is important to note here that Secretary General Ban's passion for youth education, especially in the developing world, is indeed founded upon his valuable experiences with you.
With this in mind, a big thanks also goes to the Red Cross for their continued and dynamic work in the humanitarian relief field, and for supporting programs such as VISTA over the last several decades. These programs are indispensable examples of successful public diplomacy that have the potential to inspire future world leaders.
Let me close by asking all of his friends present here, and those unavoidably absent today, to show their support for Secretary-General Ban, as he continues to work tirelessly to forge a better world for this and future generations. I thank you.