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Public Service and Global Leadership: A Conversation with Ban Ki-moon

What: Online
When: May 16, 2017
Time: 12:30 pm
Where: Online

The Honorable Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two consecutive terms, from January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2016. As Secretary-General, he focused on mobilizing world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water. He also galvanized partners from non-governmental organizations, faith groups, the business community and others active on the international stage, endeavoring to build bridges, give voice to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, and strengthen the United Nations.

Born in the Republic of Korea, Mr. Ban’s childhood was scarred by war. Fighting forced his family to flee to the mountains. When they returned, Mr. Ban learned, first-hand, the value of the UN’s life-saving relief aid. “That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service,” he once said, pledging to enable the United Nations to provide tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development and human rights. One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. His visits to hard-hit areas around the world, persistent advocacy on the issue and even a march through the streets of New York for climate action helped to push the world to act. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change, adopted in December, 2015, was signed by a record number of leaders the following April 22 – Mother Earth Day – and entered into force on November 4.

He also worked to advance the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, with a special emphasis on Africa and women’s and children’s health. At the height of the food, energy and economic crises in 2008, the Secretary-General successfully appealed to the G20 for a $1 trillion financing package for developing countries and took other steps to guide the international response and protect the vulnerable and poor.

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