Ban Ki-Moon Sworn in as UN Secretary-General

Ban Ki-Moon Sworn in as UN Secretary-General

Here is the text of the speech by new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. There are a few good lines from the speech, such as the following:

Member States need a dynamic and courageous Secretariat, not one that is passive and risk-averse. The time has come for a new day in relations between the Secretariat and Member States. The dark night of distrust and disrespect has lasted far too long. We can begin by saying what we mean, and meaning what we say.

We cannot change everything at once. But we can build progress in a few areas, and so make way for progress in many more. That will require intensive and continuous dialogue. It will require us to work together transparently, flexibly and honestly. And it will require us to start with an open mind. Today, I ask both colleagues and Member States to work with me in that spirit. You have the right to expect the same of me….

By strengthening the three pillars of the United Nations — security, development and human rights — we can build a more peaceful, more prosperous and more just world for our succeeding generations. As we pursue our collective endeavour to reach that goal, my first priority will be to restore trust. I will seek to act as a harmonizer and bridge-builder. And I hope to become known to all of you — Member States or Secretariat — as a Secretary-General who is accessible, hard-working, and prepared to listen attentively.


Unless, of course, the question is in French. The Los Angeles Times has a choice anecdote about Ban’s one faux paus: when a Canadian reporter asked Ban in French why it should be one of the U.N.’s working languages, he didn’t understand. “If you speak ‘lentement en francais‘ [slowly in French] I will do my best.”

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