New York: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for a special brand of “global leadership” and a new “multilateralism” to deal with complex challenges like poverty, illiteracy and terrorism, facing the world today.
In an address at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington DC, Ban said: “Threats spill across borders. Just as the world’s people have become more interdependent, so have the issues. No nation can deal with them alone.”
“This new world demands a special brand of leadership... global leadership,” Ban stressed. “We need new vision, bold action, powerful partnerships for enduring peace and prosperity. That is why I call for a new multilateralism.”
He added that the new multilateralism should focus on delivering global goods: freedom from hunger, health and education and security from terror or the threat of Armageddon.
“A multilateralism that couples power with pragmatic principle, recognizing that in our interconnected world the well-being of any one nation depends, to an increasing degree, upon the well-being of all,” he told the audience of students, faculty and well-wishers.
At the same time, the Secretary General cautioned against expecting quick results and emphasized the need to be realistic.
“The new multilateralism, however welcome, offers few easy fixes. Progress comes in fits and starts, usually without the clear triumphs of a long-distance runner crossing a finish line. Ours is a world of half-loaves, of glasses half full - when we are lucky.”
The UN chief, speaking from personal experience, urged young people to consider careers in public service, saying that there is no more noble calling.
“There is no greater good than a life of public service. This I know, personally. During my boyhood in Korea, I experienced first-hand what is it like to be hungry, afraid and alone. It was after the war, and I went to school in the open air. There were no walls; only rubble. There was not much to eat. Often I went to sleep, crying from hunger.
“The United Nations, led by the United States and other countries, helped feed and defend my people...It helped rebuild my country. Ever after, for me and my country, the United Nations has been the symbol of hope. For many hundreds of millions of people, it is so today.”