U.N. Secretary General Visits SIU At Carbondale

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon addresses the crowd at the SIU Student Center on Wed., Dec. 21.


The outgoing Secretary-General of the United Nations chose the SIU-Carbondale campus to make his final public address.

In front of a crowd of around 1,400 people in the SIU Student Center ballrooms Wednesday, Ban Ki-Moon talked about what he has learned in his 10 years as the leader of the U.N. and what he'd like to pass on.

The secretary-general says he's proud the world has come together to adopt a new plan called Sustainable Development Goals.
"To guide us as we strive to end poverty, hunger, empower women, increase access to quality education and build effective institutions that serve people. The goals apply to all the countries."

Ban says the 17 separate goals were adopted last year. He hopes they can be implemented by the year 2030.

Ban painted a grim picture of the situation in Syria.

He says U.N. monitors are now being allowed in Syria, but so far political solutions have failed.

Secretary Ban says 60 to 70-percent of Syria is destroyed.
"There is no functioning hospitals or medical clinics. The water supply has stopped. I said a few days ago, the situation in Aleppo is a synonym to hell."
Ban says major conflicts have forced tens of thousands of people to flee in other places around the world as well, including Yemen, Mali and South Sudan.

He says if the world doesn't unite, there is a risk of genocide occurring again for the first time in about 20 years.

Ban calls himself a "Voice for the Voiceless." He is urging the younger generation to be aware of what's going on around the world.

Ban told the crowd - especially students - to become global citizens.
"Therefore I'm asking you to have a global vision with a passion and compassion...that's the only way that we can work together to make this world better for everybody."
SIU-C freshman Riddhi Choudhary believes in being a global citizen. The native of India says many of her fellow students feel the same way.
"At SIU, it's a very diverse place. I meet a lot of people that really believe in diversity and are aware of what's going on. Obviously there are some people who are not so aware. But, I think the large majority are aware."
Choudhary wants to be an elementary school teacher. She says global issues should be taught to children of a young age before their mindset becomes closed by outside forces.

SIU-C interim Chancellor Brad Colwell told the gathering the university has now joined thousands of schools worldwide in the United Nations Academic Impact.
"The Secretary-General launched this initiative in 2010 to share ideas across our borders and disciplines to find solutions to interconnected problems that cause suffering throughout the world."
Secretary Ban calls SIU-C's announcement a "gift."
"We need to have a closer partnership and closer support from professors and students of the institutions of higher learning."
Secretary Ban says he looks forward to higher education institutions discussing their common concerns for humanity.

Ban leaves the U.N. Secretary-General’s post at the end of this month. Former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres of Portugual has been chosen as his successor.

Ban, a 72-year-old Korean, first started working with the United Nations in 1975, when he worked for the South Korean Foreign Ministry's United Nations Division. He served as South Korea's foreign minister from 2004 to 2006.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio