Diamond Light
Newsletter of the Aquarian Age Community
2006 No. 4
Back Issues
New Leadership at the United Nations1
Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General Elect
My tenure will be marked by [a] leadership of harmony, not division.

I follow in a line of remarkable leaders. They had also faced this moment, each at a critical juncture in the Organization's history. Like myself today, they must have pondered what the years ahead would hold at the helm of this dynamic institution. Each made important and lasting contributions to our common enterprise in upholding humanity's deepest values and highest aspirations.

In particular, you, Mr. Secretary-General, have astutely guided our Organization into the 21st century. You have defined an ambitious agenda that has made the UN truly indispensable to peace, prosperity and human dignity around the world. Our debt to your courage and vision is immeasurable. I resolve to build upon your legacy.

I am deeply honored to become the second Asian to lead the Organization, following Mr. U Thant who ably served the world four decades ago. It is quite fitting that you have now turned to Asia again for the next Secretary-General to guide the UN system through its 7th decade. Asia is dynamic and diverse, and Asia aspires to take on greater responsibilities for the world. Having come so far and rising still, the region is living and shaping the full range of achievements and challenges of our current times.

Asia is also a region where modesty is a virtue. But the modesty is about demeanor, not about vision and goals. It does not mean the lack of commitment or leadership. Rather, it is quiet determination in action to get things done without so much fanfare. This may be the key to Asia's success, and to the UN's future. Indeed, our Organization is modest in its means, but not in its values. We should be more modest in our words, but not in our performance. The true measure of success for the UN is not how much we promise, but how much we deliver for those who need us most. Given the enduring purposes and inspiring principles of our Organization, we need not shout its praises or preach its virtues. We simply need to live them every day: step by step, program by program, mandate by mandate.

The surge in demand for UN services attests not only to the UN's abiding relevance but also to its central place in advancing human dignity. The UN is needed now more than ever before. The UN's core mission in the previous century was to keep countries from fighting each other. In the new century, the defining mandate is to strengthen the inter-state system so that humanity may be better served amidst new challenges. From the Balkans to Africa, from Asia to the Middle East, we have witnessed the weakening or absence of effective governance leading to the ravaging of human rights and the abandonment of longstanding humanitarian principles. We need competent and responsible states to meet the needs of "we the peoples" for whom the UN was created. And the world's peoples will not be fully served unless peace, development and human rights, the three pillars of the UN, are advanced together with equal vigor.

Let us remember that we reform not to please others, but because we value what this Organization stands for. We reform because we believe in its future. To revitalize our common endeavor is to renew our faith not only in the UN's programs and purposes but also in each other. We should demand more of ourselves as well as of our Organization. To cut through the fog of mistrust is going to require more intensive dialogue. We cannot change everything at once. But if we choose wisely, and work together transparently, flexibly and honestly, progress in a few areas will lead to progress in many more. Only the Member States can revitalize this Organization. But I will always be there to assist and facilitate as needed.

The conduct of my office as Secretary-General will be open, accessible, and accountable. I will seek to build consensus through a free exchange of ideas and critiques. Only by the candid, open testing of ideas and proposals can we identify better means of serving the peoples of the world. I will be accessible and proactive in reaching out to all stakeholders. In particular, to bring the UN closer to the people, I will widely engage civil society in dialogue. I will actively seek the support and input of advocacy groups, businesses, and other constituents of the global citizenry for the good of the Organization. My tenure will be marked by ceaseless efforts to build bridges and close divides. Leadership of harmony not division, by example not instruction has served me well so far. I intend to stay the course as Secretary-General.

1 Excerpted from the acceptance speech of Mr. Ban Ki-moon upon being appointed as the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations on 13 October 2006, UN Headquarters, New York City. For the full transcript, write to the Aquarian Age Community.