Ban Ki-moon, the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations, will deliver a public speech at Stanford University on Friday, June 26.
Ban’s visit will highlight the 70th anniversary of the founding of the U.N., part of a larger trip to the Bay Area to commemorate the San Francisco Conference, where the charter establishing the U.N. was signed in 1945. After his speech, he will participate in a question and answer session with Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2008-11).
The Stanford event will take place at 3 p.m. RSVP is required by June 24; seating is first come, first served. Media must pre-register by 9 a.m. on June 25.
It is Ban’s second visit to Stanford in under three years. In Jan. 2013, he delivered a speech to mark the occasion of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC)’s thirtieth anniversary.
“I believe we face a unique opportunity,” Ban said in Dinkelspiel Auditorium. “Because the changes we face are so profound – the decisions we make will have a deeper and more lasting impact than perhaps any other set of decisions in recent decades.”
Calling on students to be ‘global citizens,’ he spoke about the ongoing crisis in Syria, the mandate to act on climate change, and the need for a sustainable peace worldwide.
“Growing up, the U.N. was a beacon of hope for me and my country,” he said. “I urge you to harness that same spirit and make a difference.”
Ban was born in the Republic of Korea in 1944. As a youth, more than fifty years ago, Ban visited California during his first trip to the United States with a Red Cross, saying “my trip here opened my eyes to the world.” He has since held a 37-year career in public service in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including the role of minister of foreign affairs and trade, foreign policy advisor and chief national security advisor to the president.
“It’s truly our pleasure to host Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the seventieth anniversary of the U.N.,” said Gi-Wook Shin, a Stanford professor and director of Shorenstein APARC. “The U.N. has had a profound impact on the shaping of global order in the postwar era. And Ban’s leadership has steered the organization toward the world’s most pressing aims.”
Ban is reaching the end of his term as secretary-general. He assumed office in Jan. 2007 and was reelected for a second term in June 2011. Over his tenure, Ban has led a major push toward peace and non-proliferation activities, youth, women’s rights and the environment. He has urged leaders of China, Japan and South Korea to work harder on reconciliation over the wartime past to ensure long-term stability in the region.
The June 26 event, which can be followed at #UNatStanford, is co-sponsored by Shorenstein APARC and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University; with promotional co-sponsors Asia Society, Asia Foundation and the World Affairs Council of Northern California.