Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon challenges students to embrace global citizenship

14 April 2022
  • Ban Ki-moon opens GEMS World Academy Model United Nations conference
  • Eighth UN Secretary-General is the official Ambassador for the Dubai IB school
  • His Excellency encourages youth to take ownership and drive positive change

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: GEMS World Academy – Dubai recently welcomed back on campus its official Ambassador, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, to open the school’s Model United Nations (MUN) conference, which involved students from across Dubai in a three-day programme of wide-ranging debates.

The globally-respected statesman addressed the theme of this year’s conference – ‘Escaping the Shackles of a Post-Crisis World’ – in his opening address to students, in which he talked about the need for global cooperation in order to combat the ongoing pandemic.

His Excellency Ban Ki-moon said: “It is always energising to see so many young people who are enthusiastic about, and dedicated to, global cooperation and multilateralism. Young people like yourselves represent the future of our planet. And their active engagement in transforming our world into a more sustainable and peaceful place is vital, particularly during this crisis caused by Covid-19.

“You have talents to understand this crisis as a window of opportunity to change the world for the better. You have the innovative minds, fresh ideas, energy, creativity, strong will, modern tools and motivation to make the world more peaceful and to secure a brighter future.

“I hope that the biggest takeaway for you will be ownership: ownership of the world we live in, ownership of the sustainable development goals, ownership of the Agenda 2030, ownership of the principle of leaving no one behind, and ownership of your contribution to the world, which might start small but can grow throughout your lifetime.

“I challenge you to think of yourselves as global citizens, as this can help us drop our urge to compete with one another and instead look out for our common wellbeing. You are part of the largest generation of young people the world has ever seen. Use this to your benefit. Be cooperative, not competitive. Be loud, not silent. See the common good and not only your personal gains. Let us work together to make this world better for all people – that is your, and our, moral responsibility at this time.”

Dr Saima Rana, Principal/CEO of GEMS World Academy – Dubai, said: “We are fortunate and privileged to have His Excellency Ban Ki-moon as the official Ambassador for our school’s Model United Nations. To host a statesman of his stature, with his level of experience on the global stage, and to hear him share his insights, observations and advice is an incredibly valuable learning opportunity for our students. At GEMS World Academy, we strive to develop the leaders of tomorrow – global citizens able to shape the world around them with empathy, open-mindedness and a spirit of collaboration. In this light, His Excellency Ban Ki-moon is an ideal role model for the young people in our care, and we think him for his invaluable contribution.”

Participating MUN delegates were actively engaged in discussions on the measures nations must take in order to mitigate the impacts of dire crises, as well as ways to create a more prosperous future for all segments of the global community. Students also had the chance to speak with Ban Ki-moon directly and learn from his many insights into important world affairs.

Arnav Kedia, Deputy Secretary-General, GEMS World Academy – Dubai MUN, said: “It was a pleasure to be joined by His Excellency Ban Ki-moon at the opening ceremony. As someone who is extremely passionate about MUN and the global political landscape as a whole, it was an amazing experience to meet the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. It was truly inspirational to hear His Excellency speak about the importance of global cooperation and how young people can play a vital role in facilitating global change. In particular, I found it extremely interesting to learn about His Excellency’s insights into leadership and how he was able to mitigate problems during his role as Secretary General through effective management skills. I believe the presence of His Excellency at our opening ceremony set the tone for what has turned out to be a successful conference with fruitful debates.

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