You might think of it as a sort of secular miracle!

At the very moment that the white smoke of confirmation was puffing skywards for the new Catholic Pope – now Francis I – Loyola Marymount was having a private lunch with UNSG Ban Ki-Moon.

Lunch with the UNSG 13 March 2013 (1)

Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in the middle on the right; LMU’s Slon to the SG’s left; Marshall Cavendish’s Lee Fei Chen to his right; the UN’s Robert Orr upper left of picture; LMU’s Tom Plate directly across from the SG. Photo courtesy Yeocheol Yoon.

The venue was the secretary general’s private dining room on the 38th floor of the iconic UN Secretariat building. And in attendance – in addition to three of the UNSG’s key aides – was LMU Senior Vice President Dennis Slon, Marshall Cavendish Asia International’s Fei Chen Lee, Head of Publishing, and Tom Plate, author of the recently published “Conversations with Ban Ki-Moon.”

The book – the first done with the cooperation of a sitting secretary general – was the focus of a gala private reception the night before at the Princeton Club in New York. Attending were dozens of international diplomats, media representatives and alumni of – as well as present or future students of – Loyola Marymount University.

LMU is an historically Jesuit university in Los Angeles, and ‘Conversations’ author Tom Plate is LMU’s Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies. Slon heads all of the university’s external relations efforts.

At the evening book-launch reception, as well as at the luncheon, His Excellency the secretary general of the UN assessed the new book, with which he cooperated in probing interviews for more than 14 hours over a two year span, as a “close approximation” to his views and his thinking. For his part, Plate expressed gratitude for his commitment of time in helping to create a useful book – which, by the way, has become required reading in the undergraduate LMU course “The Future of the UN.”

LMU’s senior VP Slon expressed pride in the book by LMU’s Plate and offered to the SG the university’s open and sincerely warm invitation to visit, especially if his revered wife Soon-taek can come along too!

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