ASIA MEDIA WRITES – On April 6, LMU had the esteemed honor to bestow an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters on United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon. The UNSG gave a keynote address on the morning of the degree conferral ceremony, wherein he gave a short policy speech.
Afterward, Ban spoke informally with some distinguished LMU students and professors in the Von Der Ahe Welcome Center. After the short talk, the UNSG posed for a quick photo with Asia Media staffers, Lamiya Shabbir (Pakistan), Sabrina Verduzco (South Korea), and Asia Media managing co-editor, Mary Grace Costa. Please see: http://bellarminenews.lmu.edu/u-n-leader-encourages-lmu-students-to-become-global-citizens/
Earlier, Ban offered some striking perspectives on the overlaps between the UN vision and that of LMU and the Jesuit tradition that informs the university. The Secretary General was introduced at the ceremony by Asia Media founder and LMU’s Distinguished Scholar of Asian and Pacific Studies, Professor Tom Plate. The text of the introduction is as follows:
Thank you Mr Provost, Mr President, Madam Board of Trustees, for the honor of allowing me to introduce our special guest.
He walks amid history. He walks amidst history.
The failed state. The emergency intervention. The piled up bodies of ethnic cleaning on the side of the road – of genocide. Of starvation. The flood. This is the history of now – and of again. And of again.
He walks amid enemies as well as allies. The immorally craven dictator. The stubborn premier. And then, too: the difficult, the ever quarrelsome…. UN Security Council.
Not to forget the raucous General Assembly – 194 members strong… or is it 194 members weak?
He walks amid enemies and amidst friends but it is not always possible to tell the difference between them. But nevertheless he keeps on walking –
Sometimes alone. Always relentless …. Every day a new possibility, a new problem, a new complexity.
And a new accusation. There’s another new mess in the works, a blown assignment at the UN – right, it’s all and entirely the fault of this man who walks amid history. Blame it on the Secretary General. Why not? Who else have we got?
He stalks the corridors of the UN Secretariat in New York. Every floor a different mission, a different complexity, another hard puzzle, a different history- maybe even going back half a century or more.
But relentlessly … he walks. Make it a little better. Don’t despair. Keep your own personal hope alive. Reassure your suffering colleagues and your team – we can make a difference.
You know it. I believe it. Don’t give up.
He walks amid history – a history of success. A history of failure. The United Nations disappoints, has disappointed, will always disappoint. It has not grown into … what some, perhaps foolishly, had dreamed.
All too well, it rather dramatically reflects the sad realities of our times.
But the UN is what we have to work with. It is all we have to work with. And so we shall work with it.
The man who walks with history likes to work. He does not like to rest. His wife, Soon- Taek, knows…. And she knows a lot. She has walked alongside this man who walks with history. She has heard the sighs, felt his pride, felt his hurt, his triumphs – she has shared that history, while praying – always – for peace –
But peace not just for the world, but peace for her husband, Ban Ki-Moon. He is important, too. Don’t you think?
Ladies and gentlemen – here at LMU is that man who walks with history. Who has made history. And who now will allow us at LMU to observe a little bit of history — as he reflects for us about what today – this day in history – is on his mind.
History – as we can see – keeps on happening!
The Secretary General of the United Nations.