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Press Release: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General to UN conferred with ‘Doctor of Letters’ at Jamia
April 27, 2012
Press Release: Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General to UN conferred with
‘Doctor of Letters’ at Jamia
Jamia Millia Islamia held a ‘Special Convocation’ on April 27, 2011 at 11 AM in Dr. M.A. Ansari
Auditorium, Jamia Millia Islamia to confer the degree of ‘Doctor of Letters’ (Honoris Causa) on Mr.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General to United Nations.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations. In 2011, Mr.
Ban Ki-moon ran unopposed for a second term as Secretary-General and was unanimously re-elected
to the post of Secretary General by the General Assembly. He will continue to serve in his current
position until 31 December 2016.
The newly appointed Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Lieutenant General M.A.
Zaki (Retired) presided over the special convocation and conferred the degree on Mr. Ban Kimoon, Secretary General to United Nations. Mr. Najeeb Jung, Vice Chancellor, presented him the
citation. The text of the citation is enclosed for your perusal.
The citation presented to him by Vice Chancellor Mr. Najeeb Jung read “In honouring him, Jamia
Millia Islamia celebrates one of the most acclaimed figures of our times, who – in his person and
action – combines the strong foundations of morality and ethics with equally important principles of
human rights and dignity. In recognition of his immense contribution to development and world peace,
Jamia Millia Islamia confers upon him the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) on this 27
of April, 2012.”
In his acceptance speech, Mr Ban Ki-moon said “Thank you for this distinguished recognition. For
decades, I have been a student of India. Now I finally have a degree to prove it! Today you do me and
the United Nations a special honour. In that spirit, I accept this honorary doctorate on behalf of the
women and men who serve the United Nations around the world.” The full text of the acceptance
speech is enclosed for your perusal.
Also, pictures of the convocation are attached with this press release for your perusal.
I also take this opportunity, on behalf of Jamia Millia Islamia, to thank the members of the press
for participating in this important event of the university and giving it its due coverage.
In case of any query, please contact me on 9818038281.
Jamia Millia Islamia JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA
(A Central University Established by an Act of Parliament of India)
to Confer the Degree
Doctor of Letters
Friday 27 April 2012
Special Convocation to Confer the Degree
Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa)
The Eighth and the present Secretary General of the United Nations,
Mr. Ban Ki-moon, was born on 13 June 1944 in Korea which was then
emerging from under the Japanese rule. Early on in his life he saw
strife and war at close quarters. At the same time, he also met state
leaders such as the US President John F Kennedy. These early
experiences in his childhood must have had a formative influence on
him and would have laid the foundation for a life which was to be less
After completing his BA in International Relations from Seoul National
University in 1970, Mr. Ban Ki-moon went on to earn a Master’s in
Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government
at Harvard University in 1985.Immediately after graduating, Mr. Ban Ki-moon joined the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and steadily climbed the ladder of success with his
perseverance and prudence. His first posting was to India and today it
is indeed our honour and pleasure to welcome him back.
His first posting to the United Nations was in the year 1974 and in
1980 he became the Director of the United Nations’ International
Organizations and Treaties Bureau in Seoul.
The other significant signposts in his career are his appointment as
the National Security Advisor to the President in 1996; as Ambassador
to Austria and Slovenia; as Chief of Staff to the General Assembly
President of the United Nations in 2001; and as the Foreign Policy
Advisor to the President in 2003.
In 2004 Mr. Ban Ki-moon became the Foreign Minister of South Korea
and went on to foster Inter-Korean relations, a major accomplishment
of his tenure.
On 1 January 2007, Mr Ban Ki-moon took over charge as the Secretary
General of the United Nations. During his first term in office he took
up challenging tasks such as major reforms in peacekeeping and UN
employment practices; bringing Global Warming into sharp focus;
handling crises in the Middle East with tact; peacekeeping in Darfur,
Sudan, among other equally vital tasks.
While in office, he presided over the all important build-up of the
United Nations’ capacity for responding to humanitarian crises. He has
also worked assiduously at promoting the rights of the most vulnerable
and the underprivileged. He has also executed the United Nations’
Membership’s mandate to create UN WOMEN, the first major United
Nations specialized agency created in decades.
On 21 June 2011, Mr Ban Ki-moon was unanimously re-elected to his
second term in office as Secretary General of the United Nations,
which he will hold till 31 December 2016.
In his current tenure, he has identified five priorities that reinforce his
determination to bequeath a better world to future generations. These
priorities include: sustainable development, preventing conflicts and
disasters, preventing human rights abuses and development setbacks,
building a safer and more secure world, which includes standing strong
on fundamental principles of democracy and human rights, supporting
nations in transition, and working for women and youth.
Mr Ban Ki-moon has received several honours and awards in his career.
Some of these are: Order of Service Merit by the Government of
Republic of Korea in 1975, 1986, 2006; Decoration for Services to the Republic of Austria in 2001; Grand Cross of Rio Branco by the
Government of Brazil; Gran Cruz del Sol by the Government of Peru;
James A Van Fleet Award by the Korea Society in New York, besides
It needs to be underscored that the office of the Secretary General of
the United Nations embodies, more than any other position in the
world, the hopes and aspirations of billions of people across the world,
who repose their trust in the moral and symbolic authority of this
Since his appointment as the Secretary General of the United Nations,
first in 2007, and again in 2011, His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has
upheld the prestige and importance of the office he holds. He has his
characteristic style, which combines perseverance and determination
with extreme humility.
His presence at the helm of affairs at the United Nations has also
stressed the importance of Asia and its role in international relations
and governance today.
In honouring him, Jamia Millia Islamia celebrates one of the most
acclaimed figures of our times, who – in his person and action –
combines the strong foundations of morality and ethics with equally
important principles of human rights and dignity.
In recognition of his immense contribution to development and world
peace,Jamia Millia Islamia confers upon him the degree of Doctor of
Letters (Honoris Causa) on this 27
day of April, 2012.AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
U N I T E D N A T I O N S N A T I O N S U N I E S
REMARKS TO JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA UNIVERSITY
New Delhi, 27 April 2012
Mr. Chancellor, Lt. Gen. M.A. Zaki,
Mr. Vice-Chancellor, Najeeb Jung,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalam Alaikum. Namaskar.
May ya haan aakar bahut khush hoon!
[I am so happy to be here.]
Thank you for this distinguished recognition.
For decades, I have been a student of India. Now I finally have a degree to prove it!
Today you do me and the United Nations a special honour.
In that spirit, I accept this honorary doctorate on behalf of the women and men who serve the United
Nations around the world.
Because you have been so kind to recognize me – let me begin by sharing a bit of personal history.
My journey in foreign service started right here.
I arrived in New Delhi exactly 40 years ago, on my first diplomatic posting. It was one of the best
things that happened to me.
Ever since, I have drawn lessons from the proud history of India. I have learned deeply from your
traditions. I have been inspired by your example.
The bonds go deeper, still. My son was born in India.
Years later, my daughter chose to marry an Indian man. The couple produced what I consider to be
the world’s finest joint venture between our two countries – my grandson, Jai!
For all these reasons, I say: When I am in India, I am at home.
But far more important than India’s role in my family, is India’s role in the family of nations.
That is what I want to speak with you about today.
Now is the time.
We are in a period of great transition. New powers are rising. Technology is shrinking
distances. More and more people are beginning to shape their own destiny, starting with the Arab
Spring. From India, I go to Myanmar where once again new hope and change are taking root.
At the same time, there is unease everywhere I travel. Worries about economic uncertainties …
concerns about corruption … tensions over growing gaps within societies …and questions about
whether institutions are up to the task.
The old order is breaking down and we do not yet know the shape of the new.
century mix of change and challenge brings me to India.
You are the world’s largest democracy. You are an emerging economic leader. You are a superpower
on the information superhighway.
You are a beacon for the world – proving that democracy and development are one and the same path.
As the world’s third largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping – you are the backbone of our efforts
to prevent further conflict and keep peace worldwide.
You are a co-founder and second-largest contributor to the United Nations Democracy Fund.
You are now serving as a crucial member of the UN Security Council, sharing your experiences
throughout the Arab Spring.
But beyond that, something else stands out. I see it all around me today.
India is a union of cultures … religions … languages … all coming together within the fabric of
tolerance, understanding and collaboration.
Jamia Millia Islamia University richly encapsulates the best of the Indian Muslim tradition reflecting a
true cosmopolitan creed.
Yet we know that tolerance is being tested here and around the world.
It is crucial for India to pass those tests – not only for the country but for our world in which your profile
is so distinct and admired.
Maulana Azad, a founder of this great university, once said: “The Indian genius has always
recognized that truth has many facets. And conflict and hatred arise because people claim a
monopoly on truth and virtue.”
That Indian genius – that need for respecting and safeguarding diversity – is needed everywhere.
And at the United Nations, I count on India to help show the way.
All nations face challenges on human rights. It is imperative for India to tackle its own – through
legislation, through policy, and through action to protect all citizens regardless of gender, identity, or
Ladies and gentlemen,
India is at a pivotal point in its own history.
In many ways, it faces the classic dilemma of a middle-income nation.
On the one hand, we see India as the rising global power.
On the other hand, India faces many of the challenges of a developing nation.
For both these Indias, great opportunity awaits.
I believe firmly that the secret to dynamic development lies at the intersection of challenges. The key, it
seems to me, is finding the connections. If you drive at these linkages, you get an instant multiplier
effect — solutions in one sphere unlock solutions in others
Let us start with women.
India has a rich tradition of outstanding women leaders. They include not only political figures but, also,
vibrant voices of civil society speaking out for women’s rights.
You have elected more than one million women to local village councils – a remarkable achievement.
As women have benefitted, so have their communities.
Here in India, women-led councils approved 60 per cent more drinking water projects than those led by
men. And many of those communities have seen greater gains in health, food security and closing the
gender gap in education.
But, of course, the struggle for gender equality continues.
I am here in India in part to highlight our work in improving the health of women and children.
There has been progress and innovation and I look forward to seeing that for myself tomorrow in
Mumbai. But there is much we must do.
Every week, more than 1,000 Indian mothers die from pregnancy or childbirth.
Every 20 seconds, an Indian child under five dies from a largely preventable cause.
This is one of the most difficult development challenges we face anywhere around the world.
But if we can make progress on women’s and children’s health, we can unleash progress across the
Millennium Development Goals.
Again, it’s the multiplier effect. And here, too, I count on India to help show the way.
Just a decade ago, four out of five polio cases worldwide were here. Thanks to a determined effort,
there has not been a single new case in more than a year.
That is Indian progress. That is Indian leadership.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In a larger sense, we need to rethink our approach to development.
Growth is not enough. The world needs inclusive growth that reduces inequalities – growth that moves
people from the margins to the mainstream – growth that integrates the economic, social and
environmental instead of growth that pits these goals against each other.
That is why we have made the challenge of sustainable development the leading priority of the United
Twenty years ago, the world gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit.
In less than two months, leaders will meet there once again in an effort to change course… and to set
the world on a more sustainable path of development.
By 2030, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food … 45 per cent more energy … and 30 per
cent more water…and many millions of more decent jobs.
These and other challenges are linked. And we need to start connecting the dots in our policies and
Rio will be an important opportunity to begin shaping sustainable development goals for the future –
and India has a key role to play.
Rio will also be a chance to advance on our goal of sustainable energy for all. This is another
challenge at the nexus of so many others.
When I was growing up, I did not have to worry about power blackouts – there was no electricity to
begin with. I studied by kerosene lamp.
That was a long time ago. But today, 1.4 billion around the world are still living in the dark. Here in
India, 55 per cent of the rural population lacks electricity.
We cannot power a 21
century economy without sustainable energy.
That is why I am making sustainable energy a major focus.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We must do better in harnessing another vital source of energy – and that is the power of
In today’s world, governments simply cannot do it alone.
That is why we are building partnerships for innovative solutions across our work.
And it is making a difference in our efforts to eradicate malaria … to achieve sustainable energy for
all … to improve the health of every woman and every child.
These are victories because social movements beyond government are mobilizing for change.
That is the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, who was such a force at vital moments in the history of this
University. And I quote: “in a gentle way, you can shake the world”.
That is why it is so encouraging to see Indian business leaders, parliamentarians, mayors, NGOs,
academics beginning to step up to our shared social responsibilities.
It will take the power of partnerships to forge 21
Let me add that I believe India will also find the way to build and strengthen partnerships of common
ground with your neighbours. I know there are many challenges, but I see a future of steadily warmer
ties built on a shared heritage and a common future.
As we look ahead, I encourage India -- as a regional and global force – to do even more in advancing
peace and security – in sharing its experiences – in deepening south-south cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Let me conclude with a special message to the young people here today. Not only does India have a
growing role in our world. So do you.
Some of you may know my own story – a child of war … growing up in poverty … going to school
under a tree because my school had been destroyed.
The UN saved me and my country and helped us rebuild.
Now I look out at you, the young people of India.
We hear of Generation X … Generation Y.
I call today’s youth “Generation UN” -- a generation that is global … a generation that understands our
common bonds … a generation fluent in networks.
I imagine all that you can accomplish with your desires and your dreams.
The story of India’s rise is your story. It is time for a new generation of Indians to write a new and
dramatic chapter in your nation’s history.
The main thread in that story will be India’s role in a wider world. India as a global power, and
yourselves as global citizens.
So today, I say: Have a big dream.
Look beyond your community. Look beyond your country. Be a global citizen.
Bring your energy and your ideas to the United Nations. Be part of our quest for peace, development
and human rights everywhere.
Remember the words of your own great poet Rabindranath Tagore.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and, behold …
service was joy.”
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