Lehman Today Online Magazine Lehman Today Spring 2016 - Page 20

Lehman College and the United Nations: Making History Together Again This year’s annual Herbert H. Lehman Memorial Lecture was given by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Once again, Lehman College and the United Nations made history together. The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered the 47th Annual Herbert H. Lehman Memorial Lecture on March 17, at the Loving Theatre—some 70 years after the U.N. Security Council was housed on the College’s historic campus for six months in 1946. Before the lecture began, the Secretary-General and Lehman President Ricardo R. Fernández visited the Peace Bell, a gift presented last year to the College by Mr. Yong Lee and his family, which was forged in South Korea—the Secretary-General’s native country. Mr. Ki-moon said he was “inspired” by the opportunity to ring the Peace Bell to begin the day’s event. 18 Lehman Today In fact, the topic of women’s rights was raised throughout the day. While addressing questions from Lehman and Bronx high school students, one student inquired about the possibility of a woman becoming his successor as Secretary-General, to which he said: “I hope the next Secretary-General will be the most qualified and distinguished person. Let’s hope that person will be a woman.” The Secretary-General has been committed to ending worldwide violence against women and girls. One of the highlights of his U.N. tenure, he said, has been the creation of U.N. Women, an agency dedicated to gender equality. “We must empower women,” he said. “Give them equal rights in the social, political, and economic sphere.” During his talk, titled “From Turmoil to Opportunity: The United Nations in a Changing Global Landscape,” the Secretary-General focused on critical global issues that he has prioritized during his tenure at the head of the U.N., including human rights, women’s rights, and climate change. He told the audience that he was convening a humanitarian summit to be held in Istanbul in May to address the need for nations to unite and renew their commitment to humanity, prevent and end crises, and reduce much of the world’s suffering and vulnerability. Discussing women’s right, he said: “We cannot make the world better if we exclude one half of the population.” It was fitting that the Secretary-General delivered his talk at the College, since Lehman has played a vital role in the history of the United Nations; from March through August of 1946, the United Nations Security Council was on Lehman’s campus. During that time, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, among others, drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that later became a foundational document for the nascent U.N. The U.N. cafeteria was in the same location where every Lehman student dines—on the ground floor of the Music Building. And the press center was inside the Old Gym Building, created by boarding over the swimming pool and adding rows of desks and typewriters. It was in this building that the very first U.N. budget—for $27 million—was drafted. Left: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivering the Herbert H. Lehman Memorial Lecture on March 17, 2016. Above right: For six months in 1946 the U.N. Security Council met in the Old Gym Building on campus. “The decisions reached while meeting on this campus proved the organization’s value in mediating, calming, and resolving international crises,” President Fernández has written. Secretary-General Ban is the eighth U.N. Secretary-General and is the second leader of the Organization to appear at Lehman College. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the sixth U.N. Secretary-General, took part in a 1995 forum on campus to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Secretary-General Ban took office on January 1, 2007 and was unanimously elected by the General Assembly to a second term on June 21, 2011. He will serve as Secretary-General until the end of 2016. “I grew up in war and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild,” he has said. “That experience was a big part of what led me to pursue a career in public service. As Secretary-General, I am determined to see this organization deliver tangible, meaningful results that advance peace, development, and human rights.” During his tenure, the Secretary-General has prioritized global issues such as climate change, pandemics, and global crises involving food, energy, and water. He has worked on the strengthening of U.N. peacekeeping efforts to reinvigorate the disarmament agenda with the “Human Rights up Front” initiative and developing new ways to make th T8ɔɅɕЁ)и+q%ӊéɕЁѼѡ ɽೊtMɕхɅ ѽѡ)䁍ɽݐЁѡѡɔq5䁽ɕɕЁ́ѡéɔ)ѥɥmȁɅtt(+Q٥-()1Q((((0