United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered his farewell speech on Friday to a crowd of UN officials, staff members and diplomats at the UN headquarters in New York City.
Flanked by the presidents of the General Assembly and the Security Council, the native South Korean thanked UN workers for their hard work and commitment over the course of his 10-year tenure, which ends at midnight December 31.
“Now, I feel a bit like Cinderella, tomorrow at midnight, everything changes,” joked Ban.
Ban then announced to the crowd that he will join the New Year’s celebrations in the Times Square in New York City on Saturday. He will have the honor of pushing the button which begins the official 60-second countdown to the New Year. Ban also used this time to call on people worldwide to take actions in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Tomorrow night, on the eve of the New Year, I will be in Times Square for the ball drop. Millions of people will be watching as I lose my job,” he quipped.
“I’ll always be the child of the United Nations, and my heart will always be with you and with the United Nations,” Ban said to all UN staff.
As the eighth UN Secretary-General, Ban’s tenure started from Jan 1, 2007 when he took over from Ghanaian Koffi Annan.
“The leadership and the commitment and the courage of the outgoing Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon has been exemplary,” said Stephen O’Brien, Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“It’s definitely been a very important ten years and we look forward to next year when we have a new secretary general, and moving forward,” said Masher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Public Information.
Portugal’s Antonio Guterres will succeed Ban on Jan 1, 2017.