Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 10 December 2023 Dublin: 7°C
goodnight moon

Ban Ki-Moon bids a final farewell as UN Secretary General

The UN head’s ten-year term as Secretary General comes to an end at midnight tonight.

UN Ban Ki-moon Mary Altaffer Ban Ki-moon poses for a selfie with one of his staff members on his last day at UN headquarters Mary Altaffer

UN SECRETARY BAN Ki-moon has paid an emotional farewell to the United Nations, wistfully describing his two-term stint at the helm of the global body as something of a fairy tale.

“I feel a bit like Cinderella. Tomorrow at midnight, everything changes!” he joked to staff and colleagues as he wrapped up a decade leading the United Nations.

Beginning tomorrow, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres (67) takes over the role of Secretary General.

Guterres is the first former head of government to lead the UN, succeeding Ban for a five-year term.

Ban, in a more serious vein, said it has been a “privilege” to have been at the head of an organisation that endeavored to tamp down global conflict and end suffering — and said it was an honour to have shared that mission with his co-workers.

euronews (in English) / YouTube

“You should be very proud – just as I am so very proud to call you my colleagues,” the South Korean diplomat said.

He added that in his decade at the UN, he has endeavored “to never give up. To keep dreaming, to keep believing, and to keep working hard until we achieve progress,” he said.

Ban added that as UN chief, he also has been guided by a desire “to keep the focus on people – on people’s rights and people’s dignity… and to stand up for those who are left behind.”

As a first act after leaving the pinnacle of global diplomacy, Ban will ring in the new year at Times Square by formally launching the traditional New Year’s Eve ball drop this evening, to be attended by hundreds of thousands of revellers.

“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!” the outgoing UN leader joked.

© – AFP, 2016

Read: US claims Russia tried to hack one of its domestic electricity grids

Read: The Top 20: What was the ‘biggest thing’ to happen in 2016?

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.