On fifth anniversary of UN Academic Impact, Ban stresses empowering youth to lead global progress

United Nations, to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Academic Impact, a series of conversations took place with the ECOSOC Chamber filled with students, academics, civil society, representatives of the diplomatic community and the UN family.

UN News Centre was there covering the event – you can read more in their article: “On fifth anniversary of UN Academic Impact, Ban stresses empowering youth to lead global progress”.

The archived video of the event is also available here.

The message from the Secretary-General for the Fifth Anniversary of the UN Academic Impact is below:



New York, 10 November 2015

I am pleased to send warm congratulations to this event marking the fifth anniversary of the United Nations Academic Impact. I welcome all the special guests, especially the keynote speaker, Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York.

I applaud your decision to hold a conversation on the next generation of global citizens. The United Nations is giving urgent priority to empowering young people to help lead global efforts for progress.

Over the past five years, I have been impressed by the growth of the Academic Impact and the dedication of its staff. I well remember November 18th, 2010, when I proudly attended the launch with J. Michael Adams, the President of Fairleigh Dickinson University – the first institution to join the Academic Impact. Although sadly he has passed away, his spirit lives on through the lecture this initiative has created in his name.

What started as just an idea has now become a well-established network of more than 1,000 institutions in more than 120 countries. Collectively, their field of study covers every issue on the international agenda. And they are providing the world with ideas for addressing some of our most pressing problems.

This contribution is gaining even greater importance as the international community begins to carry out the 2030 Agenda and make good on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty and create a life of peace and dignity on a healthy planet. In adopting this bold vision for a new future, leaders specifically said the journey would involve the academic community.

As governments prepare to meet in Paris for the Climate Change Conference that aims to achieve a new global agreement, we are asking all partners to help the world transition to a low-carbon economy. The academic community has been vital to raising awareness of the science behind climate change – and in formulating creative responses to fossil fuels that protect our planet while boosting the economy.

In addition to reaching out across the world, the Academic Impact bridges generations, especially through its student organization ASPIRE, or Action by Students to Promote Innovation and Research through Education. I well remember my meetings with ASPIRE members, who rightly asked tough and informed questions about the impact of the United Nations on our world.

That generational span – the harmony of experience and exuberance – represents what the United Nations Academic Impact initiative is all about: bringing the hopes and expectations of our global organization together with the unparalleled intellectual power of academia and the energy of youth to generate solutions to today’s problems.

In this spirit, I wish you all great success.UNAI_5_event

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