In a major policy address delivered at the Monterey Institute of International Studies on January 18, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke passionately about his vision of a more peaceful future and lauded the role played by the Institute in promoting disarmament and nonproliferation education. He gave special recognition to the innovative and effective teaching methods of Dr. William Potter, founding director of the Institute’s James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS).
Of Monterey Institute students Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “The world needs your skills and commitment, especially in advancing disarmament and non-proliferation.” Those are “great causes” he said, and also part of his “personal and professional DNA.” Ban Ki-moon is the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations and has often talked about how growing up in war on the Korean peninsula led him to a career in international diplomacy.
In his address at the Monterey Institute he gave a status report on the five-point plan on nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation he launched early in his tenure - accountability; the rule of law; partnerships; the role of the Security Council; and education. He stressed that every nation has a vital role to play and that there are “no right hands for wrong weapons.”
A recurring theme the Secretary-General touched on in his address was that “The world is over-armed. Peace is under-funded.” He spoke of the disparity between spending for warfare and weapons and funding for development and peace-building efforts such as education.
Before addressing a packed Irvine Auditorium on Friday morning, the Secretary-General met privately with President Ramaswamy and Dr. Potter and posed for a photo with students in the Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies program. The Secretary-General also extended a formal welcome to the Institute on its joining the United Nations Academic Impact Initiative.
In his public welcome for the Secretary-General, President Ramaswamy noted the Institute’s “long history of close collaboration with the United Nations,” adding that it is “difficult to walk the halls of the UN for any length of time without becoming acquainted with one of our alumni,” including interpreters, translators, diplomats, nonproliferation experts, NGO representatives and others.
The address was interpreted by Monterey Institute Conference Interpretation students in four languages; Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Korean.