Ban Ki-moon Keynote Lecture and Response 2018 Asia leadership forum

Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon of South Korea delivered the keynote address for the Liu Institute’s third Asia Leadership Forum on September 12, 2018.

All 350 tickets were claimed immediately for the free event at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

This presentation provides highlights of Ban's lecture, “The United Nations and Global Citizenship,” and the key points of a response essay, “Global Citizenship: The Three-Dimensional World of Ban Ki-moon,” by Sara Sievers, global affairs associate professor of the practice, who moderated the event.

"Our world is going through pronounced changes, and this is resulting in elevated uncertainties and new risks. Tariffs and protectionism are threatening free trade Conflicts between the US and its traditional allies such as Canada are growing, US trade wars with China and the EU are expanding."
"Our climate is changing as well, and this is bringing dire risks to our ailing planet. At the same time, new technologies are altering how we communicate, live, and work. Sweeping advances in the fields of AI, blockchain, biotechnology, and robotics will alter the future of our countries, cities, businesses, and interpersonal relationships."
"Under this backdrop of waning internationalism and dizzying change, we must continue to work together through expanded partnerships and cooperation. We must also forge ahead through a driving commitment to global citizenship to help cope with these seemingly insurmountable challenges."


  • Partnerships and cooperation
  • Commitment to institutions such as the UN
  • UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals
  • Paris Agreement
  • Global citizenship

What is a global citizen?

Global citizens are those who identify themselves not as a member of a nation, but, instead, as a member of humanity more largely.
"If we join together in strong partnerships and move forward as global citizens, we can achieve our global goals and create a brighter future for all."
In conclusion,
Response Essay by Sara Sievers
"As someone who has lived at the figurative core of the earth for most of his career, eventually entrusted by the countries of the world to be the closest thing we have to our collective global leader, Mr. Ban’s perspective is unique to him and a very few others. For this reason alone, when Mr. Ban speaks, as the old advertisement goes, people listen. And if we don’t, we should."

In particular Mr. Ban has identified three of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as crucial for action by global citizens.

SDG 1: No Poverty

SDG 5: Gender Equality

SDG 13: Climate Action

SDG 1: No Poverty

"In its simplest form, absolute poverty is being too poor to dependably survive. Whether it is vulnerability to disease, climate change, violence, hunger, natural disaster, micronutrient deficiency, or any one of a number of other global challenges, poverty, with razor-like precision, identifies who to sacrifice first."

SDG 5: Gender Equality

"Gender inequality is so embedded in world history, religions, economies, politics, and cultures that facing its multi-pronged spears in and of itself often proves radioactive. It’s easier to ignore or attribute to a consequence of God’s will or culture the facts that women are poorer and hungrier than men."

SDG 13: Climate Action

"It is the existential threat of our time, truly a global challenge that can’t be addressed in an adequate way without interested global citizens leading the way."
"We can certainly choose to live a two-dimensional life on the surface of one island, country or continent; indeed this is a choice many political, social, and religious leaders argue to great effect at the present confusing, uncertain time. But is that right? Is it kind? Is it wise? Ultimately, is it safe? Ban Ki-moon—and our own history—answer with a resounding 'no.'"

The Asia Leadership Forum is the flagship event of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies, inviting world leaders from Asia to discuss relevant topics within a global context. The forum began in 2015 with a keynote address by former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. In 2016, Ma Ying-jeou, the former president of Taiwan, delivered the keynote address.

For more information about the Asia Leadership Forum, please visit asia.nd.edu/about/asia-leadership-forum/.