The Riverdale Press: Believe in power of youth, UN leader says

By Shant Shahrigian

To judge by international headlines, college students are not on their way to a very welcoming world. But last week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon came to Lehman College with an upbeat message, exhorting young audience members to believe in the power of their voices.

“I as secretary-general have some constraints sometimes, political constraints, to raise [my voice] as high as I want to,” he said inside the college’s Lovinger Theater on March 17. “But young people, you don’t have any limit. Just raise your voice… We need you to rise up for civil rights, for social justice, for equal opportunity and fair play here in the United States and all around the world.”

Much of Mr. Ban’s speech focused on crises around the world and the U.N.’s efforts to alleviate them. “That flag, which you see here, is still the beacon of hope to millions, millions of people around the world,” he said, pointing to a blue U.N. flag behind him on the stage.

He interspersed his comments about refugees from Syria, apparent provocations from North Korea and other crises with calls for young people to support the work and spirit of the U.N.

“Over the years, the United States has been a very generous contributor of humanitarian aid, development aid and a leader in the fight against hunger and terrorism,” he said. “I hope that the students, as emerging global citizens, will make the case for even stronger global engagement.”

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