Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon will give a major policy address to the Seton Hall community as the featured speaker of the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations’ World Leaders Forum and will receive an honorary degree to the University on Nov. 22.
According to Elizabeth Bakes, assistant dean of external affairs at Whitehead, the University has been looking to bring Ban to campus for several years.
“We have been asking the Secretary General to come since he first got the position in 2007,” Bakes said. “We have been asking him for three years, so it’s a really big deal he finally said yes.”
According to Bakes, Ban will be giving a major policy address, which is typically given at the end of the year for the UN. However, the address will be given at his Nov. 22 visit to the University after the he agreed to give it here.
“His policy address will be about the seven policy goals that the UN set in 2010,” Bakes said.
Junior Elizabeth Dudley, diplomacy and international relations major, will be attending the event because of the caliber of the speaker.
“As a diplomacy major, those who exemplify not only the best of international relations and cooperation, but also the best in public service, are to be admired,” Dudley said. “I believe that the Secretary General is a clear example to follow.”
Bakes noted that it is not only the content of the speech which will be exciting, but the fact that the speaker’s forum will have someone who is currently serving the U.N.
“It’s really exciting to have someone who is currently serving at a speaker’s forum because we can hear about the challenges they are currently facing,” Bakes said.
Freshman Kayleigh Ellison, diplomacy and international relations major, said she will be attending the event because Ban will be there in person.
“It gives important global issues and key players a tangibility to students as opposed to them remaining simply faces on a TV screen,” Ellison said.
Dudley, who said she believes that a speaker of Ban’s caliber is a unique “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the University and its students, believes that speech will be very interesting for students who study international relations, as well as those who have never thought of it before.
“I think even the people who do not know him well will come just to hear what someone like him has to say,” Dudley said. “Some people have never thought of the UN or international relations and thus going to an event like this will give them a new topic to learn about and, for those of us who do discuss international relations, he shall bring new thoughts to us and enrich discussion and debate.
Ellison said that, although she does not agree with all of Ban’s policies, she looks forward to hearing what he has to say, and hopes to ask Ban “questions and hear unfiltered answers.”
Ban will be receiving an honorary degree from the University during his appearance. According to the University Honors and Awards Recommendation, the honoree “must respect the ideals, goals and Catholic identity of Seton Hall, as expressed in our Mission Statement and elsewhere.”
In addition, the University requires the honoree embody characteristics of “exemplary service, either personal or professional, to the local, national or international community, in a manner consistent with the values and mission of the University and with the tradition and teachings of the Catholic Church.”
The event, which Bakes said is expecting around 1,000 attendees, was made possible due to a relationship between the Whitehead School and the United Nations Association of the U.S.A.
Samantha Desmond can be reached at email@example.com