FDU President J. Michael Adams, right, presents U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with an honorary doctorate. Looking on is FDU Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick Zenner.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and delivered the keynote address during Fairleigh Dickinson’s annual Academic Convocation on September 10, 2008. This marked the second time in FDU’s history and the first time in 55 years that the University conferred an honorary degree upon a U.N. secretary-general.

FDU President J. Michael Adams presented the degree to Ban Ki-moon “in honor of his extraordinary accomplishments” and “in admiration of his determination to build a stronger United Nations … and a United Nations responsive to a complex and interdependent world.” Ban Ki-Moon’s historic address can be viewed online at www.gig.org.

The convocation also featured the presentation of faculty and staff awards, as well as the conferring of a new endowed chair in honor of trustee and alumnus Gregory Olsen, BS’66, BS’68, MS’68 (T).

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

“Thinking Globally in a Global Age”

The following are excerpts from Ban Ki-moon’s keynote address, “Thinking Globally in a Global Age.” A transcript of the full address is available at www.un.org.

“The path between Fairleigh Dickinson and the United Nations is well-worn indeed, to the benefit of both of us. I take my honorary degree today as a sign of the very close relationship between the United Nations and Fairleigh Dickinson University.”

"The path between Fairleigh Dickinson and the United Nations is well-worn indeed, to the benefit of both of us."

“Thank you for your strong commitment to internationalism. Like us at the United Nations, you believe in thinking globally in a global age.”

“As a high school senior [in 1962], … I was one of a group of lucky students invited to the White House, where I met President Kennedy. That was undoubtedly the most inspiring moment for a young schoolboy at that time. I was so moved that I began to think about a life in public service of my own …”

“During my childhood in war-torn Korea, the United Nations was my inspiration. It fed my people. It helped us to rebuild. It was a beacon of hope to many people in Korea, and still is. So I saw the impact a global institution could have. I saw that my country’s fate was closely linked to events beyond our borders. I never forgot that.”

“Interdependence is now a fact and has become part of our life, wherever you may be living. The key question is whether we will keep pace — whether we will develop a global mindset. I believe we will …”

“Today there is a new recognition that the United Nations is uniquely placed to help solve many global challenges. … It is often said that if the United Nations did not exist, we would have to invent it. I fully agree.”

“The bottom billion — the poorest of the world’s poor — deserve our attention. Not because they are future markets, though they undoubtedly are. Not because they will be less likely to migrate if their standards of living improve, though this too is true. The bottom billion deserve our particular attention because we are a single human family. We share a common human dignity.”

"You are fortunate to be a Fairleigh Dickinson, because it is a leader in global education."

“Let me speak to the young people in the audience. Your generation can help tip the balance in cultivating a global mindset. You are fortunate to be at Fairleigh Dickinson, because it is a leader in global education.”

“The professor who encourages his students to think beyond traditional borders gives those young men and women a professional head start. And the academic institution that stresses global education will produce class after class of global citizens.”

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