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    UNIS/SGSM/679
    19 October 2015

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    Remarks at meeting with students from the Comenius University Karol Rybárik International Relations Institute

    Bratislava, 19 October 2015

    VIENNA/BRATISLAVA, 19 October (United Nations Information Service) - I am delighted for this chance to meet with you. You are part of a new generation of young people who have been raised in independent Slovakia.

    The founder of this Institute, Karol Rybárik, was actually kicked out of his diplomatic position for political reasons. But he transcended these obstacles and went on to start this great academy that has trained many individuals who are now top Slovak officials.

    You have earned the chance to be known as Rybarikovci. You have very promising futures.

    Everywhere I go, I try to speak to youth. There are now 1.8 billion young people in our world - more than ever before.

    The Slovak Republic has produced many people who have inspired the world by denouncing injustice. I hope you will proudly carry on this important tradition. I also encourage you to join the UN Association.

    I am urging governments to empower young people to contribute to peace. I encourage all of you to raise your voices.

    The world today is mired in many very grave challenges. The war in Syria has caused immense tragedy. It has displaced millions of people. And the conflict is threatening international peace and security.

    At the same time, we have seen encouraging signs of hope. People are coming together as never before. Last month at the United Nations, we welcomed leaders from across the worlds of government, business, and entertainment. We were especially honoured      to hear an address from His Holiness Pope Francis.

    As students of diplomacy, you may go out in the world and represent your country. In this effort, I hope that you will always consider how the national interest and the global interest converge.

    Today's world is globalized. This is not a time to look inward or construct barriers.

    It is a time to open up and build bridges. In my years as Secretary-General I have seen proof - over and over - that leaders who do not respect their people will fall.

    The United Nations is bringing countries together to address transnational threats based on common values. A country may have the strongest army in the world, but that would never keep out the Ebola virus. A country may have the most powerful economy, but that will not prevent economic shocks from around the world. A country may have a strong stature, but it will only be a global leader when it acts in cooperation with others.

    I count on you to stand up for our world.

    Be a global citizen. Serve the greater good. This will bring enormous returns for your nation and our world.

    Thank you.

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