Seton Hall University
Ban Ki-moon Visits SHU

Student Essay by Kelsey Coolidge '12

When I first learned that the School of Diplomacy was hosting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon I was immediately overwhelmed with excitement. The opportunity to meet a world leader is rare. The School of Diplomacy's affiliations with the United Nations opens doors for its students and enables them to gain a unique perspective of international relations. This perspective, which embraces the role of normative values and works to bring together all peoples, regardless of religious, ideological, or cultural differences, to work for a common good. Ban Ki-moon embodies this common purpose and in his speech to the Seton Hall community, he highlighted the three greatest security threats to the global community.  

As a Diplomacy major and environmental studies minor, I have a particular interest in the global environment and how it may affect development. Mr. Ban identified climate change and poverty as two of the world's greatest security challenges. These are precisely the same two fields of international relations that I hope to pursue. The issue of climate change within the greater global environment is often the last item mentioned in discourse of international relations, but the Secretary-General chose to highlight it first. To have the topic of the global environment be the first mentioned security threat was a great moment for me. It was inspiring to see that the importance of this subject is recognized by the United Nations and currently being addressed on the global agenda. In his remarks, Mr. Ban specifically called for a binding treaty to reduce carbon emissions and stressed that collective action is necessary to protect and preserve the global environment.  

Collective action was the common thread in Mr. Ban's address. When discussing the other topics of his speech, namely poverty, humans in crisis, and women's empowerment, he emphasized the need for all countries to work in cohesion to address these problems. The concept of a globalized community in which every country shares responsibility is a dream for an audience of students who aspire to work in that world. It was wonderful for me to learn that I share that goal with the Secretary-General, and to get a glimpse of the role that the United Nations plays in creating that reality.

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