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    19 October 2015

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

    Remarks at Inauguration of an exhibition on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations

    Bratislava, 19 October 2015

    [As prepared for delivery]

    VIENNA/BRATISLAVA 19 October (United Nations Information Service) - I am honoured to join you today to open this wonderful exhibition on the 70th anniversary of the United Nations.

    When the United Nations was first established, it was an enormous gamble based on hope.

    The world was in ruins. The founders of the United Nations knew that they had to do more than rebuild the bombed-out buildings with bricks; they had to build a lasting institution based on universal ideals.

    One of those founders was the Slovak diplomat Jan Papanek, who showed great courage throughout his career. I have been deeply inspired by him as I studied for my visit to the Slovak Republic.

    These photographs capture the very intense time when the world came together following global tragedy to forge an institution that could turn the lessons of war into a service for peace.

    I am moved by these displays, which give us a sense of what it was like at the birth of this great Organization.

    This exhibition is a powerful reminder of how the United Nations was established and how much it has progressed since. For one thing, there are now many distinguished Slovak women working as diplomats, too!

    The dramatic events in our world now show how important the United Nations remains today.

    We have reached another pivotal moment in history.

    The United Nations has saved countless lives - but wars still rage.

    Displacement is higher than at any time since the Second World War.

    The dangers are serious - but the world is responding.

    The new Sustainable Development Goals aim to create a life of dignity for all people.

    We are also hoping for global progress at the Climate Change Conference in December in Paris.

    And we are advancing against other threats, including human rights abuses, inequality and the rise of violent extremism.

    The United Nations was the most important Organization in its time when it was founded - and today it is even more critical to humanity.

    I hope this exhibition will be seen by many people.

    Let us continue advancing in common cause for a better future.

    Thank you.

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