Ban Ki-moon, Austrian officials, launch center for global citizens

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Jan. 3, 2018 at 1:50 PM
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Jan. 3 (UPI) -- After nearly a decade as the United Nations secretary-general, and a brief period when he considered running for the South Korean presidency, Ban Ki-moon is opening a nonprofit foundation in Vienna, Austria.

Ban, 73, said Wednesday the Ban Ki-Moon Center for Global Citizens is to support youth and women around the world, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

During an inaugural ceremony with more than 120 diplomatic missions in attendance, including newly elected Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Ban said the needs of women and youth must be prioritized.

Of the world's 7.6 billion people half are women and half are under age 25, Ban said.

"We are 7.6 billion people globally. Half of the world is women -- half of the world is under 25 years of age. There are billions of people underprivileged, marginalized, jobless and hopeless. To peacefully empower them, particularly women and the youth has to be our top priority to advance humanity," Ban said, highlighting the goals of his new organization.

"We can only empower those in need, if each and every one of us acts with passion and compassion as a global citizen."

Former President of Austria Heinz Fischer is a co-founder of the center that is to work within the framework of the U.N.'s sustainable development goals.

"Young people and especially young women are vital to resolving current global and local challenges," Fischer said.

The center plans to launch programs on education, conflict de-escalation, while promoting global citizenship at academic institutions.

The center's board is to meet on the sidelines of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February.

Ban considered briefly running for president against current President Moon Jae-in in 2017, but quit the race when he did not gain substantial support.

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