UNITED NATIONS – Outgoing UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon paid an emotional farewell to the United Nations on Friday as he concluded his second stint.
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“I feel a bit like Cinderella. Tomorrow at midnight, everything changes!” he joked to staff and colleagues as he wrapped up his journey from 2007 to 2016 at the United Nations.
Moon recalled his time at the highest international body and termed it a privilege to have served the body aimed at mitigating global conflict.
“You should be very proud — just as I am so very proud to call you my colleagues,” said the emotional Ban Ki-Moon.
“I may not be Secretary-General for much longer, but I will always proudly carry the title of global citizen. I will be your honorary Ambassador. I will always be the child of the United Nations. And my heart will always be with you and with the United Nations,” said Ban Ki Moon.
He added that as UN chief, he also had been guided by a desire “to keep the focus on people, on people’s rights and people’s dignity and to stand up for those who are left behind.”
“Tomorrow night, on the eve of the New Year, I will be in Times Square for the ball drop. Millions of people will be watching as I lose my job!” said the outgoing UN head.
Beginning Sunday, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres will take over as the new Chief of UN.
Guterres who was Portugal’s prime minister from 1995 to 2002 – defeated 12 candidates, seven of whom were women, to secure the post. He said that he aimed to have gender uniformity among senior UN leadership in his five-year term.
According to reports, Guterres will soon announce Nigeria’s environment minister Amina Mohammed as his new deputy secretary-general. Mohammed has already worked as Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on post-2015 development planning.
Guterres was appointed by the General Assembly on 13 October. Usually the selection of a UN secretary-general is decided behind-closed-doors by a few powerful countries; however, this time the selection involved public discussions with each candidate seeking the leadership position.
The swearing-in on December 12 came after the 193 General Assembly members paid tribute to Ban, ending with a standing ovation for the outgoing UN chief. The swearing-in ceremony included the U.N.’s top leaders and was attended by dignitaries.