Ban highlights transformative power of education at academic outreach event

Aug 23, 2013

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking at a UN Academic Impact event in Seoul, Republic of Korea. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon cited education as a critical and powerful tool to advance development worldwide and encouraged academic institutions to collaborate with the United Nations to accelerate progress.

Speaking at a UN Academic Impact event in Seoul on 23rd of August, Mr. Ban said the UN is committed to help children obtain access to quality education. There are currently 57 million children out of school worldwide.

"Education will give [children] a better life – and give us all a brighter future,” Mr. Ban said. “This is especially true for girls. For every year that you educate a young woman, her income goes up by as much as 20 per cent. A World Bank study of 100 developing countries found that putting more girls in high school significantly boosts per capita income growth.”

The UN Academic Impact is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the world body in actively supporting ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution.

The Academic Impact also asks each participating college or university to actively demonstrate support of at least one of those principles each year.

“We are drawing on the wisdom of people from around the world – development experts and government officials, but also grassroots groups, ordinary citizens, and students,” Mr. Ban said, calling on members of academia to continue collaborating with the UN.

“Around the world, universities are teaming up to support the global mission of the United Nations. I urge you to do more to help the Academic Impact live up to its name and make a real difference in our world".

At the event students from Korean Universities vied for the top spot in a competition to present the best ideas to drive a new development framework for after the Millennium Development Goals target year of 2015.

12 Korean and international judges from business, academia, think tanks and International Organizations picked the winning team from Korea University, who presented on a new Global Partnership for development.

"I’ve seen huge amounts of positive energy and many inspiring ideas here today” said Matthew Taylor, judge and communications officer for the UNDP Seoul Policy Centre.

“The potential for greater partnerships between our Policy Centre with bright young minds and sound institutions represented here is huge. We very much look to forward to more".