Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations at a General Assembly Meeting on the Reappointment of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, June 21, 2011

Susan E. Rice
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations 
U.S. Mission to the United Nations 
New York, NY
June 21, 2011


This is an important day in the life of this institution. On behalf of the United States of America, the host country of the United Nations, I have the honor of warmly welcoming Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s reappointment as Secretary-General of the United Nations. No one understands the burdens of this role better than he, and my government is grateful that he is willing to continue to take them on.

For the past four and a half years, the Secretary-General has navigated turbulent waters with a steady hand. We have all benefited from the wisdom and experience he has amassed over the course of a long, distinguished, and selfless career of public service. Secretary-General Ban is a leader who listens to the voices of the voiceless—of the refugees sheltered beneath UN tents, of the children vaccinated through UN programs, of the innocent civilians whose lives have been saved by effective UN action.

Under the Secretary-General’s leadership, the United Nations has moved to meet the challenges of a new century—one in which we must all work together to find shared solutions to common challenges that pay no heed to borders. Secretary-General Ban has been a champion of peace and security, an advocate for development, and a voice for universal human rights. He has spoken out with compassion for Haiti, for democracy in Cote d’Ivoire, and for the responsibility to protect in Libya. He has urged us all to confront the common challenge of climate change. He has encouraged us to promote truly sustainable development that expands the circle of prosperity. And he has insisted on recognizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights are, simply, human rights.

The Secretary-General has also understood that an institution built in the wake of World War II must renew and reform itself to meet the challenges of a very different world. He has already made important changes, such as hiring more women for senior posts and proposing the deepest reduction in the UN’s budget in more than a decade. Under his leadership, the United Nations has launched the Global Field Support Strategy, created an Ethics Office, and merged four disparate bodies into the important new agency UN Women. But far more work awaits the Secretary-General in his second term. We look forward to working with him and his senior leadership team as they ensure that the United Nations moves swiftly to reduce bureaucracy, update its business practices, ensure budget discipline, promote transparency, and create a culture of economy, ethics, and excellence.

In all these efforts, we know that the Secretary-General will be guided by his abiding commitment to, as the UN Charter puts it, “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” to reaffirm our common faith “in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” We also know that he will continue to rely on valued colleagues and counselors—including, of course, his wonderful wife, Madame Ban Soon-Taek, whom we also thank for her support and sacrifice today.

Mr. President, in the 21st century, we need the United Nations more than ever—to help bridge the gaps between war and reconciliation, between division and cooperation, and between misery and hope. We are therefore fortunate to have a Secretary-General who has so often spoken of himself as a bridge builder. As Secretary-General Ban again takes up one of the toughest jobs in the world, the United States renews its pledge of friendship and support.

Thank you, Mr. President.


PRN: 2011/125