More than 130 world leaders are gathering at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the General Assembly's annual General Debate, which kicks off Tuesday and aims to set the stage for building a new global development agenda which both protects the planet and promotes equity, justice and prosperity for all people.
Begining Tuesday (Sept. 24) and continuing through 1 October, the General Debate will provide an opportunity for high-level political officials to weigh in on what John Ashe, President of the Assembly's 68th session, has called “pivotal” talks on identifying the parameters of the post-2015 sustainability agenda, which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals - the eight anti-poverty targets that galvanized the world in 2000.
Thus far, 84 heads of State, 41 heads of Government, 11 Deputy Prime Ministers and 65 Foreign Ministers are scheduled to address the Assembly on sustainable development, poverty eradication, climate change, human rights, and a range of peace and security).
H.E. Ambassador John W. Ashe
President of the 68th Session of the United Nations
24 September 2013
Opening of the United Nations General Assembly
It is a special privilege for me to welcome you to the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. As I do so I am reminded of the long journey to this point in time – a journey that began nearly sixty-years ago on the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. There, in a household of seven kids, whose parents never had the opportunity to complete high school and could therefore not provide academic guidance to their offspring, one child, whose paternal grandfather signed his name with a X and whose mother was a descendant of slave plantation owners in the sister island of Barbados, was determined to be the first in his family’s generation to attend University and seek an opportunity wherever it may occur to make a difference.
I AM THAT CHILD of those parents!
And as I was reminded just yesterday at the ceremony for the unveiling of the winning design for the Permanent Memorial to honour victims of the Trans-Altantic Slave Trade, the ancestral journey began centuries ago, in an era when unspeakable cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man were in full bloom and were in many ways the currency of the day.
And while the more recent history was one filled with tremendous challenges and opportunities, it has nevertheless been quite a journey.
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