Saturday, November 16, 2013

Estonia welcoming Mr. Ban Ki-moon with open arms

Today I had the honor to join a lecture given by H.E. Mr Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. This joyful event took place at Tallinn University and the lecture hall was completely filled with around 300 participants. Most of them were students, but apparently the guy who sat next to me knew all the Ambassadors sitting front row as well. At least the ones from Canada, Poland, Latvia, Germany and the Netherlands were present. Besides such an event itself I'm personally always quite curious about the whole organization slightly behind the scenes. Police officers were present on the streets surrounding the university while some well armed policemen calmly sat in a solid looking Mercedes trying not to attract attention. Mr. Ban Ki-moon himself had quite a lot of bodyguards with him, but as soon as he took place in front of the audience the whole circus vaporized and all that was left was a lovely devoted man with passion for his occupations. Sweet also, how he recognized some fellow South-Koreans in the audience and greeted them with kindness.

Before the lecture he had obviously spoken with some of Estonia's most important leaders. I was very impressed by his detailed knowledge on what's going on in my host country and I guess his supportive words must have felt especially well for young Estonians, mainly the ones involved in technological developments. Mr. Ban Ki-moon emphasized once again that every person on earth should be aware of the fact that we only have one planet to live on, while most behave like we have a spare one. "This planet is our plan A. We don't have a plan B in this case!", as he mentioned. The UN's main points to achieve by 2015 were repeated which were a.o. about climate change and the eradication of diseases like polio and malaria. Furthermore the importance of science was mentioned once again, accompanied by a personal story of a visit earlier that morning at a technical university where students presented their ideas and showed their capabilities which one day could positively change the world. 

Mr. Ban Ki-moon concluded with a concrete example on how successful change can be achieved. He told the story of a Brazilian inventor who drills holes in roofs and sticks plastic bottles through them filled with water and a tiny amount of bleach, in this way creating a lamp. The sunlight eventually generates a light strenght that can be compared with a 40-60 Watt lamp. In this way children can do their homework in a lighted home without sitting on a filthy street. "He gave his idea to the world without getting rich from it. Yet, he is so rich in wisdom, innovation and compassion", as was concluded by today's very special guest.

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