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UNITED Nations Secretary General meets united risk executives

  • U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon (left) with United Risk executive director Edward Widmer (right) and ambassador William Luers, (right background) UNA-USA national president.

    Friday, February 8 – Chicago. During a private breakfast the new Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, met with United Risk Executive Director Edward Widmer and Managing Director of Operations Craig Lawrence. Secretary General Ban, former foreign minister of South Korea, is the successor to Kofi Annan. The breakfast was an invitation-only event hosted by the United Nations Association. The Secretary General was accompanied by ambassador William H. Luers (ret.), president of the UNA/USA, along with his State department diplomatic security team.

    In his remarks, Secretary General Ban outlined several of his goals: to achieve results in terms of world security and stabilization; to ensure greater financial accountability of those involved in international affairs; and, to promote global awareness. The Secretary General spoke of his recent trip to Africa, saying it had moved him to tears. He spoke of the powerlessness of the people living in these troubled areas. Addressing the recent agreement reached concerning Darfur, he noted the lack of adequate tools to carry out the work of peacekeeping. Mr. Ban also noted the need for mediation and resolution in Kenya. The Secretary General concluded his remarks by emphasizing the immense influence and critical role played by the United States in the United Nations. He stated that each and every U.S. Citizen has the power to effect world change.

    "It is amazing how humble and self-effacing he is," said Craig Lawrence, an executive with United Risk, an international security and investigation firm. "Not at all what I expected from the world's most important statesmen, "Lawrence commented, "He really exudes humility."

    Edward Widmer, Executive Director of United Risk also serves as president of the United Nations association for the state of Illinois. Mr. Widmer maintains contact with the federal senators and congressmen of Illinois, consults with the 73 foreign consuls general assigned to the central states and advises the local business community concerning international issues. "Having dealt with the complexity of the separation of the two Koreas and my having personally visited the reclusive regime in the north, I fully understand that Secretary General Ban has the experience to deal with the world's security threats," Mr. Widmer said.

    After the breakfast meeting, the Secretary General spoke at Walter Payton College Preparatory School where he was received by Chicago mayor Richard Daley. Mayor Daley welcomed Mr. Ban and spoke of the international character of the citizenry of Chicago, a United Nations in miniature. Before concluding his visit to Chicago, the Secretary General also met with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Chicago Economics Club and was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

    At the time of his election as Secretary-General, Mr. Ban besides being South Korea's minister of foreign affairs and trade, had previous postings in new Delhi, Washington D.C. And Vienna, and was responsible for a variety of portfolios, including foreign policy advisor and chief national security advisor to the Korean President, Deputy Minister for policy planning and Director-General of American Affairs.