UN Secretary-General's remarks at final farewell to staff

Dec 30, 2016

I’m honoured to be here with you, the President of the General Assembly, the President of the Security Council and most importantly, I’m extremely, extremely honoured and happy to meet you. You know, I have just a few more steps to go, and that’s the end of my mandate. That’s why I just wanted to stop here as long as possible to be with you.

I have made, during the last ten years, thousands and thousands of speeches and remarks.

But there is not much for me to say.  

I have just two words:  Thank you.  

Thank you for your hard work, thank you for your commitment, thank you for your leadership for humanity. You have been working day in and day out.  And I thank you. That really has motivated me. Knowing that you are very much committed, that has given me motivation to work harder and harder.

You should be very proud – just as I am so very proud to call you my colleagues.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, four principles have guided my work during the last ten years.  

First, to set priorities and stay focused – on advancing sustainable development, on climate change, on empowering women and youth and many other issues.

Second, to never give up.  To keep dreaming … to keep believing …and to keep working hard until we achieve progress.

Third, to keep the focus on people – on people’s rights and people’s dignity.

And fourth, to stand up for those who are left behind.  To raise your voice for their dignity. During the last ten years, I have been working as voice of the voiceless people, defender of the defenceless people. And you have to continue to do that.

It has been a privilege to serve the world’s people.  And it has been an honour to serve with you and all our partners – including Member States, civil society, and many more.

Now I feel a bit like Cinderella.  Tomorrow at midnight, everything changes!  

It is a bit awkward.  I will have to do all on my own. So far I have been assisted and supported by thousands and thousands of hard working staff and Member States. But let us see how I survive.

Tomorrow night, on the Eve of the New Year, I will be in Times Square for the ball drop -- millions of people will be watching as I lose my job!  Is it a matter of celebration, or…

Dear colleagues and friends,

I may not be Secretary-General for much longer, but I will always proudly carry the title of global citizen.

I will be your honorary Ambassador. I will always be the child of the United Nations.

And my heart will always be with you and with the United Nations.

Our world faces many challenges.  But never forget:  this is also an era of great opportunity.  Keep making the most of it.  

My wife and I wish you all the best.  Happy New Year. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  

And we look forward to welcoming you to Korea, or wherever our paths may cross.  

Thank you very much for your support.