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1st February 2016

Central Hall Westminster to host public event with UN Secretary-General

Central Hall Westminster in London will host United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for a public address as part of the UN’s 70th anniversary celebrations. The event, which is organised by the United Nations Association – UK (UNA–UK) in partnership with Chatham House, will take place on Friday February 5th, almost 70 years to the day since the first UN Secretary General, Trygve Lie of Norway, was appointed at Central Hall Westminster in February 1946.


Secretary-General of the United Nations
H.E. Ban Ki-moon

Paul Southern, Managing Director of Central Hall Westminster, comments: “Having hosted the first ever meeting of the United Nations here at our historic venue back in 1946, we are thrilled to be welcoming the UN Secretary-General for this public event. It is a special opportunity for anyone who wants to be part of an historic moment to get involved and hear Ban Ki-moon’s address.”

Revd Superintendent Dr Atkins also said, ‘I warmly welcome the visit of the Secretary General to Central Hall.  It was the case 70 years ago, and remains so today, that he comes to a place of worship where the aims of the UN are held before God in prayer.  Many peoples of the world have benefited from the work of the UN.  Our congregation prays that this will continue, especially when the challenges faced by the UN and the global community are so very significant.’

The event will feature a speech by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, followed by an interactive session moderated by UNA-UK's Chairman and former UK ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock. After a decade in-post as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon will be stepping down at the end of the year.

Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of UNA-UK, said: This is an excellent opportunity to hear Mr Ban reflect on the health of the UN in its 70th year, its relationship with the UK, and the challenges – and opportunities – that lie ahead in this period of global instability. UNA-UK’s mission is to bring the UN to people in this country, and we are delighted to be hosting the Secretary-General during what is likely to be his last major visit to the UK.”

In October 2015, Central Hall Westminster was the only English landmark to take part in a global initiative to turn iconic landmarks UN blue on United Nations day. Over 200 iconic landmarks around the world, from the pyramids at Giza to the Sydney Opera House, took part to mark and celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN.

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