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Be a global citizen, Ban Ki-moon tells India's youth

Delhi,Diplomacy, Fri, 27 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 27 (IANS) Visiting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday called upon India's youth to "have a big dream" and to "look beyond your country" to become "a global citizen".


Ban was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) degree at Jamia Millia Islamia here at a special convocation held at the 92-year-old university.


"We hear of Generation X... Generation Y. I call today's youth 'Generation UN' - a generation that is global... that understands our common bonds... a generation fluent in networks," said Ban.


The eighth secretary-general of the United Nations said that it was time for a new generation of Indians to write a new and dramatic chapter in their nation's history.


"The main thread in that story will be India's role in a wider world. India as a global power, and yourselves as a global citizen," he said. "The story of India's rise is your story."


Further, Ban praised political and civil society women leaders in the country for their achievements despite the struggle for gender equality.


"India has a rich tradition of outstanding women leaders. They include not only political figures but, also, vibrant voices of civil society speaking out for women's rights."


Terming the election of over one million women to local village councils as a "remarkable achievement", Ban said that as women have benefited, so have their communities.


"Here in India, women led councils approved 60 percent more drinking water projects that those led by men. And many of those communities have seen greater gains in health, food security and closing gender gap in education... But, of course, the struggle for gender equality continues," he said.


"I am here in India in part to highlight our work in improving the health of women and children," he added.


Ban is on a three-day visit to India during which he will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He will also visit Mumbai Saturday to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.


Apart from visiting some UN development projects in the city, he will participate in a Millennium Development Goals related event being arranged there.


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