While this year’s United Nations General Assembly has wrapped up, the words of global leaders, experts, advocates, and citizens that have filled newspaper columns, Tweet decks, and television broadcasts will continue to resonate.
2014 was one momentous agenda, as the world struggles with terrorism, multiple conflict and humanitarian crises, and the deadly Ebola outbreak. Add to that the pressing issue of climate change and the ongoing process to make progress on the Millennium Development Goals and create the post-2015 agenda. That is a lot to discuss.
Among a number of powerful pledges, speeches, and debates, here are 10 quotes that got our attention:
1. “It may seem as if the world is falling apart, as crises pile up and disease spreads. But leadership is precisely about finding the seeds of hope and nurturing them into something bigger.” – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in remarks to the UN General Assembly
2. “We are not moving fast enough. We are not doing enough…. It’s a marathon, but you have to run it like a sprint. And that’s only possible if everybody chips in, if every nation and every organization takes this seriously. Everybody here has to do more.” – U.S. President Barack Obama on the Ebola epidemic
3. “No one is drowning baby, no one is moving, no one is leaving their homeland. No one is becoming a climate change refugee. Or should I say, no one else.” –Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner opening the Climate Summit with a poem written to her baby
4. “We are talking about human dignity – and that should be without borders.” – Model and Founder of Gender Proud Geena Rocero at the 2014 Social Good Summit
5. “Behind each of the 51 million people displaced is a human story.” – UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres at the 2014 Social Good Summit
6. “When we ask them to do more than ever, that is the peacekeepers, in even more difficult and more dangerous environments, we owe them more.” – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at a UN Summit on Peacekeeping Operations
7. “It’s not about me; it’s about we.” – Singer, songwriter, and humanitarian Alicia Keys explains her “We Are Here” movement at the 2014 Social Good Summit
8. “I pretend for a living. But you do not. The people made their voices heard on Sunday around the world and the momentum will not stop. But now it is
your turn, the time to answer humankind’s greatest challenge is now.” – Actor and UN Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio at the UN Climate Summit
9. “The MDGs are a floor, not a ceiling. Being ‘on-track’ does not mean that a problem is solved, far from it. Even in the face of setbacks, which will always be there, it is useful to see them as opportunities to strengthen institutions and improve service delivery.” – Rwandan President Paul Kagame at an event of the MDG Advocates
10. “We have the know-how, we have the evidence, and now we have a significant amount of new resources as well as a powerful new financing tool to help all women and children around the world survive and live healthy, productive lives. Now let’s get to work.” – World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, announcing a new Global Financing Facility in support of Every Woman Every Child