Acceptance Remarks by H. E. Miroslav Lajčák, 72nd PGA of the UN: 2023 “Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Award,” aka “Oscar of Diplomacy”

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ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations

11 December 2023

Excellencies, co-organizers and co-sponsors, distinguished Awardees, ladies and gentlemen, dear Ranju and Ravi Batra,

First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the organizers of this event for acknowledging my efforts as a diplomat and in particular as President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.


I am moved to be recognized among such accomplished diplomats, peacemakers and visionaries who have dedicated their lives to dialogue, cooperation and multilateralism.

I wish I could be with you in person today to express my gratitude for this honour. But unfortunately, my current duties kept me in Brussels. At the same time, I’m grateful to my fellow Slovak and longtime friend, Assistant Secretary General Miroslav Jenča who kindly agreed to receive the award on my behalf.

Those who know me also know that I love to make three points. And today will be no different.

My first point is that we currently face a new reality: we no longer live in a world of once-off, or standalone crises. Our world today is multi-faceted and incredibly complex. That is why we can no longer rely on once-off, or standalone solutions.

My second point is that we see the demand for multilateralism growing. And, when it comes to meeting this demand, the United Nations must lead the charge. Of course, we should work towards strengthening and improving it. But at the same time, we should not – and we cannot – give up on it. It plays a unique role in our world. A role, which billions of people depend on. Because, in short, the United Nations can do things that no one else can.

As a firm believer in multilateralism, a staunch advocate of rules-based international order and a strong supporter of the United Nations, let me turn my third point into a plea.

A plea to not take multilateralism for granted. A plea to not let our multilateral system erode from underneath us. A plea to not let the rules be set by those with the most power and strongest militaries.

As diplomats, we made a commitment to building bridges where there are divides, finding common ground in the face of differences, and striving for a world where understanding wins over discord.

Therefore I call on all of you today to do more to support a just, sustainable and equitable multilateral system, which we built up for decades. Because we owe it to future generations.

Thank you.


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