Remarks by Amb. Olof Skoog, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the U.N. as Lead Organizer of 2022 “Diwali Stamp – The Power of One Awards”

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Welcome all friends and colleagues and special guests to today’s ceremony.

Thank you all for coming to this very special event. I hope you have found your seats and that you can now allow the warming atmosphere embrace you and fill you with harmony and reflection.

I am Olof Skoog I am your moderator today.

We will begin by the traditional Diya Lighting Ceremony. And I would therefore like to invite all of today’s speakers to join me up here,

Ranju Batra, PGA, Ravi Batra , David Bakradze, Ruchira Kamboj, Omar Hilale, Paula Narvaez Ojeda, Teburoro Tito, Akan Rakhmetullin, Mohamed Al-Hassan, Mohan Pieris, Vanessa Fraser, Michal Mylnar, and Boštjan Malovrh.

2.Again let me welcome you all, it as an honor to moderate today’s event and to do this with our dear friends Ranju and Ravi Batra. I am humbled by the trust you two have endowed on me. Thank you to co organizers and co-sponsors.

I will now be calling speakers to the Lectern for short remarks and reflections. There will be a cultural performance to set the stage for the Award Ceremony. As we round up around 5.30 there will be a family photo of all awardees, speakers and co-sponsors PRs, UN high officials and family members.

As we begin, I want us to Find the mood. A mood of Diwali. I want us to reflect together about where we are and who we are. In the best spirit of Diwali- the notion of how light conquers darkness – the ultimate goal of the United Nations and fundamental objective of each and every one of us. To navigate, together, a better way for the world for people and for planet.

This is a meeting here at the UN because we strongly believe in it as the foremost place where the world comes together. But it is not the usual UN meeting where we defend our instructions and represent our countries and our regions. No, today is a reminder of the personal responsibility that comes with the privilege of serving here. We have to remind ourselves every day, that we represent much more than that. We represent the world United. We carry the interest of all peoples of the good forces, United beyond borders. We are the Ambassadors of our countries to the UN. But we are also the ambassadors of UN, and the idea behind it , to our countries. We represent the notion that coming together we can have light conquer darkness.

That my friends, is the power of one.

And we need inspiration. To get up in the morning we need to see that there are ways to get things done. Ranju Batra is such an inspiration. The Diwali stamp, that she originated is the manifestation of one woman’s vision. Of perseverance, tenacity, endurance and intelligence. Of visionary diplomacy ultimately winning over seemingly overwhelming and insurmountable obstacles – stale, rigid hurdles of narrow mindedness and bureaucracy. The Diwali stamp and the story of how it came about is an inspirational legacy. And knowing Ranju and Ravi, we also know that they do not take no for an answer. Not even a no from the US Postal Service. We will hear from Ranju Batra a little bit later in the programme .

The awards today are part of celebrating her achievement. They have been presented since 2017, and are commonly known as the Oscars of diplomacy. As we get to know the awardees, we will understand why. But first I give you the President of the GA, Csaba Kőrösi.

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