Remarks by H.E. Michal Mlynár, P.R. of the Slovak Republic to the UN at “Diwali Stamp – Power of One” Awards

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Mr. President of the General Assembly, Madam President of the Security Council, distinguished colleagues and dear friends, ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, let me thank Ambassador Olof Skoog for convening us today, as well as Ms. Ranju Batra and Mr. Ravi Batra and the Diwali Foundation USA for organizing such a special event and congratulate to all the 2022 award nominees.

Diwali is referred to as a ‘Festival of Lights’, celebrating inner light’s triumph over spiritual darkness. Slovakia and I personally have been proud and privileged to be among the co-sponsors of this great initiative already since the first award ceremony in 2017.

Today we need light to guide us more than ever, to stop the unacceptable, unjustified and unprovoked, terrible war in Ukraine, due to the aggression started by its powerful neighbour – Russia. The good people of Ukraine have been suffering already for too long, nowadays even being in the dark, without light for days. During these difficult times, we have to keep seeking the light and hope for a better tomorrow for all people who are affected by conflict or suffering anywhere in the world, also including in countries like Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, etc.

For more than two hundred days already, Ukrainian citizens have been bravely defending their own motherland, lives and their basic right to decide freely about their future. Only they have the right to do it.

By marking the victory of light over darkness, Diwali is a reminder that each of us has the power to bring light to the world and make a bit of a change.

It is vital to recognize the impact that an individual can have on the world. Such individuals, when working together, have the power to create a force that inspires and motivates others to bring about change. Seemingly even small achievements on the local level may indeed result in substantial global gains – if everyone gets on board.

That´s what the “Power of One” award represents. To honor individuals who through their relentless efforts and professionalism contributed to the common vision of our peaceful and prosperous tomorrows. After all, the sustainable development of societies around the globe has always been central to our work at the United Nations. To leave no one behind!

I believe that working for the people of this world (people with a capital P) is our duty and we are all responsible for building a better world and a better tomorrow, so all people can live in freedom, dignity and peace. Regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation.

I sincerely believe that the important work done by our 2022 awardees will continue for many more years to come, and will inspire others in uniting efforts to make the world a better place for all.

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