‘Don’t Work For Climate Wreckers’ – UN Secretary’s Commencement Address Speech

Mr. Guterres emphasized the virtues of goodwill, tolerance and respect, calling on the newly minted graduates to invest in being global citizens.

UN Secretary General Seton Hall 2022 Commencement

UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 2022 commencement address at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, one of the oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities in the United States.


During his Tuesday address, he told graduates that they needed to be the generation that succeeds in meeting the aspirations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending extreme poverty and hunger, reducing inequality, and developing new tech that can “end disease and suffering.”


He added that the graduates who had battled through the burdens presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, needed to be the generation that addresses the “planetary emergency of climate change.”


“Investing in fossil fuels is now a dead end – economically and environmentally. No amount of greenwashing or spin can change that. So, we must put them on notice: Accountability is coming for those who liquidate our future.”


The UN chief said it was time for the graduates to take action, and choose careers wisely. “So my message to you is simple: don’t work for climate-wreckers. Use your talents to drive us towards a renewable future.”


He told the graduates they now had a “priceless opportunity to give back, and be the ‘servant leaders’ that our world needs.”


Secretary Guterres warned that the graduates were heading into “a world brimming with peril”, with wars and divisions on a scale, not seen in decades.



A call for international solutions


Each challenge is another sign that our world is deeply fractured. As I tell world leaders across my travels, these wounds will not heal themselves. They cry out for international solutions.


“Only a multilateral approach can help build a better and more peaceful future.”, said Mr. Guterres: “Building a better, more peaceful future requires collaboration and trust, which are sorely lacking in today’s world.”


“It now falls to you.“, he told the audience, to “use what you have learned here to do something about it. To live up to your motto, and in the face of peril, go forward in building a better future.”


Throughout history, he said, “humanity has shown that we are capable of great things. But only when we work together. Only when we overcome differences and work in the same direction, with the same aim – to lift all people up, not only those born to wealth and advantage.”


In his address, Mr. Guterres emphasized the virtues of goodwill, tolerance and respect, calling on the newly minted graduates to invest in being global citizens: “Be useful. Be mindful. Be kind. Be bold. Be generous with your talents.” 



Source: United Nations

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