We are proud to recognize two exceptional leaders with our 2017 Global Citizenship Awards.
Ban Ki-moon was the eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, serving two consecutive terms, from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2016.
He was born in the Republic of Korea on 13 June 1944, his formative years having a major impact on his career trajectory.
As Secretary-General of the UN, he focused on mobilizing world leaders around a set of new global challenges, from climate change and economic upheaval to pandemics and increasing pressures involving food, energy and water.
One of the Secretary-General’s first major initiatives was the 2007 Climate Change Summit, followed by extensive diplomatic efforts that have helped put the issue at the forefront of the global agenda. His visits to hard-hit areas around the world and persistent advocacy on the issue helped to push the world to act and sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016.
He also worked to advance the world’s main anti-poverty targets, the Millennium Development Goals, with a special emphasis on Africa and women’s and children’s health. The Secretary-General oversaw the widest global consultation in history as the United Nations canvassed governments, partners and individuals in drafting a successor agenda to the Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Mr. Ban pressed successfully for the creation of UN Women, a major new agency that consolidates the UN’s work in this area. His advocacy for women’s rights and gender equality has also included the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign.
Ban Ki-moon consistently sought to strengthen UN peace efforts throughout his tenure and also introduced multiple measures aimed at making the United Nations more transparent, effective and efficient. Ban Ki-moon and his wife, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, whom he met in high school in 1962, have one son, two daughters and three grandchildren.
Martin J. Walsh
Martin J. Walsh, a lifelong champion of working people and a proud product of the City of Boston, was sworn in as the city’s 54th mayor on January 6, 2014.
Mayor Walsh’s vision is of a thriving, healthy, and innovative Boston — a city with equality and opportunity for all, where a revolutionary history inspires creative solutions to the challenges of the 21st century.
Since taking office, Mayor Walsh has focused on strengthening Boston’s schools, adding hundreds of high-quality pre-kindergarten seats, funding extended learning time and advanced curriculum at more schools, and securing tuition-free community college for Boston Public Schools graduates.
The Mayor has led Boston to the forefront of the global innovation economy, by attracting industry-leading private sector employers, upgrading the city’s digital infrastructure, and using technology to transform government services — from a parking meter payment app to a new city website.
At the same time, he has created powerful tools for low-income workers, including a “learn and earn” job apprenticeship program and an Office of Financial Empowerment. He is the founding vice-chair of the Cities of Opportunity Task Force at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, elevating the national conversation on income inequality.
The Administration has been hailed by the White House for expanding young people’s opportunities and breaking new ground in crime prevention and police community relations.
Born and raised in the neighborhood of Dorchester by immigrant parents, Mayor Walsh is driven to make sure Boston is a city where anyone can overcome their challenges and fulfill their dreams. As a child, Mayor Walsh survived a serious bout of Burkitt lymphoma, thanks to the extraordinary care he received at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. His recovery from alcoholism as a young adult led to his lifelong commitment to the prevention and treatment of addiction. And while working full-time as a legislator, he returned to school to earn a degree in Political Science at Boston College.
Mayor Walsh continues to reside in Dorchester, where he shares his life with longtime partner Lorrie Higgins.