“This is a ‘sigh of relief’ party which we do on an annual basis to celebrate the liberation of Turtle Bay because every year there is an invasion here,” IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen told guests who thronged the Trgyve Lie Center on Tuesday night, September 26, 2017.
“They arrive by plane, all the peacocks, all 193 come in motorcades, with blue lights, and they make life miserable for permanent representatives and ambassadors who are normally the kings of the hill here but are now demoted to servants,” he continued.
“But, of course, when they leave, there is a sigh of relief, and so we’ve invited you here tonight to celebrate the liberation of Turtle Bay.”
Among those who joined in the light-hearted festivities was the guest of honor, Miroslav Lajčák, the Foreign Minister of Slovakia, who is the new President of the General Assembly.
“Relax,” he told the party goers, “but not for too long. We have already started the next stage, with the first high level today and the second tomorrow so I hate to disappoint you.”
He reported that this year there had been 196 General Debate statements delivered from the General Assembly podium, the most ever in a High Level Week.
He also participated in IPI’s Sustaining Peace Stories collaborative project, answering the three questions:
“What does peace mean to you?”
“What are the obstacles to achieving peace?” and
“What would overcome these obstacles?”
His answers, in order, were:
“Peace to me means that you feel safe and secure, that you know that your dignity is protected and your rights are respected. Peace also means that you can blend your personal future and your professional future, and you don’t have to make any compromises.”
“There are many but basically the main obstacle is bad politics and a bad economy, which is also the result of bad politics, but it could also be climate change that results in a shortage of food and water.”
“We need more political will. We need more political commitment to peace. We need for peace to become really the number one priority. When we speak about peace, we have to mean peace being the most important thing and then we can achieve peace.”