On 25 June 2016 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received an honorary doctorate from the University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, a member of the United Nations Academic Impact since 2012.
In his speech, the Secretary-General encouraged students to become active global citizens and make use of “the precious gift of exceptional education” by “find[ing] ways to help those less fortunate” and by “reach[ing] out to those who are in constant suffering.” A significant number of the Sustainable Development Goals address issues concerning youth, and Mr. Ban stressed that “the UN is currently working more than ever before with young people and on their behalf.”
Seeking to align higher education institutions with the principles and values of the UN, UNAI was launched by the Secretary-General in 2010. With more than 1200 members worldwide, UNAI has grown enormously in the last few years, establishing hubs in leading institutions around the globe. The University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in France serves as the UNAI hub for Human Rights, including freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech.