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No 6413

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Vol cxlvi No 18

pp. 342–348


Grace submitted to the Regent House on 20 January 2016

The Grace submitted to the Regent House on 20 January 2016 (Reporter, 6411, 2015–16, p. 328) was approved at 4 p.m. on Friday, 29 January 2016.

Congregation of the Regent House on 3 February 2016: Honorary Degree

A Congregation of the Regent House was held this day at 11.15 a.m. A procession formed in the Schools Arcade and entered the Senate-House by the South Door.

Music was performed at the Congregation by the Cambridge University Trumpet Ensemble, and members of the choir of King’s College. The programme of music was arranged by the University Organist Stephen Cleobury, C.B.E., of King’s College.

The following titular degree was conferred:

Doctor of Law (honoris causa)

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon

Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Orator delivered the following speech when presenting to the Vice-Chancellor the recipient of the Honorary Degree.

TOTVM fere mundum exercere histrionem cum affirmaret si non ualde errabat Petronius, is qui nunc honorandus adstat in primarum partium agentibus recte numeratur. sexto nondum completo anno intestinum bellum fugiens cum familiaribus in montibus salutem petiit. illic paupertatem tolerabat, illic famem sustentabat. quippe, felicem se habebat cottidie pransum. peronibus calceatus bene mane ad ludum pedes incedebat; uespere domum regressus ad obscurum lucernulae lumen in libros incumbebat. ‘patriam meam bello uastatam,’ inquit, ‘Vnitarum Nationum auxilio puer uidi seruatam et restauratam.’ quid mirum, igitur, si scholasticas consecutus laureas nesciocui roganti ad quod genus uiuendi se adhibiturus esset, ad earum rerum scientiam respondit quae ad commercia inter gentes instituenda pertinerent.

   magistratu eo quem ix abhinc annos ingressus est nullum aiunt esse difficiliorem. nec quidem incredulus sum: facilius enim, ut dixisset Seneca, inter philosophos quam inter nationes conueniet. cum legationibus potius quam ui iurgia et certamina hominum supprimenda esse suadet, nonnumquam in se eorum inducit iras qui commoda ipsorum uniuersis bonis anteponunt. num quis in pace petenda omnium laudem sibi comparauit? sed nullo opere eum possunt deterrere. quae nobis minantur pericula, his ut toto animo se opponat sibi sumpsit.

   iam cum multis in locis nos in supremum discrimen adducti sumus—siue de fame et inopia loquimur, magistri, siue de totius cuiusdam gentis trucidatione, siue de clade quam solito caeli more a nobis mutato ipsi in nos intulimus—nullum potest esse dubium quin huic uiro mira animi constantia ornato, summa ingeni modestia praedito, maxima uitae integritate et innocentia insignito gratias debeamus qui omnium nationum saluti et securitati consuluisse uideatur.

   dignissime domine, Domine Pro-Cancellarie, et tota academia, praesento uobis excellentissimum hunc uirum, Vnitarum Nationum senatui praefectum,

ut honoris causa habeat titulum gradus Doctoris in Iure.

“ALL the world’s a stage,” says the Bard. If that be so, then there stands before us a man who must surely be reckoned one of its protagonists. When he was just six years old his family fled from the Korean War to safety in the mountains. There he knew poverty and hunger. He had one meal a day. He walked to school in his one pair of shoes. In the evening he bent over his books by lamplight. “I grew up in war,” he says, “and saw the United Nations help my country to recover and rebuild.” It is perhaps no wonder, then, that having gained academic distinction, when asked by a journalist what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied, “I want to become a diplomat.”

   The office he has held for the past nine years has been called “the most impossible job on earth”. And it is not hard to believe; for it is easier, as Seneca might have said, for philosophers to agree than for nations. When our honorand urges that conflict be resolved through diplomacy rather than violence, criticism may yet arise, for who in the pursuit of peace has ever won universal praise? Yet he cannot be deterred from opposing the greatest threats to world security.

   At a time when many parts of the globe are in a state of crisis—from poverty and hunger, from genocide, from the dangers of man-made climate change—there is no doubt that we all owe a debt of gratitude to this man of such resolve, humility, and character, who has taken upon his own shoulders the safety and security of all nations.

Distinguished Vice-Chancellor, members of the University, I present to you

His Excellency The Secretary-General of the United Nations


that he may receive the title of the degree of Doctor of Law, honoris causa.

Following his admission to the degree, the Honorary Graduate delivered an address.

J. W. NICHOLLS, Registrary