Ban Ki-moon honored with 2023 Diwali ‘Power of One’ award at United Nations

Ban Ki-moon was awarded the Lifetime achievement award at the UN event on December 11

Ban Ki-moon delivering the acceptance speech at the Diwali Stamp – Power of One award at the United Nations on December 11 / UN

Former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was honored with the annual ‘Diwali Stamp – Power of One’ Lifetime Achievement Award at the United Nations on December 11.

The event is organized by the Diwali Foundation USA Inc. established in 2017 to promote a peaceful and consensus-based process to achieve societal good.

The Power of One award was established by the foundation to highlight the important work done by individuals serving in or at the UN. It is bestowed on former permanent representatives or former high-ranking members of the UN Secretariat or member states (or soon-to-be former), who have significantly served these ideals.

“Thank you for this great honor… it is my great privilege to stand before you this afternoon and humbly accept the 2023 Diwali Stamp -- Power of One Lifetime Achievement Award. I am very grateful for this esteemed honor and it is quite meaningful to follow in the footsteps of the previous luminary awardees. Thank you very much,” Ki-moon said in the acceptance speech.

Ranju Batra, chair of the Diwali Foundation USA also spoke at the event. “I thank every speaker for their participation and their warmth. I am humbled by each of you. As many of you know I spent 7 years relentlessly seeking a Diwali postage stamp to be issued by the USPS. I used only respectful and inclusive means as Diwali is a message of peace.”

She briefly mentioned her 7-year-long efforts to get the United States Postal Service (USPS) to issue the Diwali stamp. “I requested everyone to sign the Diwali petitions…So much so that William Gicker, director of USPS stamp development said this was the biggest push, the most people writing in, and it was the volume of petitions and not the high-profile support that swayed the committee. So after long darkness, the light of Diwali finally triumphed.”

She further added, “My journey succeeded on Oct 5 2016 when the USPS dedicated the Diwali stamp and made it immortal as a forever stamp. Then I had the added honor to be invited by USPS to sell the stamps for day 1 and I am happy to say, I personally sold over 170,000 stamps in 10 days making it the no 1 bestseller in the history of the postal service.”

Others who received the awards at the event included Mirsada Čolaković, former Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the UN Security Council; Kim Sook, former Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the UN Security Council; Miroslav Lajčák, 72nd president of the UN General Assembly; EUSR for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue.