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Director-General's message for the Opening of the Annual General Assembly of the United Nations Women's Guild

Tatiana Valovaya


Opening of the Annual General Assembly of the UN Women's Guild

Tuesday, 14 May 2024, Palais des Nations


Madame la Présidente,

Monsieur l’Ambassadeur,

Chers membres du Cercle féminin des Nations Unies, 

Soyez les bienvenus au Palais des Nations pour l’Assemblée Générale annuelle du Cercle Féminin des Nations Unies.

I am sorry I cannot be with you in person, but it is a great pleasure for me to address the General Assembly as Honorary President of the Guild - a title I am proudly sharing with Ambassador Lauber. As Director-General of UNOG, and a committed International Gender Champion, I firmly believe that it is only through creating equal opportunities for women and men that we can achieve our common goals.

The challenges our world faces today are vast and complex, often interlinked — from aggravating climate crisis to growing inequalities, from deep lack of trust to the record number of humanitarian emergencies. To overcome today’s fragilities, we need more - not less - international cooperation, and strengthened multilateral institutions that delivers solutions to global problems. The upcoming Summit of the Future in September presents a unique opportunity to forge a new global consensus on what our common future should look like, and what we can do today to secure it.

Since its foundation in 1968, the UN Women’s Guild has played a vital role in supporting the mission of the United Nations. One of its key contributions lies in raising awareness and mobilizing resources for projects on women's rights, education, and economic empowerment. Moreover, the Guild has facilitated collaboration among women from diverse nationalities, fostering a sense of solidarity and mutual support. 

Every year, the Palais des Nations hosts various activities organized by the Guild. One of the well-known events which I attend every year is the International Bazaar, a unique cultural event that promotes diversity and mutual understanding by showcasing national traditions, arts and heritage. 

Another Guild’s well-known activity of the Palais – the Children’s Walk – supports financially disadvantaged children, so they can continue going to learn and attend school. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming Children's Walk at the Palais des Nations on 16 May, devoted to the theme of children’s well-being and a clean environment. 

Through its advocacy campaigns and projects in over 100 countries of the world, the Guild has been a catalyst for positive change, amplifying the voices and concerns of women within the large UN family. I wish to take this opportunity to warmly thank all the members of the Guild in Geneva for your exceptional dedication to this admirable cause. 

You are a concrete example of what empowered women can do. 

As Secretary-General Antonio Guterres once stated: “We must invest in women and girls, turbocharge progress, and build a better world for all.” It is high time to empower women to create a thriving, successful and healthy life for themselves, their families and their communities, now and for generations to come. This is critical if we want to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.

I thank you for your attention and wish you a productive discussion.


This speech is part of a curated selection from various official events and is posted as prepared.