The following are the prepared remarks by Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, spouse of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, delivered at the 6th Annual World Focus on Autism held Sept. 26, 2013 in New York. Watch video of the event here.
Honourable First Spouses,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you and I am honored to receive the Bob and Suzanne Wright Global Achievement for Autism Award.
I have had the pleasure of taking part in the World Focus on Autism since it began six years ago.
Back then the prevalence of autism was 1 in 150. Today, it is one in 88 children. This increase is not only alarming, it is a call for action.
We must mobilize as an international community to support these individuals and families.
The United Nations, as a partner, plays a key role in advocating for individuals affected by autism and protecting their human rights.
First Spouses have an important role to play in raising awareness and taking action on autism.
As leaders in your own countries, you can play a significant role in encouraging awareness to make autism not only a national priority, but a regional one as well.
I urge you take join Autism Speaks Global Autism Public Health Initiative. This initiative aims to increase awareness, service delivery, and research around the world.
You will be joining many others who have seen how powerful they can be as advocates.
Our collective focus on Autism is strong and growing stronger and that through partnership, outreach and research we can do even more.
I look forward to hearing from the first ladies, health professionals and advocates who will speak to us today about their important efforts to improve services and raise awareness. Thank you again for coming today and I wish you all the best,