U.N. Leader Visits American Red Cross, Renews Old Ties
Friday, October 12, 2007 — United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined American Red Cross Chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter and President and CEO Mark W. Everson at the organization’s historic national headquarters building in Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of partnerships in alleviating human suffering internationally.
For the secretary-general, the meeting was also an opportunity to reconnect with memories of his first visit to the United States as a Korean Red Cross youth volunteer. Ban participated in Operation VISTA’s Junior Red Cross international volunteer program as a high school student in 1962. Ban often cites this American Red Cross-sponsored exchange visit as the inspiration for his diplomatic career.
During his exchange visit, Ban struck up what would become a lifelong friendship with Florence Tupper, a Red Crosser who served as a mentor to him and other foreign youth volunteers studying Red Cross programs and the American community.
During his visit to American Red Cross headquarters, the secretary-general was presented with his Red Cross photo from 1962 and a recent story highlighting his ties to Ms. Tupper. Meeting participants departed with renewed enthusiasm for the important role that governments, non-governmental organizations, and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement play in meeting humanitarian needs worldwide.