Gallery > Luncheon for Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, spouse of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (32)

January 22, 2007: Celebrating the 98th anniversary of the birth of U Thant (United Nations Secretary-General, 1961-1971), Quantock client, the U Thant Institute hosted a luncheon at New York’s Metropolitan Club to welcome Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, spouse of the new United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Daw Aye Aye Thant, founder and president of the U Thant Institute, was joined in receiving Mrs. Ban by the spouses of UN Ambassadors, UN officials, philanthropists, international business executives, UTI trustees, directors, members and other distinguished guests. The keynote speech was delivered by Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. The honorary chairwomen of the event were Mrs. Shauna Hinduja (Hinduja Group) and Mrs. Adele Smithers (Christopher D. Smithers Foundation.) Mrs. Fay Vassilakis (spouse of the Ambassador of Greece to the UN) and Mrs. Lee Hee-won (spouse of the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UN) chaired the luncheon which was coordinated by Kins Group CEO, Mrs. Gloria Starr Kins and UTI vice president for Administration, Ms. Carrie Gallagher. In her welcome address to Mrs. Ban, Aye Aye Thant announced the UTI’s new program, “Friendship Across Cultures” which is aimed at uniting young people from different countries and cultures through education. Also announced was the Institute’s 2007 support of the Jayanthi Lama Nivasaya orphanage in Pembe, Sri Lanka. In response, Mrs. Ban used her maiden speech as First Lady of the United Nations to thank Aye Aye Thant for the warm welcome she had received from the Institute. She then went on to share her recollection of the part that U Thant had played as a revered statesman in inspiring Mr. Ban Ki-moon to pursue his life-long career in diplomatic service. (Event photography by Raymund Galsim for Quantock)