THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
In my time as Secretary-General, I have seen too many leaders turn
a deaf ear to the voices and dreams of their people. It is as though
they rule with noise-cancelling headphones. Again and again, I have urged
leaders to listen carefully and sincerely to the aspirations of their people. But
listening is not just for leaders. It is just as important for average citizens to
turn to each other with open minds and open ears.
Yet I fear that people are increasingly reluctant to hear dissonant voices.
They are comfortable in their echo chambers. Too many communities rush
to point out an affront against them, but ignore the legitimate griev-
ances of others. We must close the “empathy gap” that is so prevalent
in our world today.
—United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, speaking at the Georgetown University
School of Foreign Service Commencement Ceremony on May 16.
particularly for glass bottles; created a
program that recycles newspapers to
Burkina Faso’s prison population; planted
a community garden near the embassy;
and launched a bike-share program
through which 10 percent of employees
now bike to work each day.
The People’s Choice Award, voted on
by more than 21,000 employees, went to
Mission India, for its significant reduc-
tion of energy and water use in its many
facilities, both old and new. The mission
has several green teams and a resource
conservation unit, a team of engineers
who work full-time on identifying water
and energy savings.
The honorable mention for Excellence
in Unity Management, which is chosen
by State’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings
Operations, went to Embassy Bangkok
for its reduction and more efficient use of
energy across 17 facilities and 85 percent
of its residences.
For more information on the GreeningDiplomacy Initiative, go to: state.gov/m/ pri/gdi/index.htm. You can also follow GDI on Facebook
—Shannon Mizzi, Editorial Intern
uring the four months between
January and April this year, 18 times
as many refugees perished in the Medi-
terranean Sea as during the same periodlast year, according to estimates from the International Organization for Migration
Despite this, a record number of
crossings—which mainly include people
from the Middle East and Africa, looking
to escape war and oppression—are still
occurring. International aid groups, as
well as the European Union countries to
which the migrants are fleeing, are scram-
bling to respond.
The Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees, headed by
António Guterres, recently announced aCentral Mediterranean Sea Initiative
The plan emphasizes collaboration
among countries of transit and first asy-
lum, and recommends mass information
programs along transit routes to inform
people of the risks of onward movement.
“We can’t deter people fleeing for
their lives. They will come. The choice we
have is how well we manage their arrival,