Acceptance remarks by UN Women Deputy Executive Director for the ‘Power of One’ Award from the Diwali Foundation USA

Date: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri receives the prestigious Power of One award. Photo: Jay Mandal
UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri receives the Power of One award. Photo: Jay Mandal 

I am honored to receive the ‘Power of One’ Award from the Diwali Foundation USA and would like to thank and congratulate the founder, inspiration and personification of this concept Ranju Batra and her equal half Ravi Batra.

As an Indian and a UN diplomat, my vision has always been that of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the whole world is an interdependent family and our destinies are connected each to each and across all borders and spaces.

To me the significance of Diwali and the United Nations projects for humanity—which I have been proud to serve for 43 years in different capacities—are closely linked. I have envisioned my mission as one meant:

  • to dispel the darkness of poverty, deprivation and despair everywhere;
  • to end the evil of violence and injustice especially against women and girls;
  • to light the lamp of prosperity and equity, sustainable development, peace and security, human rights and humanitarian action and resilience building for all;
  • to secure an International Compact for the triumph of the global public good of gender equality, women's empowerment and human rights.

And yes, I do believe in the ‘Power of One’, in each of us being a lamp to illuminate and transform the world through the power of ideas and knowledge, advocacy and movement building, setting of global standards and values to realize the ideals of the United Nations and the Perfect World we all dream of, want and deserve. The ‘Power of One’ is about not giving-up ever. It is about passion, commitment and indomitable courage and keeping faith with the causes we serve no matter the difficulties and setbacks.

And although I leave the United Nations shortly to go back to India to be with my soulmate, I am not done with the UN. Just as you can take an Indian out of India but can't take India out of her, you can take me out of the UN but cannot take the UN out of me! So, I will power on believing in the infinite possibility of all of us to achieve our infinite potential for good! Igniting that ‘Power of One’, that godliness in each and every one of us is what the UN is about!