ITU Elections: Acceptance Speech

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré

Re-elected Secretary-General of ITU
Guadalajara, Mexico, 7 October 2010

Dear friends,

I thank God the almighty for having enabled us to meet here today and for having given me the honour of leading our beloved organization. I am deeply moved by the outcome of the vote. My father and mother are no longer of this world, but I know that they continue to watch over me and are proud of me today.

My wife Coumba, my children Fatim, Mata, Sekou, and Mariam, the mother of my granddaughters Aliya and Raina, who are here in Guadalajara to support me in person.

My thanks go to:

  • The President of the Republic of Mali, H.E. Hamadoun Toumani Touré, for his steadfast support throughout my first term in office;

  • The Prime Minister of Mali, Mr Modibo Sidibé;

  • Mali's Minister of Communications, Mrs Diarra Mariam Flantié Diallo;

  • The African Union, for its unconditional support;

  • The African Group in Geneva and here in Guadalajara;

  • All the Member State delegations here today, and the States they represent;

  • The Sector Members, for their unstinting support in the past four years;

  • All the friendly countries of Africa and the entire world that have proffered advice and given me their support;

  • All the brothers and sisters worldwide who have sent me messages of support and remembered me in their prayers;

  • That entire generation of young Africans who look to me as an example - I thank them, and I will do everything to continue to deserve their trust;

  • My colleagues on the Coordination Committee:

Houlin Zhao, my closest colleague;;

Valery Timofeev, Malcolm Johnson and Sami Al Basheer, the Directors of ITU's three Bureaux;

My assistant, Kristiina Ba, who has been more like a sister than an adviser;

And, of course, the entire ITU staff, whose work has enabled us to accomplish the results we have presented to you.
Dear colleagues,

All of us had a dream, a great dream. We shared that dream. It has become a vision – a very ambitious but nonetheless achievable vision for a better world in which ICTs play and will go on playing a preeminent role.

We are in the process of creating a world in which all the planet's inhabitants have the opportunity to develop.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It was on this day, 7 October, in 1942, that the U.S. and British governments announced the establishment of the United Nations.

And it was also on this day, in 1959, that the U.S.S.R. probe Luna 3 transmitted the first ever photographs of the far side of the moon.

Today is also special, as the Chairman just informed us while we were starting this session, as it is today that the Nobel Prize for Literature 2010 has been awarded to the great author Mario Vargas Llosa.

I know his work well, and I remember his recent novel, The Way to Paradise. But he has been writing since I was a small boy. I was just ten years old, when his 1963 novel, "The Time of the Hero" was published, yet it is still timely today.

This brings me to another great Latin American writer, Octavio Paz, who won the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature.

He once said: "La sabiduría no está ni en la fijeza, ni en el cambio, sino en la dialéctica entre ellos."

This is very appropriate, and translates roughly as: "Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two.""

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank you once again for investing your confidence in me. I feel deeply moved that you have chosen to allow me to lead the Union for the next four years.

Moreover, I am aware that while what we have accomplished in the past four years is important, what truly matters now is how effectively we can work together to achieve our compelling and critical objectives in the next four years.

These include:

  • The availability of ICT and broadband infrastructure for all citizens, including those living in the most challenging places (Small Island Developing States, landlocked countries, etc).

  • A stable, flexible spectrum regime that can support the technical and commercial dynamism of this amazing sector.

  • Efficient and collaborative standards leadership that promote worldwide connectivity and accessibility, and the ability to rapidly adapt to innovation and evolving public and consumer needs.

  • A membership empowered by the latest information and best practices, and the continued updating of our skills.

  • An active recognition that young people and women matter – a lot – and must be central to our agenda.

  • I commit myself to act as a leader for this organization that is now focusing on its basics and adapting to the new evolving environment.

  • I commit to take this leadership to the rest of the United Nations family.

  • I commit to take this leadership to the industry, the ICT industry at large.

  • We have a great tool in our hand. We must make good use of it.

  • The world has become a better place thanks to the work of the people in this room.

  • So let us commit ourselves over the next four years to work together to make it even better.

Thank you.