On September 20 local time, BTS and South Korean President Moon Jae In spoke at the Sustainable Development Goals Moment (SDG Moment) at the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly.
This was BTS’s first official event after being officially appointed special presidential envoys by President Moon Jae In last week.
At the SDG Moment, the BTS members spoke from the perspective of young people living through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and shared a message of hope for the future.
RM said, “We are here today to share the stories of the future generation. Before we came here, we asked young people in their teens and 20s around the world about the past two years and about the world they’re living in today.” Jin said, “There were times during the past two years when we too felt confused and troubled. But here, there are people who cry out, ‘Let’s live on, let’s live the best of this moment.’” Jimin continued, “They couldn’t just stand still during this time of their lives. There was no one we could blame. We were the same as we were yesterday, but the world had changed like we had suddenly entered a parallel world.”
Jungkook said, “We were saddened to hear the news of entrance and graduation ceremonies being canceled. It is upsetting to lose the moments that should be celebrated moments in one’s life. As for us, we were disappointed to have to cancel the concert tour that we had prepared for so long, and for a long time we missed the moments that we wanted to complete.” Suga said, “We needed time to mourn for the things that we lost to COVID-19, and time to discover how precious the moments that we took for granted were.”
Jimin showed the results of BTS’s #youthtoday campaign that they ran on social media, where people would send in photos of their precious moments. He said, “There were many people who showed themselves in nature. It seems that for the past two years, the time that we spent in nature felt more special.”
J-Hope referred to environmental issues when he said, “We just spoke about mourning, but it’s hard to even think about the mourning for the Earth. Everyone agrees that climate change is an important problem, but it’s not easy to talk about what the best solution might be.”
RM added, “While we were preparing to come here today, we learned that there are many young people who are taking an interest in environmental issues and that there are many students who have taken this on as their field of study. The future is unexplored territory, and we will be the ones who spend the most time in it, so I think that these young people are trying to find for themselves the ways that we can live in it.”
V continued, “I hope we don’t consider the future as nothing but darkness. We have people who are concerned for the world and are searching for the answers. There are still many pages left in the story about us, so I hope we don’t just talk about it like the ending is already written.” Jungkook added, “Sometimes the world seems stopped in place even if we’re ready to go. Sometimes it feels like you’ve lost your way. There were times when we felt the same way.”
RM continued, “I have heard people in their teens and 20s now are called the ‘COVID lost generation.’ It means that at a time when they need the most opportunities and challenges, they’ve lost their way. But just because adults cannot see the road for themselves, it doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their way.”
Jimin shared photos of students who have continued their studies and activities despite the pandemic and said, “In online spaces, they have continued to meet with their friends in new ways, started learning new things, and have tried to live more healthy lives. Rather than looking lost, they’ve found new courage and are taking on new challenges.”
Jin said, “Therefore, I think that instead of the ‘lost generation,’ the ‘welcome generation’ is a more appropriate name. Instead of being afraid of change, this generation says ‘welcome’ as they walk forward into the future.” RM said, “If we continue to believe in possibility and hope, we will not lose our way but discover new ones.” Suga added, “We will not always make perfect choices, but that will not mean that there is nothing we can do.”
J-Hope said, “What’s important are the choices we make when faced with change. Upon the news of us coming to the UN, many people wondered whether we had been vaccinated. I will take this opportunity to say that all seven of us have been vaccinated.” RM went on, “Vaccination was like the ticket for meeting our fans and being able to stand here today. Just like we said today, we too are doing the things that we’re able to do right now.”
V said, “Like the vaccination efforts, people are continuing to work on moving this new reality forward. I believe the day that we can meet face-to-face is not far away. I hope that until that day comes, we can continue to fill each day with positive energy.” RM concluded, “We thought that the world had stopped, but it continues to move forward. I believe that each choice is the beginning of change, not the end. I hope that in this new world, we can all say to each other, ‘Welcome.’”
BTS then shared a video performance of the group performing “Permission to Dance” at the United Nations General Assembly.
The full video of BTS’s speeches in Korean is available below:
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