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Korea Society Charges $10 to Hear UN Officials on "Korean Leadership"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 18 -- Yesterday the Korea Society on 57th Street held a session called "The United Nations and Korean Leadership with Robert Orr," a long time UN official.

The admission charge to hear Mr. Orr was listed as $10.

On January 18, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky if there are any UN rules about charging money to hear UN officials speak.

At 4pm on Friday, Ban's spokesperson's office provided this:

From: UN Spokesperson - Do Not Reply [at]
Date: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Subject: Re: Your question on attending external events
To: Matthew.Lee [at]

In answer to your question at today's briefing: The Ethics Office advises that UN officials may speak at external events where participants pay a reasonable attendance fee, such as you might find at a conference or convention, that covers such costs as auditorium rental and refreshments.

  But presumably the Korea Socity doesn't have to rent its own auditorium. And no refreshments were listed in the online invitation -- which by January 18 no longer included the $10 charge.

  But there is still listed a $10 charge for a January 24 session at the Korea Society also called "The United Nations and Korean Leadership," but this time with Korean Deputy Permanent Representative Shin Dong-ik and two different UN officials:

Michele Griffin, Policy Planning Unit Director, United Nations; and

Frank Schroeder, Senior Advisor, Climate Change Support Team, Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations

  So it that $5 apiece? The Korea Society is free to charge admission to hear its Deputy Permanent Representative. But should they really be charging to hear UN officials of Ban Ki-moon speak about "The UN and Korean Leadership"? Watch this site.

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