President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has concluded his official trip to New York City to attend the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The President was joined by First Lady Fazna Ahmed and a high-level Maldivian delegation.

In a historic moment for the Maldives, President Solih delivered his UNGA address in Dhivehi. President Solih delivered his remarks on the third speaking slot on the first day of the high-level General Debate on September 21, 2021, a privilege rarely granted to smaller states.

In his address, the President recalled how the UN had initially debated the merits of admitting a small island state like the Maldives, and stated that the fact that he could address the President of the General Assembly (PGA), Abdullah Shahid, in their mother tongue validated Maldives' progress in expanding global recognition.

President Solih addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City/ Photo: President's Office

In his speech, President Solih also addressed the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that it had proven, in stark terms, how interconnected we are in today's world and emphasized the importance of collaboration.

President Solih participated in a number of events on the sidelines of the GA during his visit including the Climate Moment, a meeting convened by the United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson.

President attends an event at the sidelines of UNGA 76/ Photo: President's Office

President Solih also held official meetings with a number of world leaders at the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in New York City including the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.

President Solih with Bangladeshi Prime Minister at the sidelines of UNGA 76/ Photo: President's Office

The 76th Session of the UNGA was a watershed moment for the Maldives, with a Maldivian serving as President of the UNGA for the first time in our country's history. Abdullah Shahid, Minister of Foreign Affairs, was elected with an overwhelming majority of votes.

This is also President Solih's second address to the UNGA; his first was at the 74th Session of the UNGA in 2019.

The President will return to the Maldives on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.