Lord Malloch-Brown, former UN Deputy Secretary-General, and Sir Patrick Stewart, actor and UNA-UK patron, were among the high-level speakers who took part in UNA-UK's sold-out UN Forum event on Saturday 14 July 2012.
After opening remarks by Chairman of UNA-UK, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the Forum began with a session on The Olympic Truce, which was introduced by Lord Michael Bates who had set out on Good Friday 2011 on a 3,000 mile solo walk from Olympia in Greece to Westminster in London in order to highlight the opportunity for action for peace presented by the UN Resolution declaring the London 2012 Olympic Truce.
The conclusion from the first session was that although sport can transcend war and change the world, it can also be divisive. Honey Thaljieh, founder of the first Palestinian women’s national football team, said that sport gives us the chance to implement change - on the pitch we are all equal. For her, football is a language that unites us all. It can empower women, promote peace and give you freedom, both physically and mentally.
After three parallel sessions following lunch, focusing on population, disarmament and UN careers, there was a keynote speech from Mark Malloch-Brown, former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, who concluded that in the current international governance crisis, the United Nations was “strangely robust” and was well-served by being a small organization (in budgetary terms) with a big vision.
Following the key-note speech, the audience was treated to an unexpected appearance by the first UNA-UK patron, Patrick Stewart, whose father had told him that he believed that the most significant and lasting victory of WWII was the creation of the United Nations, and he himself believed that the need for the UN was as great today as it had been in 1945.
The event ended with a session on universal human rights, during which, Afsane Bassir-Pour, Director of the UN Information Centre in Brussels, concluded that if human rights were not granted, people would come out onto the streets to claim them.
Written by Karen Davies, Uk & Ireland Desk
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