Saturday, 18 November 2017

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United Nations Day: reaching out to young European citizens

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Didier Reynders, at the Institut Saint-Boniface Parnasse

Today we celebrate  the United Nations Day – In Europe there is a  “Back to School” initiative to engage young people around the United Nations values and the sustainable development goals.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belgium, Didier Reynders, visited Institute Saint-Boniface in Brussels where he held a lively discussion with a group of 15-18 year about the challenges the UN faces day-to-day, diplomacy, and multilateralism.

UNRIC staff members have also made presentations about the United Nations organization – its values and its history – around schools in Belgium and in Europe. One representative, Fabienne Pompey, Head of the UNRIC French Desk, noted that the pupils were surprisingly interested in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and started to question how they could engage with the UN or local organizations to promote this agenda and to take part in transforming the world. She expressed that “This was a great feeling. For the first time, I had the feeling that the SDGs were really able to inspire the youth”.

Around Europe, other events have been organized to celebrate UN Day. In Geneva, UN colleagues will inaugurate a monumental art installation by Spanish artist Cristóbal Gabarrón entitled the “Enlightened Universe" at Rotonde Mont-Blanc, Geneva.

Gabarrón’s “Enlightened Universe" will be inaugurated at Rotonde Mont-Blanc in Geneva in the presence of the artist himself, along with key representatives from the UN, other international organisations, and the City of Geneva. 

Gabarrón’s “Enlightened Universe" - Geneva

The installation is an interactive sculpture depicting 70 life-size figures joined in hand around a central globe, creating a human chain of global citizenship, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature, and shared responsibility. It was originally created for the 70th anniversary of the United Nations last year. Geneva is the installation’s first stop in Europe after its inaugural exhibition last year in New York’s Central Park. After departing Geneva in mid-December, “Enlightened Universe” will travel to other European cities in 2017 and 2018.

The United Nations has been working towards peace, sustainable development and human rights for 71 years. This year also marks the first anniversary of the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which guide our action for a better future for all on a healthy planet.

SDG10 - #UNDay Card

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. The United Nations officially came into being with the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories.

24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

As part of UN Day, a free mobile app showing artwork displayed in public areas of United Nations Headquarters in New York will be launched.  The app shows over 65 works of art and architectural elements in the UN Plaza, the Visitors Lobby and the Visitors Centre of the General Assembly Building.

This year the UN welcomes Antonio Guterres as the next Secretary-General, who applauded the work of his predecessor Ban Ki-moon and said that he would try his “utmost to honour” Mr. Ban’s legacy. This UN Day Ban Ki-moon stated, “I thank people across the world for their support -- and urge all to give their full backing to Secretary-General-designate Antonio Guterres in continuing our global mission of peace, sustainable development and human rights.”

unday elyx 2016

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