15 December 1999


Press Release
PI/1211



UNITED NATIONS TO WELCOME TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY IN LIGHTS

19991215

With a huge “UN 2000” spelled out in light across the United Nations Secretariat building in New York, the United Nations will get an early start on ushering in the new millennium on 27 and 28 December. The event will be one of many setting the stage for the Millennium Summit in September 2000, at which world leaders will consider how to strengthen the United Nations to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. The Millennium Summit is expected to be the largest gathering of world leaders ever held.

Also to mark the turning of the century, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will be offering a millennium message that will be carried by broadcasters worldwide as part of their end-of-year coverage. At United Nations Headquarters, children from around the world will contribute their visions for the future in a multimedia exhibit of art and creative writing. The exhibit, organized in cooperation with International PaintPals, opens in the public lobby on 17 December.

In the holiday spirit of lighting displays, 19 of the top floors of the Secretariat building will be illuminated to read “UN 2000”. On 27 December, the lighting will be arranged in offices on the building’s west side, facing First Avenue. On 28 December, the process will be repeated on the east side, facing the East River. In the event of inclement weather on either day, the event will take place on 29 December. Of the 2,450 windows on either side of the building, 2,080 windows will be blacked out, leaving the remaining 370 windows to deliver the message.

Photographs of the event are expected to be used for posters and other promotional materials for the United Nations during the year. The “picture” is expected to be ready for taking at about 7:30 p.m. on both nights after a coordinator, stationed across the avenue or across the river, in communication with a team of messengers in the building, makes sure that the lighting is properly set in each office.

Internet users will be able to download the pictures from the United Nations web site at the address starting on December 28. Photographs and usage information can also be obtained from the United Nations Photo Library, Department of Public Information, Room S-805L, United Nations, New York, New York 10017, telephone (212) 963-6927, fax (212) 963-1658, e-mail .

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