29 July 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Pillars Upholding Personal Friendships Also Have Important Place in Community


of Nations, Says Secretary-General in Message for International Day


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the International Day of Friendship, to be observed on 30 July:

The idea of friendship permeates the work and ideals of the United Nations.  The Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the Organization is “to develop friendly relations among nations”.  These same words appear in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Constitution speaks of the need for peace based not just on the “political and economic arrangements of Governments”, but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”.  And the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations initiative aims to improve cooperation and understanding among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, including to counter the forces that fuel extremism.

Friendship; harmony; tolerance; mutual respect and mutual concern:  these concepts are part of the Organization’s very fibre.  They inform our activities, from peacekeeping and defending human rights to our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  And they are now the focus of the International Day of Friendship, a new observance established by the General Assembly in a resolution that highlights the potential of friendship to “build bridges” and “inspire peace efforts”.

Individual friendships bring us face to face with diversity and different points of view.  They bring us joy and support, notwithstanding the tests that can encumber even the best of relationships.  The same pillars that support sturdy personal friendships — trust, respect, mutually beneficial decision-making — also have an important place in the community of nations. 

United States President Woodrow Wilson once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.”  On this first International Day of Friendship, let us pledge to work together to strengthen that cement and build a peaceful, more prosperous world so old friendships can flourish and new ones can be made.

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For information media • not an official record