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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Multilingualism

Secretary-General Appoints Coordinator for Multilingualism

31 JULY 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed the incoming Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal of Austria, as Coordinator for Multilingualism.

UN and Multilingualism

An essential factor in harmonious communication among peoples, multilingualism is of particular importance to the United Nations. By promoting tolerance, multilingualism ensures effective and increased participation of all in the Organization’s work, as well as greater effectiveness, better outcomes and more involvement.

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish are the six official languages of the United Nations. English and French are the working languages of the United Nations Secretariat and are used in day-to-day professional exchanges.

The balance among the six official languages has been an ongoing concern of the Secretary-General. Numerous activities have been undertaken, from 1946 to the present, to promote the use of the official languages to ensure that the United Nations, its goals and actions are understood by the widest possible public.

The mission of the Department of Public Information is to make known and understood the ideals and messages of the United Nations all over the world, in order to raise support for the Organization, by means of key intermediaries, including the press, non-governmental organizations and educational establishments. To that end, it works systematically to expand the global audience for its products and activities and strives to ensure their widest and most appropriate distribution.