Secretary-General's Foreword - "Shaping Our Future Together"

New York, 16 October 2020


We have marked the 75th anniversary of our United Nations in many different ways: with a global survey and report; a high-level ceremony in the General Assembly; and events around the world, in person and online. But this photography exhibition, “Shaping Our Future Together”, occupies a special place in these events, as a unique visual representation of the work done by the staff of the UN and other UN System Organizations, with and for the people we serve.

This has been a difficult year. We are in the middle of a global pandemic that has touched everyone, and had a devastating impact on many. Beyond this immediate crisis, we face the long-running calamity of a heating planet, the loss of biodiversity, escalating geopolitical tensions, rising inequalities and a dangerous upsurge in hate and xenophobia.

It is easy to lose sight of the cooperation, collaboration and support that people show each other in their daily lives. In these pictures, photographers have captured the efforts of the staff of the United Nations family, and in doing so have captured how often we are simply helping people to help each other.

From providing a path for a young Tanzanian woman to open her own nursery school, to supporting climate change adaptation in Nepal, our United Nations peacekeepers, diplomats, humanitarians, development experts, human rights advocates, security staff and other personnel are working diligently to support lives of peace and dignity for all, everywhere.

I thank the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Photographic Society for collating these 75 remarkable photographs that show the beauty of our world – and of our world’s people.

I draw encouragement and inspiration from our staff, from our achievements over the past 75 years, and from the work that goes on every day, unheralded, under our UN flag. Together, with the solidarity and unity that shines out of these pictures, we will make it through the pandemic and build stronger, more resilient communities and societies for the future.

Secretary-General António Guterres