In 1944, delegates from 54 nations gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the Stevens Hotel in Chicago at the invitation of the United States of America. At this event, the participants concluded and signed the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known more popularly as the ‘Chicago Convention’, the defining international agreement which has since permitted the global civil aviation system to develop peacefully and in a manner benefitting all peoples and nations of the world. International Civil Aviation Day was established in 1994 as part of ICAO's 50th anniversary activities.
In 1996, pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/51/33, which officially recognized 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day in the UN system. The document recalled "that the preamble to the Convention states that the future development of international civil aviation can greatly help to create and preserve friendship and understanding among the nations and peoples of the world." Further, the General Assembly urged Governments as well as relevant national, regional, international and intergovernmental organizations to take appropriate steps to observe International Civil Aviation Day.