Musicians from the 2018 UN Concert playing in front of the UN General Assembly Hall
“Traditions of Peace and Non-violence”, UN Day concert featuring Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan with The Refugee Orchestra Project (2018).
Photo:UN/Loey Felipe

75 years working for peace

UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

There is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact of the United Nations. Today, the urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater.

24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

The 75th anniversary

The year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter. This anniversary comes in a time of great disruption for the world, compounded by an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with severe economic and social impacts. But it is also a reminder that times of struggle can become an opportunity for positive change and transformation.

To commemorate the 75 years of the United Nations, Member States hold a high-level event on 21 September 2020, where they reaffirmed and recognized that our challenges are interconnected and can only be addressed through reinvigorated multilateralism.

2020 Celebrations

UN annual concert

To celebrate UN Day, an annual concert is usually held in the General Assembly Hall.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the concert was prerecorded and screened in the GA Hall on Thursday, 22 October 2020.

The concert, sponsored by the Mission of Italy under the theme "Reimagine, Rebalance, Restart: recovering together for our shared humanity", included a performance featuring Roberto Bolle, accompanied by other world class etoiles as well as the Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, all recorded at La Scala Theater in Milan. A number of classical, modern and reimagined dances, curated specifically for the UN Day Concert, were performed.

By connecting us and creating common understanding, art and culture create the fertile ground from which genuine solidarity can emerge. In this spirit, music and dance can help bring us together to reimagine a world “rebalanced”, to be designed and built together for present and future generations. Highlighting the significance of the 75th anniversary of the UN and reflecting on the experience of the pandemic, the 2020 UN Day performance leveraged the power of music and dance to capture our collective commitment to cooperation, multilateralism and global solidarity.

The UN Day Concert performance streamed LIVE on this page as well as on UN Web TV and the UN social media channels. If you missed it, you can see a little extract here below!

Photos

Young girl wearing a peacekeeper blue helmet

Discover our photo gallery celebrating 75 years of the UN, along with our "Shaping Our Future Together" exhibit showcasing how staff of the UN system, together with people around the world, are working to build a better future.

Listen

UN charter

British actor Sir Laurence Olivier reads the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations. Music by American composer Aaron Copland.

How much do you know?

Test your knowledge of the history of the United Nations with this UN Day quiz!

Here's a sneak peek of this year's UN Day concert:

Official poster of the event

 

Europe turns UN blue, an initiative by UNRIC

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Organization, the UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC) has launched an initiative to "Turn Europe UN Blue" with the support of Fabrizio Hochschild, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Commemoration of the United Nations 75th anniversary.

For this pan-European campaign, in a continent where many of the UN’s founding members are located, more than 300 iconic buildings (between monuments, bridges, museums and other landmarks) from 208 cities and 22 countries, were lit up in blue - the official colour of the United Nations - on 24 October 2020. The initiative was a symbolic effort to unite global citizens, promote the universal language of peace, sustainable development and human rights. Discover the participating buildings and cities and follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #EuropeTurnsUNBlue and #UN75 !

For more information, please visit the official website for the 'Europe Turns UN Blue' initiative.

 

Photos of buildings lit up in blue

 

Other UN events

  • 24 October 2020: the UN Chamber Music Society of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council (UNCMS) performed “75 Years of Love,” a virtual concert in celebration of the United Nations 75th Anniversary, that also resulted in a debut album launched to support the humanitarian work of the UNHCR. If you missed it, you can watch it on the UN Web TV portal.
     
  • 26 october 2020: As part of the commemorative events marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the General Assembly hold a meeting to observe UN Day on Monday October 26. The observance ceremony highlighted UN voices from the field - showcasing work of the UN and its agencies around the globe - and insiders’ perspectives of UN’s work and the future of the organization. You can watch the full event on the UN Web TV portal.

 

The future we want, the United Nations we need

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected and only by working together and in solidarity we can build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges.

In January 2020, the Secretary General launched a global conversation asking people through surveys and dialogues about their hopes and fears for the future, along with their priorities for international cooperation.

The findings of this Global Dialogue have been taken into account by world leaders and resulted in the adoption of a forward-looking political declaration during the high-level event of the 75th anniversary celebrations. The declaration was negotiated through an intergovernmental process under the theme “The future we want, the United Nations we need: reaffirming our collective commitment to multilateralism”.

 

 

History and milestones

The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.

The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. The name "United Nations" was coined by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and first used in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during Second World War.

 

Read more about the history of the Organization

 

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations falls in the middle of a global pandemic. Our founding mission is more critical than ever. [...] On this anniversary, I ask people everywhere to join together. The United Nations not only stands with you… The United Nations belongs to you and is you: “we the peoples”. Message of the Secretary-General

75 years and 75 key documents

Signing of the UN Charter

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library is presenting an exploration of 75 key documents that have shaped the United Nations and our world.

75 years of United Nations

As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary we highlighted the iconic moments of our enduring commitment to peace, development and security. Like Kofi Annan, the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations, once stated: “today’s United Nations does more than ever before, it does it better than ever before. Yet, our work is far from complete. Indeed, it will never be”.

 

Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times

Nations United is a special film created by the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary. In the midst of a pandemic radically transforming our world, Nations United tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be. It focuses on the solutions and action we need to tackle poverty, inequality, injustice and climate change.

 

The World We Want

On the United Nations 75th anniversary, we asked people around the world to share their vision of #TheWorldWeWant. This video, highlights photos from the virtual exhibit #TheWorldWeWant, a special collection of 75 photos curated from more than 50,000 images from over 130 countries, illustrating our common hopes and dreams for the future.

 

Hymn to the United Nations

Get inspired by this revived W.H. Auden’s Hymn to the United Nations. "Let music for peace Be the paradigm, For peace means to change At the right time, As the World-Clock, Goes Tick and Tock. So may the story Of our human city Presently move Like music, when Begotten notes New notes beget, Making the flowing Of time a growing".

How it all started

In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by a majority of signatories. Watch history in the making with this footage from the UN archives !

 

75th Anniversary of UN Charter

Today we face a global pandemic. Worldwide, people rightly raise their voices against racism. Confronting problems is a start. But we also have to solve them. We have a timeless guide to tackle our shared challenges and fix the world’s fragilities. That guide is the United Nations Charter. The Charter was signed 75 years ago – and its principles ring just as true today.

 

Young girls clapping their hands in front of a school in North Darfur, celebrating the opening of a new clinic

Girls from Kuma Garadayat, in North Darfur, celebrate the inauguration of six development projects, known as Quick Impact Projects, implemented by the African Union-UN Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) in 2012. These projects focus on areas such as education, sanitation and the empowerment of women, and include a clinic, a women’s’ centre and several schools. Learn more about all the United Nations milestones, from 1951 until today!

A WFP helicopter surrounded by a crowd in southern Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world – often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions – has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. The agency was recognized “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”.  Last year, the WFP it assisted 97 million people in 88 countries. Learn more !

 

View of the General Assembly Hall during one of its session in New York.

Celebrate UN Day by taking a special virtual tour of the UN headquarters in New York with one of our tour guides, LIVE from the comfort of your home. Learn more about the history of the Organization and its work in addressing global challenges in one of the six official languages of the organization. Book it today!