"This is a room devoted to peace and those who are giving their lives for peace. It is a room of quiet where only thoughts should speak."
The mural by Bo Beskow, donated by the Friends of the UN Marshall Field Foundation, decorates the narrow end of the V-shaped meditation room (108 x 78 inches, 2,75 x 1,98 meters). Painted in blue, white, grey and yellow, its geometric forms are joined. It represents the light of the skies giving light to the earth. The overall design of the room is modernist. A footing into bedrock was added through several lower floors to support the massive iron-ore altar and the fresco.
The 6-ton iron ore slab in the middle of the room was donated by Sweden in 1952 (King Carl VI Gustav) and represents an altar that is dedicated to “The God whom man worships under many names and in many forms”. It symbolizes solidity and “leads our thoughts to the necessity for choice between destruction and construction, between war and peace, as iron can represent swords but also ploughshares”.
In the brochure which was distributed at the opening of the Meditation Room in 1957, Dag Hammarskjöld said: "We have within us a center of stillness surrounded by silence. This house, dedicated to work and debate in the service of peace, should have one room that is dedicated to silence in the outward sense and stillness in the inner sense. People of many faiths will live here and for that reason none of the symbols to which we are accustomed in our meditation could be used.”