Note No. 5975
21 October 2005


Press Release
Note No. 5975
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents



Lighting of UN Building with “UN 60” from 21 to 24 October

On United Nations Day, 24 October, the United Nations community in New York will celebrate the Organization’s sixtieth anniversary with a full day of activities at United Nations Headquarters.  The programme includes an official ceremony, a choral performance, a book launch, a lecture and a film screening.  The day’s celebratory events will close with a concert by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in the General Assembly Hall.

As part of the anniversary celebrations the United Nations Headquarters Secretariat Building in New York will be lit with “UN 60” from Friday evening, 21 October, through Monday, 24 October.

The programme of celebratory events for United Nations Day will include the following:

Award - Winning Finnish Choir

The day’s events will begin at 9 a.m. in the Visitors Lobby with renditions of the music of Finnish composers Jean Sibelius and Einojuhani Rautavaara, among others by the Finnish YL Male Voice Choir in celebration of the United Nations’ sixtieth anniversary and the fiftieth anniversary of Finland's membership in the Organization.  Conducted by Matti Hyökki, the internationally acclaimed YL Male Voice Choir is the oldest Finnish-language choir and a pioneer in Finnish choral music.  Many notable Finnish composers have dedicated their works to the YL Male Voice Choir, which has toured extensively and received innumerable awards for its recordings of Sibelius, and contemporary music.

Official Ceremony

At 9:30 a.m., the Secretary-General will participate in an official “UN 60” ceremony, also to be held in the Visitors Lobby.  The programme for the official ceremony will include:  a wreath-laying ceremony by the Secretary-General to honour fallen colleagues; a procession to the Meditation Room for a moment of reflection, led by the Secretary-General, who will be accompanied by the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Trusteeship Council and the Economic and Social Council, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; statements by the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly; a presentation to the Secretary-General by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney of a resolution being considered by the United States House of Representatives to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the United Nations.

Students from the United Nations International School (UNIS) will deliver birthday greetings to the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly, and assist them with the ringing of the “Harmony Bell” -- on loan for the day from the World Harmony Foundation.  The UNIS students will also sing happy birthday in the United Nations’ six official languages.  The official ceremony will end with a surprise, courtesy of Aramark, the catering company under contract at United Nations Headquarters.

Book Launch

At 1:15 p.m., the Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Sweden, will launch the book The Adventure of Peace:  Dag Hammarskjöld and the Future of the UN (Palgrave MacMillan), including a panel discussion and book signing.  The event, to be held in Conference Room 8, will be moderated by Under-Secretary-General Shashi Tharoor, and will feature the President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson, and the Director of the Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)Human Development Report, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr.

The book marks the centenary of the birth of Dag Hammarskjöld, the former United Nations Secretary-General who served as head of the Organization from 1953 to 1961.  Researchers, diplomats and United Nations officials are among the eminent contributors to the book that examines the life and work of Dag Hammarskjöld.  Prominent figures like Hans Blix, Under-Secretary-General Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Dr. Sergei Khrushchev, Lord Skidelsky, Ambassador Nancy Soderberg, Under-Secretary-General Tharoor, and Brian Urquhart discuss Dag Hammarskjöld's legacy and ways in which the United Nations can draw on it in seeking solutions to the problems of our time.

Lecture on Dag Hammarskjöld

At 3:30 p.m., Ambassador Kai Falkman, distinguished Swedish diplomat and poet, will deliver a lecture entitled:  “Dag Hammarskjöld's Life Reflected in His Haiku Poems”.  There will also be a display of the former Secretary-General’s personal photographs illustrating his Haiku poems.  The event will take place in the First Floor Reading Room of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.

Film Screening

At 5 p.m., the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation and the Russian News Agency ITAR-TASS, in cooperation with the United Nations Department of Public Information, will screen the documentary, “United Nations:  60 years and one day” -- to be followed by a reception.

Dedication of the Chagall Peace Window

At 6 p.m., Vladimir Petrovsky and Mr. Eliasson, President of the General Assembly, will participate in a ceremony to dedicate the completed restoration project of the Peace Window by Marc Chagall, which was installed at the United Nations in honour of Dag Hammarskjöld in 1964.  The restoration project was carried out on the initiative of Maecenas World Patrimony Foundation (MWPF), which is chaired by Mr. Petrovsky.  The project was previously completed in summer 2001, and a dedication ceremony was planned for United Nations Day in October of that year.  The event was postponed as a result of the tragic events of 11 September.  The objective of the MWPF is the conservation of art and historic objects from the collections of the United Nations offices and its agencies.

UN Day Concert

The grand finale of the Day’s events will be the United Nations Day Concert, which begins at 7 p.m. in the General Assembly Hall.  The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by internationally acclaimed conductor Alan Gilbert, will perform symphonic selections from the musical genius of Gustave Mahler and Sergei Prokofiev, and a festive range of Nordic songs.


Ongoing exhibitions to mark the sixtieth anniversary will be on display in the Visitors Lobby.  Commemorative exhibitions continue to be featured at United Nations Headquarters.  “Peace in Mind” is a travelling exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dag Hammarskjöld.  It is a reflection of Dag Hammarskjöld’s belief that the work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us, and that we have to understand our own place on earth before we can reach global understanding.  The exhibition highlights the connection between his actions in office and his private life beyond the spotlight of the United Nations.  “Peace in Mind” is produced by the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in close collaboration with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Swedish Institute.

A historical photographic exhibition entitled “The Founding of the United Nations” continues in the Visitors Lobby.  The retrospective exhibition features archival photographs from the United Nations Photo Library on the founding years of the United Nations and highlights of the Organization’s 60-year history.  The exhibition is sponsored by the Hewlett-Packard Corporation.

“UN 60” Posters

During the official ceremony, “UN 60” posters sponsored by United Nations-affiliated non-governmental organizations, World Harmony Foundation and Mayors for Peace will be on display.  The two organizations funded the production of two sets of commemorative posters -- 5,000 posters with the United Nations sixtieth anniversary logo and 15,000 posters with the Preamble of the United Nations Charter in the United Nations’ six official languages.

For more information contact:  Vyatchslava Cherkasov:  Tel:  1 212 963 0597 or Yvonne Acosta, Tel:  1 212 963 7214, Partnerships Unit, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.