Guided Tours Uniform Redesign Will Enhance Presentation of United Nations to All Visitors, Says Communications Chief

Note No. 6505
13 September 2017

Guided Tours Uniform Redesign Will Enhance Presentation of United Nations to All Visitors, Says Communications Chief

The United Nations will unveil new tour guide uniforms at a media launch in the Main Gallery of the Visitors Lobby at New York Headquarters on Thursday, 14 September, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The redesign and pro bono donation by fashion designer Elie Tahari consists of a full uniform (skirts, trousers, jackets, blouses) for female tour guides; shirts for males; and a uniquely designed scarf for women and tie for men with the United Nations emblem.

The first uniform worn by the Organization’s guides in the 1950s was inspired by the look of flight attendants.  Over the decades, leading fashion houses such as Dior and Benetton have shaped the look and the uniform has evolved with the fashions of the times.  The latest style is now a tailored dark blue suit for both men and women, accompanied by white blouses and shirts, as well as scarves and ties.

“We are very grateful to Elie Tahari for providing the United Nations tour guides with this chic new look,” said Alison Smale, Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications.  “Our multilingual tour guides welcome visitors from around the world to Headquarters and their new uniforms will enhance the élan with which they represent the United Nations.”

The idea behind the new design is to enhance the look of the tour guides, who come from around the world and speak at least two languages.  As an alternative to the uniform, guides can also wear their national dress.  Since 1952, some 39 million visitors have taken a tour at Headquarters.  Guided tours also take place at United Nations duty stations in Geneva, Nairobi and Vienna.

“As an immigrant who came to this country with nothing, it is so humbling for me to be partnering with the United Nations to dress their tour guides, who are their ambassadors to the public,” said Mr. Tahari.  “The United Nations is the most important organization in the world that brings countries together to work for peace, and it is an honour to provide their Guided Tours [Unit] with this donation.”

Now with a fresh new look, the tour guides will continue welcoming more than a quarter of a million visitors yearly to the United Nations in New York, showing the chambers of the Headquarters and informing them about the work that the Organization does every day to tackle global challenges.

United Nations Guided Tours offer an exciting opportunity to discover the Headquarters on a brief journey through the corridors of international diplomacy, all while viewing the unique collection of artwork on display.  During the hour-long tour, visitors learn from a multilingual tour guide about the history of the Organization, as well as the work of its 193 Member States in the areas of peace and security, development and human rights.  Guided Tours are part of Visitors Services, Outreach Division, Department of Public Information.  Please visit http://visit.un.org/.

For more information, please contact Vincenzo Pugliese, Chief, United Nations Guided Tours, at tel.:  +1 212 963 6984, or email:  pugliesev@un.org.

For information media. Not an official record.