New York

25 April 2013

Secretary-General's remarks at re-opening of renovated Trusteeship Council Chamber

Welcome, everyone, to this wonderful renovated Trusteeship Council Chamber.

I thank Denmark for its extraordinary support for this room, from its birth until today – its re-birth.

Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and His Majesty Prince Henrik of Denmark personally came to this place two years ago to tour and inspect the Trusteeship Council Chamber renovation process.

My wife and I were privileged to take them around here. Her Majesty the Queen shared her views on the design, including the selection of the chairs. I was deeply impressed, honoured by her personal engagement, very thoughtful touch.

I am also grateful to Minister Bach as well as the Government of Denmark for providing such generous donations and innovative ideas.

Denmark organized the design competition that resulted in these wonderful new tables and chairs. I am pleased to welcome the winners of that competition, Thomas Sigsgaard and Kasper Salto. You carry on a proud tradition.

This room was originally designed in 1950 by the young architect Finn Juhl. He blended woods and primary colours to create this inspiring space.

It may be difficult now to imagine how closely the world once watched what happened in this Chamber. For years, the Trusteeship Council was a symbol of hope for millions of people struggling against colonial domination. Its work was central to the early history of the United Nations. Discussions here led to liberation for scores of countries and territories.

Today, the name “Trusteeship” seems old-fashioned. I say this as a high compliment. It testifies to great success of the United Nations. I wish other UN bodies could finish their business with the same effectiveness of the Trusteeship Council.

Thanks to close cooperation between our Capital Master Plan team and Ambassador Staur, the renovation stayed true to Finn Juhl’s original design.

This is an inclusive room where everyone can easily communicate. It fosters dialogue. Although we no longer meet here on trust territories, we will hold many important discussions in this Chamber. I am confident that they will further advance the values of the United Nations.

Your Royal Highness, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

This room also has a beautiful statue designed by a Dane, Henrik Starcke. He once said that he hoped to “inspire the realization of the great human dream.”

Let us take inspiration from this statue and reach for the sky. Let us carry on the tradition of this Chamber and complete our work with success. And let us take on new challenges for a better world.

Thank you very much.