New York

27 October 2015

Secretary-General's Message to Opening of the Exhibition: "Unknown Spaces" [Delivered by Mr. Yukio Takasu, Under-Secretary-General for Management]

I am pleased to greet all those attending the opening of “UNKnown Spaces,” an exhibition by the German artists Janina Janke and Maurice de Martin, who present their artistic research of United Nations spaces in three different locations: New York, Vienna and Nairobi.

The United Nations Headquarters may not seem to be an unknown space to those who work here.

Nevertheless, the artists are inviting us to re-consider the spaces where we work, and how they influence us and the local community.

Their questions are worthwhile:

How do the cultural context and geographical location of UN offices influence the staff’s work?

What effects do the everyday environs of the Headquarters have on the decisions of delegates and Secretariat officials?

What is the impact of UN premises on host communities?

And what do people living and working near UN compounds know and think about what happens inside?

UNKnown Spaces brings the idea of the United Nations closer to staff and local communities alike.

The exhibition shows us, up close, the hands of people at work; we see many different gestures, performing many different tasks – many parts contributing to one global mission.

Today we need to continue joining hands to help the world meet today’s tests and seize today’s opportunities.  In that spirit, the United Nations continues its efforts to adapt, reform and build a truly global, 21st-century instrument of peace and progress.

I thank Ambassador Harald Braun for the support Germany has provided for this artistic endeavour and for Germany’s contributions as a Member State.

And I thank the artists for providing us with new insights into the “UNKnown Spaces” we inhabit.