New York

22 October 2020

Secretary-General's remarks at the United Nations Day Concert [as delivered]

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is a pleasure to join you in marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

I thank the Permanent Mission of Italy for preparing a remarkable programme for us today, headlined by the marvelous Roberto Bolle and Teatro alla Scala.  

Music, dance and the arts take many forms around the world, reflecting the wondrous diversity of culture.

As we celebrate United Nations Day with this performance, I want to emphasize the importance of culture in the work of this Organization.

Music brings people together – the only form of communication around the world for which translators are not needed.

Where music and the arts are part of school curriculum, young people do better in their studies. 

And where culture and the arts flourish, societies thrive.

We need to invest in culture -- and to protect cultural rights just as we protect all other human rights.

In that spirit, I hope today’s concert will inspire us towards the global solidarity that is needed so urgently at this unprecedented time.

On United Nations Day, I reinforce my appeal for a global ceasefire so we can devote all our energies to fighting COVID-19.

Let us act together now to defeat the pandemic, prevent climate catastrophe, uphold the equality of women and men and pave the way for a safer, healthier, more just and sustainable world.

We have the vision.  We have the blueprint.  We have the values of our Charter.  Let us be inspired by today’s display of culture to work together for a better future.

I wish everyone a happy United Nations Day.  Thank you.