UN’s 70th Anniversary – Global Activities

UN’s 70th Anniversary – Global Activities

So just how does the United Nations get the global citizenry involved in celebrating its milestone anniversary?

The UN system, including its United Nations Information Centres (UNICs) – the UN’s communications presence in the field – in partnership with government officials, academia and NGO partners, galvanized the public by holding events and activities including rallies, concerts, conferences and symposiums, sports competitions, art exhibitions, and film screenings throughout the year.

Here are some of the memorable events that happened around the world:

United Kingdom: 'UNEARTH' Exhibition Unveiled

To celebrate the UN's 70th anniversary,  the “UNEARTH” exhibition was on display from 13 October – 15 January 2016 at Central Hall Westminster in London. The exhibit featured some of the most powerful photographs in the Organization’s vast iconic archive and reflects the United Nations own perspective of key moments in history. The exhibition, created by the UN Department of Public Information and the Gabarron Foundation, was previously on display in New York, Brussels, The Hague, Verdun and Lisbon.

Brussels: "Around the World in 70 Days"

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN, Elyx, the United Nations’ first digital ambassador, created by the renowned French artist Yak, went on a journey 'Around the World in 70 days'. Elyx has no nationality, race or gender, and best of all Elyx does not speak, making it a truly universal character. Elyx’s journey began on 15 August, and ended on 24 October at UN Headquarters in New York. Elyx visited UN missions and offices across the globe. The adventure was documented and closely followed on various social media channels using #UN70. To see Elyx’s journey around the world, visit the website www.elyx70days.org.

Russian Federation: Special event at the Bolshoi Theatre

An event at the Bolshoi Theatre dedicated to the UN's 70th Anniversary took place on 26 October wtih a welcoming address by President Vladamir PutinOrganised by The Russian Public Committee for the Observance of UN70, together with the UN Country team, the event included short ballets staged by famous choreographer Alexei Ratmansky as well a screening of a UN70 documentary produced by TASS and "Russia-24" TV Channel. See a clip from the event

Iran: UN Journalism Award Contest

To help commemorate the UN's 70th anniversary, the UN in the Islamic Republic of Iran organised the 'UN Journalism Award Contest', with awards presented at a ceremony on UN Day in October 2015.  The contest aimed to highlight the organization's appreciation of journalists' efforts to cover UN work in Iran and to increase and encourage proactive and professional media coverage. Five winners were selected and received a prize and certificate.  

UK and U.S.: Spotlight on the UN and International Law

The UK's globally renowned think-tank Chatham House, and New York University's School of Law - one of the world's leading legal academic institutions - both joined the United Nations in celebrating the 70th anniversary of its founding by holding international conferences that explored the role of the UN in the development of international law over the past seven decades. These conferences, organized with the support of the UN Office of Legal Affairs - were held in October 2015 in London, UK, and in November 2015 in New York, USA.

Belarus: Express Train Tour

To mark the UN's 70th anniversary, and to promote the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN in Belarus, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, government officials and several other partners, travelled across Belarus on 23-30 October 2015 onboard a special train, the “UN70 Belarus Express for SDGs”. The train visited seven cities to hold more than 250 events, 70 workshops, talk shows and discussions. More than 30,000 people took part and the initiative was attended by representatives of 30 diplomatic missions, 30 private companies and 40 non–governmental organizations.


Austria: 'We the Peoples' Photo Exhibition

The travelling UN photo exhibition “We the Peoples”, which features 50 compelling photos of the UN's work over the decades, launched in Vienna in early September to mark the UN's 70th anniversary. Curated by UN Photo and the International Photographic Council, the exhibit will continue its journey to Bonn, Germany, and Budapest, Hungary. The launch event was organised by the United Nations Information Service Vienna in cooperation with the United Nations Office at Vienna.

Switzerland: UN Open Day

UN “Open Day”, a special event took place at the Palais des Nations and surrounding Ariana Park on 24 October 2015. Thousands attended this extraordinary event which brought together UN agencies, funds and programmes, organizations, Permanent Missions and NGOs. Through stands, lectures, movie screenings, concerts and activities, the public learned about the UN's work. A sculpture by renowned artist Michelangelo Pistoletto - composed of 193 stones from 193 Member States of the UN - was  also inaugurated.

Poland: The "Blue March of Peace"

On 20 June, in celebration of the UN's 70th Anniversary, hundreds of people gathered in Warsaw, including celebrities, politicians, NGOs, academicians and UN family, to show solidarity with those working for peace, human rights and sustainable development. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the "UN Blue March of Peace" social media campaign #ChcePokojuNaSwiecie (I want peace in the world) on Facebook. The event was organized by the UN Information Centre in Warsaw. Click to see video as well as photos

Peru: “For a Better World” Photo Exhibit

To commemorate UN70, an outdoor photo exhibition entitled “For a Better World”, ran from 12 October through 25 October at the Salazar Park in Miraflores. Nearly 50 photographs were displayed illustrating the different facets of the UN's work in Peru carried out in collaboration with the State, civil society, and other strategic partners . The Mayor of Miraflores district and the UN Resident Coordinator in Peru led the opening ceremony. The exhibition, which was launched by the UN system in Peru, will be on display in other locations in the country in November and December.

Pakistan: “Pakistani People and the UN” Photo Exhibit

To mark the UN's 70th anniversary, a photo exhibition entitled “Pakistani People and United Nations - Human Stories through Photography”, was inaugurated at the City Heritage Museum in Lahore in April 2015. The exhibition showcases 74 compelling photographs that document the human stories behind the main areas of the UN's work, including education, employment, and gender equality. The exhibit was produced in collaboration with the United Nations in Pakistan, National College of Arts and the Lahore Museum.

India: Superstar launch of the UN@70 campaign in India

Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon joined Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and UN Goodwill Ambassadors, including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, veteran actor Sharmila Tagore and actor-activist Nandita Das, in January 2015 in New Delhi to launch the UN@70 campaign and the YoUNg@70 initiative. The theme of the evening was 'The Future We Want', a campaign that raises global awareness on the importance of sustainable development, and engages – especially young people - in a global conversation on the kind of communities they’d like to live in.

More on this event here.

Switzerland: Humanitarian Concert

An exceptional humanitarian concert featuring world renowned pianist Khatia Buniatishvili and the UN Orchestra took place on 13 June, 2015 at the Victoria Hall in Geneva to help mark the UN's anniversary and to benefit Syrian refugees in Jordan. The event was held in cooperation with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Turkey: Youth and Music help celebrate UN70

Students at Ankara University Faculty of Communications, together with UNIC Ankara, prepared campaigns to promote the UN's 70th anniversary and its priorities, including climate change and the post-2015 sustainable develeopment agenda. The campaigns include videos, social media, and posters and were presented to a jury of communication experts. See the winning video with famous Turkish actors. Other UN70 celebrations include performances dedicated to UN70 by a number of orchestras, including the Bursa, the Presidential, the Istanbul and the Curkurova Symphony Orchestras. 

Burkina Faso: Launching a Travelling exhibition "70 years of the UN"

An exciting new exhibit of UN photographs, documents, brochures and films was launched in October 2015. The exhibit, which launched in the country's capital, travelled around the country highlighting the UN's efforts to promote peace, development, human rights, health, food security, human rights, and education, etc.

Lebanon: "We the Peoples Photo Exhibition"

A striking exhibition of 70 photos highlighting the work and the people of the UN around the world, and in Lebanon, was inaugurated on 24 October, UN Day. The exhibit, entitled "We the Peoples"  travelled to public venues from October through December 2015. The mounting of the exhibit is a partnership between the country's UN Communication Group and Lebanese Universities.

Colombia: UN70 is highlighted

A number of events celebrating UN70 took place this year in Colombia, including a photo exhibit of the UN's work in Colombia and the country's work at the UN over the last seven decades. Photos were displayed throughout the streets of Bogota for one month beginning on UN Day, 24 October. Other events include: an exhibition of UN70 publications at the International Book Fair in Bogota in which some 12,000 people visited the booth; the release of "Naciones Unidas Colombia", a book showcasing the UN's work in Colombia; and the presentation of The Colombian Congressional Order in the rank of Commander Medal to UN Colombia. The event took place at the Senate where the President of the Congress highlighted the UN's work in country.



Czech Republic: UN70 Travelling Exhibit is Unveiled

A collection of UN70 banners and photos highlighting the work of the UN around the world and showcasing the core issues of the UN - peace and security, development, and human rights -  traveled the country from March - December 2015. The exhibit, entitled 'Strong UN. Better World' was displayed in central outdoor locations in the capital city of Prague and the city of Brno. Two smaller indoor exhibits traveled around the country including in schools, museums, and conferences.


Nigeria: Rally in commemoration of victims of the Holocaust

The 2015 observance of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust coincided with the two milestone events: the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end and the founding of the UN. In January 2015, UNIC Lagos organized several activities to mark the Day including: a public awareness rally of students, media, and partners from non-governmental organizations.
The compelling documentary Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald was also screened in more than 15 secondary schools in Nigeria and the world’s largest straw-mat was unveiled, showing the map of the world and messages of the Holocaust. More on the events here.


Tunisia: Shaping young minds visit by visit

UNIC Tunis is planning 70 visits for students from intermediate and high schools to the United Nations offices in Tunisia to witness their work and their mission first-hand. The first group of students visited in January 2015.