Activities in Celebration of the UN’s 70th Anniversary

Activities in Celebration of the UN’s 70th Anniversary

A range of activities and events were organized to mark this special anniversary year under the theme of “Strong UN. Better World”. Here are some key events that took place throughout the year at UN Headquarters and beyond.


November 2015: The UN at 70: Moments and Milestones Photo Exhibition

A selection of iconic photos and historical documents covering key moments from 70 years of United Nations' history - from its founding in San Francisco to its work around the world today - was on display in a rare exhibit at the UN. The exhibit was displayed from October-November 2015 in the visitor's lobby in the General Assembly building at UN Headquarters in New York. View the exhibit.

November 2015: Fall concert of the UNSRC Symphony Orchestra

The United Nations Symphony Orchestra celebrated the UN's 70th anniversary with a concert of classical music featuring a violin soloist from the ranks of the UN. Anne-Chris Visser played Beethoven's two Romances for violin and orchestra, in a programme featuring the works of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The concert was held on 4 November 2015 at the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.


24 October: Global landmarks are lit as part of the 'Turn the World UN Blue' Campaign

To help celebrate the UN's 70th anniversary, more than 350 iconic monuments, buildings, statues, bridges, and other landmarks in more than 90 countries across the globe lit up blue - the official colour of the UN, on 24 October (UN Day), as part of an exciting new global campaign which helps unite global citizens and promote the message of peace, development and human rights.

Landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House, the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, New York's Empire State Building, Table Mountain in South Africa, Tokyo's SkyTree Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, Malaysia's Petronas Twin Towers, Edinburgh Castle in the UK, and Alhambra in Spain, lit blue to help celebrate the founding of the UN.

Images and videos of the lighted structures were part of an extensive social media campaign and were seen by tens of millions of people around the world.  Take a journey around the world and see pictures of the landmarks lit blue here at our UN Blue Flickr album.  Share any images you may have taken of lit blue landmarks in your city using the hashtag #UNBlue and #UN70.

For more information see the press release and visit the UN Blog.

24 October: Unveiling of Major Art Installation in Celebration of the UN's 70 Anniversary

The UN celebrated an extraordinary event marking its 70th Anniversary as renowned artist Cristobal Gabarron unveiled his monument entitled "Enlightened Universe" in New York's famed Central Park. The monument is an interactive sculpture formed by a sphere and surrounded by a spiral of 70 figures - one for each of the 70 years since the UN was created. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made opening remarks and was joined by UN officials, staff, diplomats, city officials, and global citizens. The event was help at in Central Park's Rumsey Playfield, entrance on East 72nd and 5th Avenue. After its display in New York, the artwork will be displayed in major cities across the globe. Watch a short video of the event.  For more information.

23 October 2015: Celebrating UN Day through music at the UN Day Concert

United Nations Day, celebrated annually on 24 October, is dedicated to the global efforts and achievements of the UN. The traditional UN Day Concert was performed in the iconic UN General Assembly Hall and served as an occasion to highlight, celebrate and reflect on the work of the United Nations and its family of agencies through the universal language of music. This year's observance took place on Friday, 23 October with a special concert featuring a Korean Traditional Music Orchestra, world renowned musician and UN Messenger of Peace Lang Lang, and Korean pop stars Davichi, and the Harlem Boys Gospel Choir.


September 2015: Publication of the Special Anniversary Double-issue of the UN Chronicle Magazine

The quarterly journal UN Chronicle is a must-read for every concerned world citizen, connecting it reads to the major political and social issues happening around the world.  In this special double anniversary issue, leading world figures examine the Organization''s landmark achievements during the past 70 years and identify future challenges. You can find articles by current UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the three living former Secretaries-Generals, and the current President of the UN General Assembly, among many others. The UN Chronicle is digitally available on Kindle Fire and on iOS devices via Apple Newsstand and as a branded stand-alone app. Read more ..

September 2015: Publication of the coffee table book "The United Nations at 70: Restoration and Renewal”

"The United Nations at 70: Restoration and Renewal” combines a richly illustrated tribute to the restoration under the Capital Master Plan of the United Nations’ New York headquarters , designed by modernist architects Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, with reflections on the Organization in its 70th year. Published by Rizzoli New York, the book features 200 photographs, a preface by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and essays by former President of the Republic of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, and architecture critic Carter Wiseman.


24 July 2015: Presentations by winners of the Many Languages, One World Multilingual Essay Contest

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) called on university students to share their views on the sustainable development agenda in a language other than their own. The Many Languages One World essay contest ( asked students to participate in any of the 6 UN official languages that is not their mother tongue. Nearly 70 student winners came to the UN to present their ideas at the iconic UN General Assembly. Please visit the UNAI website for further information at


29 June 2015: Opening of the exhibit "We the Peoples: Norman Rockwell's United Nations"

A newly curated exhibit featuring Norman Rockwell’s work We the Peoples: Norman Rockwell's United Nations opened at UN Headquarters in New York. Organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge Massachusetts, with the support of the UN Foundation, the exhibit features Norman Rockwell's historic United Nations drawing which captures the spirit of the United Nations and its important role in the lives of people around the world. Created in 1953, Rockwell depicted the United Nations as the world's hope for the future. Watch the opening ceremony on UN webcast and watch a short interview on the exhibit with the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on UN webcast.

26 June 2015: The UN and the city of San Francisco celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter

To commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco on this day in 1945, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked the event in the city that has played a key role in the founding of the UN. He was joined at a public ceremony at City Hall by San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee, California Governor Jerry Brown, and Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi, and an audience of local and international dignitaries, UN Officials, community members and students. Watch the event on UN webcast.

26 June 2015: Special event at UN Headquarters marks the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter

A special event marking the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the UN, and the launch the anniversary edition of the UN Charter was held at UN Headquarters. UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, Vice President of the General Assembly Einar Gunnarsson and Ambassador Samantha Power, Permanent Representative of the United States of America, delivered remarks followed by a live joint broadcast quality feed and webcast viewing of the official ceremony from San Francisco featuring the UN Secretary-General and other special guests. Watch the event on UN webcast. More information on the event site.

26 June 2015: Launch of the Charter of the United Nations: 70th Anniversary Special Editions

The UN is proud to publish a new edition of the Charter of the United Nations, the United Nations iconic founding document in the six official UN languages, - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish - as well as six brightly coloured editions in English. Both are available in boxed sets specially packaged in honour of the anniversary.

To learn more click here.


8 May 2015: Special Concert of the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Symphony Orchestra marking the United Nations 70th Anniversary

The United Nations Symphony Orchestra currently has over 80 active musicians on the roster with members coming from more 24 different countries. To help mark the UN's 70th anniversary, the orchestra played a special program in this nearly 1,000 seat venue. Pieces included Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, as well as pieces from Smetana, Rimsky-Korsakov, and a Concerto written specifically for the United Nations. The event was held at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

6 May 2015: Concert by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to mark the end of the Second World War

To mark the end of the Second World War and the UN's 70th anniversary, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, with the support of the UN's Department of Public Information, organized a concert featuring the “Oleg Lundstrem Jazz Orchestra”. The Orchestra is one of the most celebrated jazz bands from the Russian Federation and has been recognized by the “Guinness Book of Records”. The Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, delivered opening remarks.