Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The United Nations - New York City - 2009

An artist's sketch of the United Nations Plaza

A child's vision of a perfect world - UN building, NYC

Flags from many of the nations represented at the UN

The UN Building

Additional flags from countries of members of the UN

One of my favorite places to visit has always been the United Nations building in New York City. Whenever I am in town I make my way to the UN Building to take a look around.

I have always loved the concept of the organization that was formed to promote world peace. In the past the general public was able to enter the building without any barriers.

I understand the need for increased security, however, I felt a sense of intrusion at the searching and questioning that I recently had to undergo before being granted entrance to the halls of peace.

A brief history of The United Nations is that in 1945, representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw up the United Nations Charter. The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other signatories. 

The Charter is the constituting instrument of the Organization, setting out the rights and obligations of member states, and establishing the United Nations procedures.

The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter are: 

 'to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends'.

In the past, while living in England, I met students from many countries who were studying to become interpreters for the United Nations and their passion was fervent in the desire to help bring about  peace in the world.  Several graduated their studies  and are still my friends today.

Even though entrance is now guarded, the UN is still a place that one should not miss while visiting NYC.  It is a sad reflection of the current times and the world that we live in, that 63 years after the formation of the UN, security measures have been so drastically increased. I can appreciate that it is an attempt to make us safer but I must say that I do not like it.

I pray that the primary concept of the United Nations will never be lost and will prevail over current and future generations.

United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year.

Photos by peacesojourner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You know, I've visited New York many times, but have never gone to the UN building. Now that I read this, I'll make sure I go next time I'm in town. MM