Peace is…

… a series of cultural events held by the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. This was the 7th ”Peace is…” event, during which a tea ceremony for peace and innovation was held under the theme “Peace Is… Coexistence”.

If only we could…

United Nations Headquarters,

May 18th, 2018

Invasion

Just another day’s work. UNGA72.

Outside UNHQ. The time of the year when the whole world lands in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and life, as locals know it, is put on hold for a week. Locals know what they should do by now: keep calm and avoid the area, unless you have business in the UN.

September 20th, 2017

Dialogos

Not your average coordination meeting in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters! The Mission of Malta to the United Nations in collaboration with the Malta Arts Council organised an after-work concert to mark the launch of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union.  A tenor and a pianist interpreted works from European (with emphasis to the Maltese) and American composers. An unlikely combination with fairly good acoustics but horribly strong lighting; and Dialogos, the vivid curtain by Swedish artist Ann Edholm, an excellent symbolic backdrop during negotiations, was rather overwhelming on this occasion.

Any criticism however was quickly dismissed, replaced by a quiet excitement when on our way out through the – by then – empty corridors of the General Assembly Building, we spotted these familiar, functional yet almost sculptural armchairs. I would totally arrange my living room around a couple of them!

January 16th, 2017

A moment of national pride

An exhibition of a series of photographs by the official photographer of the 1896 Olympic Games, Albert Meyer. Traveling in U.S. cities, it arrived in New York where it was hosted at the U.N. Headquarters and the N.Y. Greek Consulate.

A rare opportunity to get a glimpse into events and athletes of the first Modern Olympics.

Beautifully arranged at the sun-drenched exhibition space, in front of the magnificent Peace mural by Candido Portinari.

Athens 1896: The First Modern Olympic Games
The Olympic Games of 1896 constitute a breakthrough in the history of sports events. The revival of the ancient tradition transformed international sports meetings into the global events we know today.
One of the famous photographers of that period was the well-travelled and American educated German, Albert Meyer (Dresden 1857-1924). Meyer traveled to Athens for the Games and became the official photographer of the German Team.
The 25 rather Spartan photographs of his album capture the chronicles of the Games, documenting both athletic rituals and the athletic labors of the participants.
The photographic studio and archive of Albert Meyer was destroyed in 1945, when allied bombings flattened Dresden, turning the original photographs into rare and priceless artifacts.
Among the members of the organizing committee who received one of the rare leather albums was its Secretary George Streit, banker and minister of the Greek government of the period. Marinos Yeroulanos, his grandson and President of the Board of Trustees of the Benaki Museum, donated the album to the Historical Archives of Museum were it is safeguarded today as a unique token to both History and Art. [extract from the exhibition leaflet]
December 9th, 2016

Turning Page

Proud to have been present, among representatives of the entire world, at the historic moment when the United Nations General Assembly appointed by acclamation the former Prime Minister of Portugal, António Guterres, as the next United Nations Secretary-General, succeeding Ban Ki-moon when he stepped down on 31 December 2016.

An emotional moment for everyone present including Mr. Guterres himself, who addressed the General Assembly in English, French and Portuguese.

‘I have faith in the United Nations because I believe in the universal values it stands for: peace, justice, human dignity, tolerance and solidarity. Based on these values, I believe that diversity in all its forms is a tremendous asset, and not a threat; that in societies that are more and more multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious, diversity can bring us together, not drive us apart.

An extract from Mr. Guterres’ speech which I found particularly resonating.

António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations

October 13th, 2016

UN HQ

View from the terrace outside the Delegates’ Lounge. East River is on my back and Le Corbusier’s oblique design of the General Assembly building in the foreground. The Chrysler Building at the back looks so small because it sits half a mile away.

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September 15th, 2016