Next year, 2020, will be the UN’s 75th anniversary. It will be marked not only a year from now on UN Day, October 24, 2020, but around the world with discussions between now and then about the state of the world and what the United Nations has contributed – or not – to the state of human progress and prosperity.
In our/your local Branch of UNA-Canada, we are considering promoting and joining this worldwide review but with local activities. We have not settled on a theme for this tentative project, but one under discussion is “The United Nations at 75 and Beyond: Problems, Progress and Prognosis”. We are envisioning a project to be developed in concert with partners in our community that would look at challenges over the last three-quarters of a century faced by humanity, what is happening now, and what alternative possible futures we face – and across all of this the role(s) of the UN and “us”.
We would like you to join us on the evening of Oct. 24, UN Day 2019, to start discussing how we should/could approach 2020 and the 75th Anniversary. Think about what you are seeing the news, about what you have seen across your lifetime, about what you know about history, and about what you feel are humanity’s needs for the future. Join us with your reflections, ideas, and questions about:
• What the UN has contributed or failed, what challenges we face today and maybe in the future that the UN should/could be working on
• Who else in our community (church or community groups, educational institutions, NGOs, professional associations, service clubs etc.) might want to participate or host discussion and debate – or celebration
• How we should approach this: talks, small workshops, a larger conference, other?
• When and where activities should take place to fit people’s schedules: weekends or weekday evenings
To help prime the discussion, we hope to have several people ready to jump in. One might be our President, Shane Roberts, who before retirement, was a futurist for the government identifying long-term trends and key events in world affairs marking progress and evolving risks to human and planetary security. We are also approaching some other people and groups to see whether they are ready yet to talk about their ideas and intentions for the lead-up to and celebration of the 75th anniversary.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 21 or earlier if possible.
Yours, Shane Roberts, President
A Whole New World
On January 1, 1942, representatives of 26 nations – nations which were in the midst of war with the Axis powers during World War II – met in Washington to sign the Declaration of the United Nations. As the war ended in 1945, reconciling the rivalries that caused the war still loomed underneath the newly established peace. It was the goal of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to form a worldwide international organization to secure and sustain that peace. FDR’s ideal of an international organization became the United Nations, which, while he did not live to see it, he considered his crowning achievement. The hope was that by engaging with each other in an open forum, even those nations who are otherwise ideological foes could achieve common goals and break down the barriers that in the past served to create friction and ultimately war.
From that start in 1942, years of meetings based on the principle of collective security continued. During the August 1943 Quebec Conference, a declaration that included a call for “a general international organization, based on the principle sovereign equality of all nations” was drafted to emphasize the principle of equality amoung all member states. The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, and the prevention of war was embodied in the statement “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” of the preamble of its Charter.
In 1945, 29 nations ratified the UN Charter and today that number stands at an incredible 193 members, including 2 countries that are non-member observer states (the Holy See and the State of Palestine). The UN continues to work around the world on its four founding pillars: human rights, peace and security, the rule of law, and development. As our world, and the problems facing it, continues to evolve, let us participate more fully as global citizens in furthering the principles and goals of equality, peace and sustainability first envisioned by the UN’s creators 75 years ago.
Tara Andronek, Past President
Upcoming International Days
• November 2: International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
• November 16: International Day for Tolerance
• November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
• December 2: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
• December 10: Human Rights Day
• December 18: International Migrants Day
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