October 60th Anniversary of United Nations by Bonnie and Bill Neely

October 24th marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. When you are in New York City, this is a tour you should not miss. It is overwhelming and enlightening to see the achievements and goals and learn the history of this noble organization. Upon arrival at the grounds of the UN, you’ll see flags of all the nations displayed in alphabetical order, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwa. We were very moved by the famous statue of the gun with its barrel twisted into a knot, the symbol of peace instead of war. It perfectly depicts the goals of the United Nations: to solve conflicts at the discussion table instead of the battle field.
The price of the hour tour is between $8 and $12, depending on age, and it is well-worth the time and money. You will see people from all over the world, and the tours are conducted in many languages. Make reservations ahead (212- 963-7625) so that you can eat in the Delagates’ Dining Room, where you’ll see dignitaries and delegates from many countries dressed in their native garb as they pause in their meetings to partake of an elegant International Buffet, which features a different country’s specialities each week. The dining room has huge picture windows overlooking the beautiful East River, and the experience is so interesting.
Established after World War II with the intention of promoting world peace and never letting the atrocities of world war occur again, the UN was founded by five nations: United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, and China, which are the permanent members of the Security Council. Although the building is located in New York City, the entire complex of the United Nations is deemed International soil. The International Court of Justice is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Now almost the entire world, 191 nations , have joined the United Nations to promote the solving of conflict through talk instead of killing. There are only three small islands that have not yet chosen to belong to the UN.
On the tour you’ll learn about the Security Council which has fifteen members. The ten that are not permanent members are elected by the General Asssembly, which is composed of voting delegates from every member nation. These ten nations are representative of the populous of the world: five from Asia and Africa, two from Latin America and Canada, two from Western Europe, and one from Eastern Europe. At all meetings headphones can be worn to hear everything in either English, Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic. On all decisions nine members must vote yes for anything to pass. A vote of no by any one of the five permanent members can stop anything from passing. On the tour you can attend a General Assembly meeting if it is in session.
One of the first goals set by the United Nations in 1945 was to end colonialism worldwide. At that time one third of the world’s people lived under colonial governments. That goal has been nearly accomplished with 80 colonies achieving independence. These then joined the UN as an independent nation. There are only 16 remaining colonies today, most of them small islands. Every five years the Secretary General of the United Nations is appointed by the Secretariat. The term of Kofi Annan of Ghana, Africa, who was unanimously re-appointed for his second term, will end next year. In 2001 he received the Nobel Peace Prize.
After fact finding and peace negotiations, when more serious measures are needed to prevent or stop wars, the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces called the Blue Helmets or Blue Turbans are sent to disruptive areas. Sanctions are imposed and trade can be blocked and travel restricted. These are peaceful measures to attempt to bring a country’s leaders to the discussion table to prevent further combat. Sometimes it is necessary to send Multi-National Military Forces for a short time after the conflict ends. Security Council decisions are internationally binding and enforced. At this time the United Nations has 86,000 troops on peace- keeping missions around t he world, including civilians and military. The UN does not have a standing army. Member nations make available troops and equipment when peace-keepers are needed. When war breaks out in a country and the United Nations troops are sent in, the world community does not seem to understand that these soldiers are trained NEVER to wage war. They are sent to KEEP PEACE. Because our media and the general public do not understand this, the U.N. Troops receive much criticism for not attacking in circumstances in which that seems appropriate to a public accustomed to fighting.
The goals for the beginning years of this milinneum which the UN set to accomplish by 2015 are impressive:


1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

2. Achieve universal primary education.

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other devastating diseases.

7. Ensure environmental sustainability.

8. Develop a global partnership for development.


We were deeply grieved to learn that the total budget set to complete ALL these noble goals is only half of the United States’ budget this year to wage war in Iraq! Click here if you wish to donate to World Peace!

There are 24,000 people who starve to death each day in the world. One half of the world’s population lives on $2 a day! The Council’s work will never stop until everyone eats and is educated! Another of the UN’s important functions is to try to reunite orphans with a family member to prevent their being taken into sex-slavery trafficking, or to prevent organ harvesting. UNICEF , which has its annual drive each year around Halloween, helps feed children of the world. On any international trip you can donate your foreign coins which are left over from an international trip to this fund. Most airlines have envelopes for this if you ask. It’s a great way to get rid of all that change that can buy nothing when you leave a country! Look for t he UNICEF jars in Duty Free airport kiosks.

On our tour we we speechless in front of the beautiful mosaic mural of all the nations and religions of the world together.. It’s title is “Do Unto Others” (as you would want them to do unto you: the Golden Rule). This mosaic was commissioned for the fortieth anniversary of the UN. A Venician artist created this with 22,000 tiles, inspired by a Norman Rockwall painting.